Just as our iconography places the mysteries of salvation before our physical eyes for our reflection, so too the Liturgical Year places those same mysteries before our mind’s eye. Through the Liturgical Year we ponder again and again the heavenly mysteries, so that we can more deeply conform our lives to them with each passing year.
Our liturgical year hinges on two major feasts - Christmas and Easter. The Christmas cycle is a “fixed” cycle, meaning that it has the same dates every year. A series of feasts commemorating the major events in the life of our Blessed Lord - e.g. his conception, his baptism in the Jordan, and his transfiguration on Mt. Tabor - are structured around this Christmas cycle.
The second hinge of our liturgical year is the Easter cycle. Because of how the Catholic Church calculates the date for Easter, this cycle is called “moveable.” As with the Christmas cycle, a series of major feasts commemorating events in the life of the early Church - Christ’s Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit - are structured around this cycle.
Although the Pentecost cycle is a separate season from the Easter cycle, it is still attached to the Easter cycle since the feast of Pentecost is dependant on the date of Easter.
Unity in Diversity
Although the Byzantine Catholic Churches are in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, our liturgical calendar does, in fact, differ from the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. There are feast days on the Roman calendar that are not on ours, and vice versa. We have different saints that we venerate. And often have different aspects of our salvation that we ponder.
These differences highlight the “unity in diversity” that makes up the rich heritage of Catholicism.
Interested in Learning More?
You can learn more about celebrating the liturgical year in the Byzantine tradition by reading our new Ebook "Come and See" as soon as it's released.
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