The type of Baptism: in old New year the Church celebrates the Circumcision of Christ

© RIA Novosti / Ruslan to Krivobokova in fotoangelo Circumcision in the exhibition Art of Northern Gothic and Renaissance in the Pushkin Museum. PushkinThe type of Baptism: in old New year the Church celebrates the Circumcision of Christ© RIA Novosti / Ruslan to Krivobokova the image Bank

In the old New year, Orthodox believers celebrate one of the greatest Christian holidays — Circumcision of our Lord. As this event is closely associated with Judaism, entered the top five most important holidays of Orthodoxy, what is its meaning and why to this day I remember one of the fathers of the Church, St. Basil the Great — in the material RIA Novosti.

Sign for life

According to the gospel on the eighth day after the birth of Jesus Christ was circumcised, as prescribed by old Testament law to the nation of Israel. This ritual was set in the times of Abraham for all male babies. For the Jews he determined belonging to God’s chosen people.

«Circumcision served as a sign (i.e., sign) of the Covenant between God and people and symbolically indicates that the man rejected his own flesh and is no longer your body but God,» — said in a sermon on the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord, the spiritual father of the Novo-Tikhvin female monastery of Ekaterinburg Archimandrite Abraham (Reidman).

The passage from the old Testament which is read in churches during the festive divine services, talks about how the Lord appeared to Abraham in the hundredth year of his life and told him that He is «God Almighty» and He will «make a Covenant» between him and your other. To Abraham God promised a numerous posterity, and the blessing of God, and in return him and his descendants demanded loyalty to God.

As a symbol of this Covenant and the promise to fulfill the divine commandments were chosen external action — the cutting off of the foreskin in men. The sign of circumcision remained for life.

In the biblical book Genesis describes how «God has commanded to cut off every human male on the eighth day from birth, including babies born at the house, and bought with money from foreigners». Thus «the soul of those who are not circumcised will be cut off». The Bible tells us that «Abraham obediently fulfilled the will of God» and «all household members male born in the house or purchased, were circumcised.» Himself to Abraham, says the Scripture, «was 99 years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin».

Also on the infant, according to Jewish custom, on the eighth day they circumcised you. At the same time he was given the name Jesus (Saviour). For the interpretation of the fathers of the Church, accepting circumcision, God the Son, showed men an example of the complete and strict execution of the law — the Divine edicts, and that He was not only true God but also true Man, having real flesh and blood.

«For this and installed this holiday: that we have the example of circumcision realized the truth of the incarnation, the reality of the incarnation of the Son of God, second person or hypostasis, of the Holy Trinity,» — said Archimandrite Abraham.

It is noteworthy that the «Holy prepuce» (foreskin) is one of the relics associated with the body of Jesus Christ, which began to appear in the Middle ages. According to unconfirmed reports, the original Shrine was in Rome, but was then stolen. Since that time a number of parishes in Western and southern Europe claimed that they have found the Holy relic.

«Circumcision not made with hands»

In the New Testament the rite of circumcision gave way to Baptism, the prototype of which he was. The Apostle Paul in one of his Epistles compared Christian baptism with «circumcision made without hands, Christ’s» that person «avlekete sinful body of the flesh».

A famous spiritual writer of the twentieth century, the hegumen Nikon (Vorobyov, 1894-1963 years), in his «Word on the Circumcision of Christ» notes that in old Testament times «bodily circumcision was a sign of a new circumcision in the New Testament circumcision is already not physical, but spiritual.»

«What is this spiritual circumcision? The Lord Jesus Christ has said: «Whoever wants to follow Me, that is the Lord Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God, to the glory of God, he must deny ourselves and take up your cross, follow Me.» Here is rejecting itself, and there is a spiritual circumcision… It means to deny the sin which so penetrate the soul and body of every person to reject sin as though man should himself be rejected,» — says the Abbot Nikon.

According to him, serious like a cancerous disease, «sin is necessary how to operate, to cut, i.e. to cut myself, cut it, of a person to remain healthy».

Thus, concluded the priest, both without the bodily circumcision of the people in his time could not enter into the congregation of the chosen people, and without spiritual circumcision a Christian cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

From Church history we know that the first Christian community in Jerusalem and other cities were people turned from the Jews and therefore circumcised. However, after the Church began the influx of Gentiles among the believers had disagreements about whether to trim them. Many Christians who came from Judea insisted on this ceremony, pointing to the allegedly necessary to save the value of circumcision. As a result, the part of the apostles was compiled the Jerusalem Council, which unanimously agreed that the circumcision was not performed on Gentile converts.

Holiday date

Before the revolution in the Russian Empire date of the Circumcision of the Lord coincided with the beginning of a new year — a civil year. Then in the country at the same time celebrated these two holidays. Now a memorable event in Church history we have the old New year, which appeared in Russia after the introduction of the Bolsheviks, the Western European calendar.

The connection of the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord with the new year priests called «pure math» (or just coincidence): the Circumcision of our Lord is always celebrated the Orthodox Church on the eighth day after Christmas (25 December old style). Accordingly, the eighth day falls on January 1.

Before, even 10-15 years ago, on this day in many churches of the Russian Orthodox Church was held a prayer service on Rosh Hashanah (the New year), but this tradition has largely disappeared. As a rule, services are done only on 31 December, new style, when the whole country is preparing for the New year.

«Here we go for the sake of «civilian» needs, because any number, whether it’s a birthday, New year or the beginning of a new school year is a thanksgiving for the past and request mercy from God for life. And the reason can be different,» — said RIA Novosti, the Abbot of the temple Martyr Tatiana, Moscow state University, Archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky.

Actually, perhaps that is why the schedule of some of the temples and on the Lord’s Circumcision, January 14, is the same prayer for the new year.

One against all

The custom of celebrating the Lord’s Circumcision was established, according to some reports, in the fourth century St. Basil the Great (approximate date life — years 330-379). At the time it was done in the fight against various heretical communities, denying either divine or human nature of Christ. With the memory of Basil the Great and connected in the Church this holiday. On January 1, have and the day of death of the Saint, who was Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (an ancient city on the territory of modern Turkey).

Basil (his name means «Royal») was born around 330 in Caesarea, was descended from a noble family and received an excellent education. But, having given away all his possessions to the poor, he settled on the banks of the river and gathered the monks in the dormitory.

When he spread the false teaching of the Arians (who argued that God the Son is not equal to God the Father, but only His creation), the Church urged Basil to return to Caesarea to defend its canonical teachings. After the death of Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea in 370, Basil was elevated to his chair. Subsequently, he bravely resisted the follower of the Arian heresy to the Emperor Valens, who, seeing his steadfastness, as a result, even refused the exile of the Bishop.

«Basil the Great — man at some point single-handedly «podyachiy» the preservation of the Christian faith in the Church, — told RIA Novosti the famous ecclesiastical writer, hieromonk Macarius (Markish). — It is a complex history of Orthodoxy when, due to some theological peculiarities, and administrative resources in the middle of the IV century became the era of the triumph of the heresy of Arianism, including in the person of the emperors, who for one reason or another, supported the Arians. And in some period of Basil the Great in the East was the only Bishop who defended the Orthodox faith. He managed this business to carry on their shoulders, despite the fact that physically the man was not strong and died when he was not yet fifty.»

The Saint died in the year 379. Immediately after his death, congregations of believers began to celebrate the memory of Basil the Great. And his name sounds in all churches of the Russian Orthodox Church and other churches living according to the Julian calendar, this feast day, which is popularly dubbed the «old New year».

«Moreover, adds Archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky, by analogy, as we have Santa Claus for the New year children any gifts brings — so in Orthodox Greece, it brings Basil the Great, and this holiday there is called Vasiliadi. That is, they have the role of Santa Claus performs Basil the Great, such is the tradition».