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Feast of the Annunciation

September 26, 2019 11:09:08 AM CST

Annunciation of the Lord

The Feast of the Annunciation, also known as Annunciation of the Lord, Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Lady Day, celebrates the visit of Angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary and his announcement that Virgin Mary would get pregnant to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Normally the celebration of Annunciation is held on March 25 which is nine months before the birthday of Jesus (December 25). If the date of Annunciation falls on Holy Week or the Octave of Easter, most religions will reschedule the celebration to next Monday. Others will have two celebrations on the same day.  

 In the New Testament of the Holy Bible, the Annunciation is only mentioned a few times. St. Luke is one of these mentions in the story of Annunciation. According to St. Luck, God sent angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city of Galilee, to find a virgin named Mary who had espoused to a man called Joseph. The angel appeared to Virgin Mary, then told her that don’t be fearful, the Lord is always with her and she is the blessed woman who was chosen to conceive a son named Jesus. St. Matthew, the only other mention regarding Annunciation in the Bible, also, in chapter 1, telling the story after Mary’s pregnancy. It points out that Joseph, in this situation, could not decide what he should do until an angel told him that Jesus, Mary’s son, is a Holy Ghost that would save people from suffering. Even though there are only a few records in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, the significance of Annunciation is much more than narrative. The artistic expressions of Annunciation have an especially significant place in church decorations on Early Christianity, Middle Ages as well as the Renaissance. Moreover, for Christian churches, the Feast of the Annunciation is one of the main feasts.

 

The origin of the Feast of Annunciation can be ascended to the early fifth century. To celebrate Annunciation, Eastern Churches had a solemn ceremony in 431 AD. Western Churches didn’t serve a celebration until fifty years later, approximately. However, comparing with the modern feast, the preceding ceremony has a different focus. Eastern Churches focused on the power of God which used the Holy Spirit to birth Jesus to protect people from suffering. Nowadays, the Feast of Annunciation is a solemn feast in honour of the Virgin Mary. In celebration, white, which represents holiness, purity, virtue, and excellence, is the major colour to decorate churches. During the ceremony, disciples will pray to Virgin Mary begin with praising her grace. There are some other ways to celebrate Annunciation at home with family, which includes reading the Bible story of Annunciation and singing Magnificat.

 

Match 25th is the memorable day that the son of God becomes the son of human. Jesus, the son of God, leads mankind to move forward. Match 25th should also be the day for people to reflect on what God is asking of us and give god your response or assent.

Comments | Posted in Clergy Robes By d v

The Feast of the Epiphany

August 26, 2019 11:44:00 AM CST

Epiphany

Epiphany, also known as Three Kings' Day or the Feast of the Epiphany, is one of the most ancient Christian feasts. The annual celebration is scheduled at January 6, 12 days after Christmas, to commemorate the visit of Magi to child Christ. For Eastern Christians, this date is also used to memorize the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Since its great historical significance, Epiphany is a public holiday in many countries.

 

Epiphany, one of the most important Christian feasts, has several highly relevant stories mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew. In chapter 2, the Gospel indicates that a star led the Magi to where Jesus lived, then they saw child Jesus and his mother Mary. After bowed and worshiped the child, they dedicated lots of treasures which includes myrrh, gold, and frankincense to him. It is the first time that gentiles visit and recognize Jesus. In chapter 3, the Gospel describes the scene of the baptism of Jesus. Jesus was baptized and went out of the water, meanwhile, a Spirit of God got out from opening heaven, then alighted, like a dove, on him and a strong voice from heaven gave him best wishes. It is the time that God embodied himself to the world. These two stories show that the gospel is not only for native, but also for gentiles, and, definitely, for the whole world.

 

These two Bible stories make the celebration of Epiphany has two different themes. Epiphany, for western churches, is a commemoration of the visit of Magi. During the Epiphany, over the door of church writes the initials of Magi and a phrase "May Christ bless the house". Pastors with white vestments will praise Epiphany gold, frankincense, and myrrh. On the age that calendars were not covered, the date of Easter would also be announced and publicized during this event. On the other hand, for eastern churches, Epiphany, the third-ranked feasts, only behind Pentecost and Easter, is celebrated for "Θεοφάνεια" which means "divine manifestation". As the Bible mentioned that God presented himself to the world after the baptism of Christ, the "Blessing of Water" is one of the most important parts during the ceremony. The water which blessed on this even named "Theophany Water" or "Holy Water". People will bring the water home to bless themselves, as well as their families. After that, the priests will throw a cross into a pool or river. Believers may jump into the water to "save" the cross, and the one who returns the cross to the priests will be delivered a special blessing.

 

Epiphany is also a public holiday to celebrate the visit of three kings. In French, Epiphany is known as "The Day of Kings". On this date, a celebration party will be held with a round cake. In Spain, drummer with the medieval dress can always be found in the street, which symbolizes the arrival of three kings. Kids will fill their shoes with grain for king's horses in Epiphany Evening. The next day, they will find kings' gifts in their place. 

Comments | Posted in Clergy Robes Baptism Robes By d v

Customs and Conventions of Whitsun

August 12, 2019 4:29:28 PM CST

Whitsun

The name Pentecost originates from the Greek term "Πεντηκοστή" which is the synonym of the fiftieth. As a principal feast of Eastern Orthodox churches, Anglican churches, and Catholic churches, it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit after the long-time waiting in the form of red burning flames to the Apostles and other believers of Jesus Christ, as stated in the New Testament. The holy festive day which is also referred to as Whit Sunday or White Sunday is universally conceived of as the origin of the Western churches concerning it was the Apostle, Peter, who proclaimed Christ's gospel to the crowd the religious event was the realization of the prophecy in The King James Bible.

When it comes to the liturgical celebrations of Whitsunday, it varies between regions and denominations. In the North West, citizens in certain towns have participated in walks and processions with red handkerchiefs or other symbolic items to be distributed and waved. In Gloucestershire, a county in England, following the service of evening prayer in the Anglican church on Whit Monday, a huge amount of cheese and bread are hurled from a mud-brick wall around the historic castle, to be grabbed in an alley below. It is the custom that can trace back to the thirteenth century when those agricultural crops and by-products were regarded as the reimbursement for the right of the rural residents to fell trees from the neighboring woods. Cheese rolling is another convention that passed down from forefathers. In Stilton, Cambridgeshire, and Randwick, cheeses will be rolled along a relatively long fixed course and the winner individual or teams will be rewarded the whole bespoke specially-made limited enormous cheese that likely to be shared among bystanders and passersby.

As far as the elements employed in Western churches on Pentecost are concerned, the color red which conveys the implications of pleasure, as well as the fire of the Holy Spirit, is the dominant sign. The clerics, parsons or ministers, choristers, and even the laity of the congregation all wear red vestments or relevant attire in celebration. Religious supplies and devotional items including the red burning candles, reddish plants such as geraniums, holy water font, red tablecloths, banners, and backdrops are the typical and conventional decorations for Whitsunday services. At the alter area, the aforementioned ornaments are placed to symbolize the movement of the Holy Spirit, the revival of life, the rushing mighty wind came from heaven and the advent of the warmth of summer. While in the south of the equator, for instance, in New Zealand and Australia, Whitsun arrives in the mellow fall, normally after the heatwave of summer, the red and green foliage of the Euphorbia pulcherrima has traditionally selected to adorn the places of worship then. Plants like the poinsettia regularly play an essential role in the early-stage Christian liturgies and certain other sacraments. They are sometimes introduced by church members to decorate for a significant occasion like the Confirmation Day or to be brought for a beloved person. In Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and other central European countries, green branches, especially the birch branches are the most representative plants associated with the rite of Whitsunday.

Comments | Posted in Clergy Robes By d v

A Brief History of Ascension Day

June 27, 2019 2:55:36 PM CST

The Ascension of Lord

The feast of Ascension Day, also known as Holy Thursday or Ascension Thursday, commemorates Jesus Christ's bodily ascension to heaven after his resurrection on Easter Day. As one of the critical ecumenical liturgical feasts, Ascension Day, ranking with the Passion of Jesus and the Christian holy day of Pentecost, is conventionally celebrated on the 40th day of Easter and varies by diverse denominations.

It is told that at the time of Christ is being believed to have been taken up into heaven, he first appeared to a Jewish woman named Madeleine, according to the four canonical gospels. She therewith passed the news on to Jesus's male sorrowful and mourning disciples. However, no one believed her when she told others that Jesus's tomb was empty and he had revived from death. Then Jesus of Nazareth made an appearance to two of his followers as they were walking outside Jerusalem and commissioned them as well to spread the news that the Lord was alive, but again nobody believed. Later, when the eleven Apostles were at the table, Christ appeared to them and blamed them for not trusting those who had seen him after his reappearance. He said to them: "Go forth to every corner of the world and notify the entire mankind the breathtaking news. Some who believe it and are baptized are apt to receive salvation for the repentance of sins, while the counterpart is inclined to be condemned. The snakes the believers encountered and the extremely toxic poison they drunk will cause no harm to them. The wandering devils the believers possessed will be cast out in my name and the patient on whom they put their hands will recover." Not long after speaking with them the Jesus was ascended into heaven and Christ's prophecy which was deemed to foreshadow the upcoming events.

The semantic origin of Ascension can be traced back to Latin terms, ascensa or ascensio, which indicate the fact that Jesus was raised up on his own and it is where the name "Holy Day" originated from. Though the use of the term "Holy Thursday" to represent Ascension Day is relatively rare, existing well-founded evidence including the Book of Common Prayer, the Illustration of the Liturgy of the Church of English published by Thomas Pruen in 1820, as well as William Blake's poem originally issued in 1789.

With regards to the earliest observance of the feast, the bishop and Church historian, Eusebius, claimed the celebration of it happened between 300s to 390s. At the inception of the 5th century, the Christian theologian, Saint Augustine of Hippo, pointed out that the feast was the common observance of the Church stemmed from the Apostles long before his era. Repeated mention of it is found in the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and in the Apostolic Constitutions. The Pilgrimage of Aetheria mentions the vigil of the feast, the feast itself, and the church constructed over the small cave in Bethlehem where the Jesus of Nazareth is generally thought to be born.

Comments | Posted in Clergy Robes By d v

The History of the Clergy Stole

May 27, 2019 2:42:42 PM CST

There are dozens of diverse versions in regards to the origin of the stole. The majority of disciples believe the liturgical stole was originated from a type of shawl which wrapped over the shoulders and dropped down to the front of the front placket. At the setout, the width of the stoles worn on ladies was normally quite wide while after being introduced by the Roman Catholic Church in Italy between 600s to 690s, the stole turned to be much narrower and gradually commenced to embrace more ornate ornamentation as a symbol of nobility.

Another mainstream theory as regards as the "ancestry" of the stole deemed that the Christian stole came from the kerchief worn by the Imperial administrative staff of the Roman Empire. As a number of the clerics turned into the members of the Roman officials, they were aperiodically granted some honors within the hierarchy of the empire. For the purpose of indicating their rank which still perfectly exists and performs today, a wide assortment of the designs of the stole such as the omophorion or the pallium slowly emerged and devised. As opposed to other religious vestments which initially worn by most churchgoers and the clergy, the clerical stole was a vestment only pertinent to a fraction of persons depending upon the position.

Others are convinced of the saying that the stole derived from a specific christening napkin entitled orarium. As a matter of fact, there are a wealth of places where the stole is yet named orarium. It is believed that there's a connection between the contemporary worship stole and the ancient napkin used by Christ's disciples for cleaning their feet.

Throughout the time of English Reformation, sacramental vestments including the priest stole were banned in Anglicanism while the Oxford Movement revived the pre-Reformation worship among the Anglo-Catholicism members by and by. So does the clergy stoles.

Nowadays, the stole which is made of a band of 7.5-9' × 3-4" dyed cloth typically of silk or satin is one of the essentials for a variety of religious denominations. Along with the cincture and the defunct maniple, the clerical stole denotes not only the fetters and bonds the Jesus was bound in the time of his Passion but also the responsibility of preaching. After years of modifications and redesigns, the two ends of the liturgical stole have developed to be either straight or broaden-out and are hung down parallelly and loosely in front or mutually attached. The decorations of the stole are gradually inclined to be more intricate. Ornamental trims such as the contrasting gallons and the usage of the pattern of a jigsaw, riotous colors, certain significant religious symbols or even the fishnet are widely applied as a statement. Meanwhile, the conventional styles and colors of a stole specified by the cathedral for a particular liturgical service are still retained. Furthermore, for the sake of cost and convenience, a piece of light-colored lace or linen stitched onto the reverse side of the collar was invented as a substitute for the stole itself.

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