Tuesday, January 8, 2008

On the second day of Christmas . . .

Well, today is the second day of the Nativity festival. It is called by the liturgical books, the "Synaxis of the Mother of God." As mentioned in my bulletin of last Sunday, the days after principal holydays in Byzantine times, were occasions on which the clergy and bishops held a sobor or "assembly." Synaxis in Greek means "a coming together." The days received their names after those who played a principal role in the festival just celebrated, so in this case, Mary as the one who gave birth to the Savior is recalled for the important part she played in salvation history.

Today I attended a "synaxis" of the local clergy from our area. Meeting once a month, the organization is known as PAPA or the Peekskill Area Pastors Association. It has been in existence for over 100 years and is comprised of members of almost every denomination and faith.

It seems to me to be a positive witness to unity through diversity and a way for the local faith community to respond to a united voice to important issues of faith and justice. This was seen most recently in the solidarity during the unfortunate hate crime committed in the vicinity. (See our website article on the topic: Metropolitan Mykhayil Reacts to Area Hate Crime for more info.)

The next major event for PAPA will be a celebration of prayer and song in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. It will hopefully prove to be an event which promotes an upright spirit in the community and overcomes boundaries and negativity. We can only pray with positive expectation.

Here, yet another picture from our celebration of Julian calendar Christmas. Peace and goodness to all.

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