“We glorify the Holy Spirit together with the Father and the Son, from the conviction that He is not separated from the Divine Nature; for that which is foreign by nature does not share in the same honors.”
– St. Basil the Great
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Born!
I pray that everyone enjoyed a blessed Christmas and is looking forward to a Happy New Year! This coming Sunday is not only the First Day of 2017, it is also the Feast of St. Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great. St. Basil was the Greek bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia and was a contemporary of St. Nicholas of Myra, though St. Nicholas was only a deacon by the time St. Basil was already a bishop.
Of course, anyone from Greece can tell you that it is not St. Nicholas who brings gifts and toys to good boys and girls on Christmas Day, but rather St. Basil on January 1st. This tradition developed as he would place coins and valuables inside of breads and then distribute them to the poor. Like St. Nicholas, he is well-regarded for his generosity and creativity in philanthropic work. Of course, St. Basil, as one of the “Doctors of the Church,” is regarded more for his theology than his kind endeavors.
I look forward to seeing you all this Sunday as we commemorate this well-loved and prolific hierarch of the Church.
The following Sunday, directly following our Teaching Divine Liturgy (please refer to last week’s Pastoral Message for details), we will gather in the Fellowship Hall for our annual Vasilopita Celebration where pieces of “St. Basil’s Bread” will be given in honor of all the ministries and organizations of our parish, and where an auction for individual breads will take place. This is one of the most enjoyable traditions in our Greek Orthodox Church.
In remembrance of St. Basil’s placing of coins in his breads, a single coin is baked into each Vasilopita, with the recipient of the coin enjoying special blessings throughout the New Year.
Remember, we don’t say “good luck” in the church – we say “blessings!”
Please enjoy a blessed remainder of 2016. Our New Year’s Eve-Eve Party is shaping up to be a wonderful gathering (thank you Barbara Hillas), and next week I look forward to sharing some thoughts about the coming celebration of Theophany and our practice of House and Business Blessings.
Happy New Year and God Bless,