As the ‘capital of feasts’, Christmas is honoured on the Holy Mountain with a vigil, during the course of which the monks sing hymns and troparia of exceptional poetic and musical beauty. At the Divine Liturgy on the day itself, ‘Those who have been baptized in Christ’ is sung in tone one. This hymn is a reminder of the practice in the ancient Church of holding the sacrament of baptism for catechumens at Christmas, a custom mentioned by Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in their Catechisms.
Listen Now: ‘Christ is born, glorify him’ and ode one of the canon.
Listen Now: ‘Those who have been baptized in Christ’
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Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person – the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.