Christmas eve and Christmas – what it is: answers to questions

6 January – Christmas eve, or Christmas eve – the last day of advent, Christmas eve. In this day, especially Orthodox Christians prepare for the upcoming holiday, the day is filled with special festive mood. On the morning of Christmas Eve after the Liturgy, and the following evening in the center of the temple brought the candle and the priests to her sing the troparion of the Nativity. The service and the post Christmas eve have a number of features.

Christmas eve. The name itself is believed, from the word "sochivo" (same as "kolivo" — cooked grain of rice or wheat). Eat "sochivo" or "coliva", launched in the eve of the feast only after the Liturgy, which is connected with the evening. Thus, part of Christmas eve is in full neyadenii.

Tradition not to eat food until the first evening star, is associated with the memory phenomenon of the star in the East (Matt.2:2), which heralded the birth of Christ, but the Charter of this tradition is not prescribed.

To answer the questions of how to spend Christmas Eve , we asked Archpriest Alexander Ilyashenko.

– Father Alexander, the most frequently asked question by our readers – how to fast on Christmas eve, until a time to refrain from eating the food? What does “fasting until the first star”? Do the same measure of abstinence for those working and not working that day? How long does a post to the sacrament?

Indeed, the Typicon prescribes the post until the end of Vespers. However, the service connected with Vespers with Liturgy served in the morning, so we fast until the moment when the center of the temple and brought the candle before the candle is sung the troparion of the Nativity.

Obviously, being in the temple, the people fast, and many in this day partake. Well, if those who can't be on the service in the Church, who work, honor this day, more strict fasting. We remember that, according to the Russian proverb "full belly is deaf to prayer". Therefore, a strict fast prepares us for the future happiness of the holiday.

Those who partake in the Liturgy, Church tradition, taste their food to last at least six hours before the time of the Communion, or approximately 6 PM. And here it is not a specific number of hours that 6 or 8 hours you need to proposalsa and not a minute less, and that set a certain boundary, the measure of abstinence that help us to comply with the measure.

– Father, many questions come from people who are unable to fast, ask them to do?

Sick people, of course, must observe a fast to the extent to which this is consistent with the medication and doctors ' prescriptions. We are not talking about that feeble man lay in the hospital, and to strengthen the human spirit. Disease – it is hard and fast feat. Here one must try to determine the degree of fasting in their forces. Any thing you can bring to the absurd. For example, imagine that the priest who comes to give communion to a dying man would ask when a person last ate?!

– As a rule, believers are trying to find Christmas on the night Liturgy. But in many temples serve as a vigil and divine Liturgy at the usual time, 5pm and in the morning. In this regard, often asked, is not a sin if a young man, not weak, without children, to go into service not in the night and in the morning?

Visit the night or morning service – you need to look at the forces. To celebrate the holiday at night of course, is a special joy and spiritual, and emotional. Such services in a year is very small in most parish churches night liturgies are served only at Christmas and Easter – the most solemn service traditionally performed during the night. But for example, on mount Athos Sunday vigils are served at night. Still, these services are not many, just over 60 for the year. The Church sets, given the human capacity: the number of vigils in the year is limited.

Gala night services contribute to a deeper prayer experience and perception of the Festival.

– Ended with a festive Liturgy begins festive meal. And here are two questions we are asked. First – can we have Christmas first in the parish, not just arrange a family celebration?

Of course, good to celebrate with loved ones, friends, family, giving us a good share in the holiday joy with others. If the congregation can come together and prayed together in the temple can sit down together at the festive table is very good. Such joint holding holiday get together, lets share the joy with each other. Going and family and friends.

– The second issue relates to the fact that the Christmas Liturgy many partake. And people have some confusion: you just received communion, in the books of the Holy fathers says that to keep the grace we need to try to protect himself from the conversation, even more laughter, and try to spend time after communion in prayer. A festive meal here, even with brothers and sisters in Christ...People are afraid of losing the attitude of prayer..

The rules that the founding fathers of the desert monks suggested, could not be fully transferred to secular life, the more you can not transfer them on major holidays. We are talking about the ascetics – ascetics, especially richly endowed with the blessed gifts of God. For them, the outer part of the secondary. Of course, the spiritual life comes first, and for the laity, but we can't hold the same clear distinction between the spiritual and the earthly.

The Apostle Paul commanded us to “rejoice Always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks to the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). If we find the feast with joy, prayer and gratitude to God, we fulfill the Apostolic precept.

Of course, this question must be considered individually. Of course, if a person feels that a noisy celebration, he loses the grace mood, then maybe he should take some time sit down, leave early, saving the spiritual joy.

– Father Alexander, and here to distinguish between us two is that we are afraid to spill received in the Church sense, and when his refusal to participate in the festival we can disappoint others, and often refuse joy together with the non-peaceful heart. Relatives have accepted that their zealous family member refused to meet with them in the new year, it would seem that the post has ended, a person should "return" to the family, to share together the joy of the holidays, and he again slams the door and says "What "sit with us", I have a holiday great, such grace, lose with you all a prayerful attitude!!"

His prayer as in this case, a man hardly hurt, because this behavior suggests that a person does not dwell in it. The state of contemplation in prayer is always associated with the tide of spiritual joy, the grace which the Lord pours out lavishly on their slaves. And this attitude to others is more like bigotry and hypocrisy.

– Do I have to visit the evening service on the day of a holiday – night of the Nativity?

This one has to decide for himself. After a night life to rejuvenate. Not all, because of age, health, and spiritual level are able to go to the temple and participate in the service. But we must remember that God rewards for every effort that a person does for Him.

Evening service on this day not long, especially spiritual, solemn and joyful, for it proclaims the Great Prokimen, so, of course, well, if you get to visit it.

Congratulations to all the readers with the upcoming holiday of Christmas! published


Answered questions: Archpriest Alexander Ilyashenko


P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©

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