A quick perusal of the major feast days on Orthodox Church’s liturgical calendar will show that many of those great feasts are not mentioned in the Scriptures. The Nativity of the Theotokos (Sept. 8), the Entrance of the Theotokos (Nov. 21) and the Dormition of the Theotokos (Aug. 15) are all not based on events found in Scripture. Neither is the Elevation of the Cross (Sept. 14), though one could of course note that it references the crucifixion. But that’s not what the feast actually commemorates. (Rather, it commemorates later historical events associated with relics of the cross.) And almost all of the lesser feasts of the Orthodox Church are extra-Scriptural in origin. Someone who encounters Orthodox worship for the first time and comes from either a non-Christian or non-liturgical Christian background (especially Protestants) may wonder why it is there are so many celebrations that are not found in our “holy book.” This may be a stumbling-block particularly for Protestants, who are used to finding a basis for Christian practices in the Scripture. “You’re celebrating the Virgin Mary’s birthday? You say she did what in the Temple at three years of age?” Such feasts may seem extraneous or even worrying. Do you really have to believe all those things to be an Orthodox Christian? Of course, the other great feasts—Christmas, Theophany (the Baptism of Christ), the Meeting of Christ in the Temple (His being brought to the Temple at forty days old), the Annunciation, Palm Sunday, Pascha (Easter), the Ascension, Pentecost and the Transfiguration—all are celebrations of events depicted in the Bible. But the Bible doesn’t say anywhere that Christians should celebrate any of those events.Tune into the 411 talk zone radio show from 6 pm to 8 pm with host Leon Jones on blog talk radio. Guest call in number is 215-383-5785. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel.
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