On Sunday | December 20




The Readings for the Commemoration

The Epistle

Sunday Before Christmas

The reading is from Paul's Letter to the Hebrews.

Heb. 11:9-10, 32-40

Brethren, by faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. [RSV]

The Gospel

Sunday Before Christmas

The reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Mt. 1:1-25

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Ammin′adab, and Ammin′adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Bo′az by Rahab, and Bo′az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri′ah, and Solomon the father of Rehobo′am, and Rehobo′am the father of Abi′jah, and Abi′jah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehosh′aphat, and Jehosh′aphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzzi′ah, and Uzzi′ah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki′ah, and Hezeki′ah the father of Manas′seh, and Manas′seh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi′ah, and Josi′ah the father of Jechoni′ah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoni′ah was the father of Sheal′tiel, and Sheal′tiel the father of Zerub′babel, and Zerub′babel the father of Abi′ud, and Abi′ud the father of Eli′akim, and Eli′akim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eli′ud, and Eli′ud the father of Elea′zar, and Elea′zar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emman′uel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus. [RSV]

The Epistle

For the Saint.

The reading is from Paul's Letter to the Hebrews.

Heb. 10:32-38

Brethren, recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on the prisoners, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; but my righteous one shall live by faith." [RSV]

The Gospel

For the Saint.

The reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

Mk. 9:33-41

At that time, Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me." John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward." [RSV]




From the Menaion.

On December 20, we commemorate the holy hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer.

On this day we also commemorate our devout father Philogonios, a lawyer who became Bishop of Antioch.

The holy Neo-martyr John, who was from the island of Thasos and witnessed in Constantinople in 1652, died by the sword.

On this day, the Sunday before the Nativity of Christ, we have been enjoined by our holy and God-bearing Fathers to commemorate all those who from the beginning of time were well-pleasing to God, from Adam to Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, according to the genealogy, as the Evangelist Luke enumerated in historical order; and also the Prophets and Prophetesses.

We commemorate Adam and Eve, the first fashioned.

We commemorate the righteous Abel, the son of Adam.

We commemorate the righteous Seth, the son of Adam.

We commemorate the righteous Enosh, the son of Seth.

We commemorate the righteous Cainan, the son of Enosh.

We commemorate the righteous Mahalalel, the son of Cainan.

We commemorate the righteous Jared, the son of Mahalalel.

We commemorate the righteous Enoch, the son of Jared.

We commemorate the righteous Methuselah, the son of Enoch.

We commemorate the righteous Lamech, the son of Methuselah.

We commemorate the righteous Noah, the son of Lamech.

We commemorate the righteous Shem, the son of Noah.

We commemorate the righteous Japheth, the son of Noah.

We commemorate the righteous Arphaxad, the son of Shem.

We commemorate the righteous Cainan, the son of Arphaxad.

We commemorate the righteous Shelah, the son of Cainan.

We commemorate the righteous Eber, from whom the Jews were called Hebrews.

We commemorate the righteous Peleg, the son of Eber.

We commemorate Reu, the son of Peleg.

We commemorate the righteous Serug, the son of Reu.

We commemorate the righteous Nahor, the son of Serug.

We commemorate the righteous Terah, the son of Nahor.

We commemorate the righteous Patriarch Abraham, the son of Terah.

We commemorate the Patriarch Isaac, the son of Abraham.

We commemorate the Patriarch Jacob, the son of Isaac.

We commemorate the Patriarch Reuben, the son of Jacob.

We commemorate the Patriarch Simeon, the son of Jacob.

We commemorate the Patriarch Levi, the son of Jacob.

We commemorate the Patriarch Judah, the son of Jacob, from whose tribe Christ was born.

We commemorate the Patriarch Zebulun, the son of Jacob, whose tribe was by the sea.

We commemorate the Patriarch Issachar, the son of Jacob, whose tribe cultivated the earth.

We commemorate the Patriarch Dan, the son of Jacob, whose tribe was the tribe of Judges.

We commemorate the Patriarch Gad, the son of Jacob, whose tribe is plundered and plundering.

We commemorate the Patriarch Asher, the son of Jacob, whose tribe was wealthy in wheatlands.

We commemorate the Patriarch Naphtali, the son of Jacob, whose tribe became a great multitude.

We commemorate the Patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob, whose tribe was right glorious and illustrious.

We commemorate the Patriarch Benjamin, the son of Jacob, whose tribe, though once fierce, became gentle.

We commemorate Perez and Zerah, the twins, the sons of Judah the Patriarch.

We commemorate Hezron, the son of Perez.

We commemorate Ram, the son of Hezron.

We commemorate Amminadab, the son of Ram.

We commemorate Nahshon, the son of Amminadab.

We commemorate Salmon, the son of Nahshon.

We commemorate Boaz, the son of Salmon.

We commemorate Obed, the son of Boaz by Ruth.

We commemorate Jesse, the son of Obed.

We commemorate David the King, the son of Jesse.

We commemorate Solomon the King, the son of David.

We commemorate Rehoboam the King, the son of Solomon.

We commemorate Abijah the King, the son of Rehoboam.

We commemorate Asa the King, the son of Abijah.

We commemorate Jehoshaphat the King, the son of Asa.

We commemorate Joram the King, the son of Jehoshaphat.

We commemorate Uzziah the King, the son of Joram.

We commemorate Jotham the King, the son of Uzziah.

We commemorate Ahaz the King, the son of Jotham.

We commemorate Hezekiah the King, the son of Ahaz.

We commemorate Manasseh the King, the son of Hezekiah.

We commemorate Amon the King, the son of Manasseh.

We commemorate Josiah the King son of Amon.

We commemorate Jeconiah the King, the son of Josiah.

We commemorate Shealtiel, the son of Jeconiah.

We commemorate Zerubbabel, who again raised up the Temple in Jerusalem when it had been burned.

We commemorate Abiud, the son of Zerubbabel.

We commemorate Eliakim, the son of Abiud.

We commemorate Azor, the son of Eliakim.

We commemorate Zadok, the son of Azor.

We commemorate Achim, the son of Zadok.

We commemorate Eliud, the son of Achim.

We commemorate Eleazar, the son of Eliud.

We commemorate Matthan, the son of Eleazar.

We commemorate Jacob, the son of Matthan.

We commemorate Joseph the Betrothed, the son of Jacob.

We commemorate the righteous Melchizedek.

We commemorate the righteous Job.

We commemorate the Prophet Moses, and Hur and Aaron the Priests.

We commemorate Joshua the son of Nun.

We commemorate the holy Prophet Samuel.

We commemorate the Prophet Nathan.

We commemorate the holy Prophet Daniel.

We commemorate the holy Three Servants.

We commemorate the righteous Sarah, the wife of Abraham.

We commemorate the righteous Rebecca, the wife of Isaac.

We commemorate the righteous Leah, the first wife of Jacob.

We commemorate the righteous Rachel, the second wife of Jacob.

We commemorate the righteous Asenath, the wife of Joseph the All-comely.

We commemorate the righteous Miriam, the sister of Moses.

We commemorate the righteous Deborah, who judged Israel.

We commemorate the righteous Ruth.

We commemorate the righteous Widow of Zarephath, unto whom Elijah was sent.

We commemorate the righteous Shunammite Woman, the gave hospitality to Elisha.

We commemorate the righteous Judith, who slew Holofernes.

We commemorate the righteous Esther, who delivered Israel from death.

We commemorate the righteous Hannah, the mother of Samuel the Prophet.

We commemorate the righteous Susanna.

By their holy intercessions, O God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.



Fasting Rule

Wine: Wine and oil are allowed. Refrain from meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.

It is the Christmas fast.