Clear Away The Clutter: Shut Out The Noise

Preparations Begin For Philippian Fast

Have you checked the tiny print in the upper left hand corner on the November page of your liturgical calendar? (You know, the one you picked up at church and hung in your kitchen.) In the fourth line down, we are reminded that for Eastern Christians, our preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Christmas) begins on the feast of St. Phillip, Nov. 15, and ends on Dec. 24.

Traditionally, we call this period, “Philip’s Fast.” Christians of other faith traditions call it “Advent.” In 2005, the Office of Religious Education for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh reprinted an updated version of a marvelous little book entitled, “Christ is Born:

A Journey of Expectation, Preparation and Fulfillment.” More than ever, we need to step away from the materialistic, empty and superficial images the culture presents to us before and after the Christmas season. Our Church presents a different image by asking us to prepare for the Feast by praying, fasting, almsgiving and reflection. Our youth need examples of holy men and women in the Scriptures who have gone before us to counter-act the lack of civility and violence so prevalent in our society today.

In the introduction to the book, the late Metropolitan Basil wrote, “I invite you, as we prepare for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to make this book a  companion on our journey during this blessed season.It is an opportunity to walk with the saints whom we commemorate during this time of preparation and to receive the inspiration that they offer as we contemplate both the ordinary and extraordinary facets
of their lives.”

In the book you will find:

  • Christmas Morning Homily of St. John Chrysostom
  • Old Testament Prophecies of the Incarnation by Rev. John S. Custer
  • Purpose of the Nativity Fast by Steve Puluka
  • An Eastern Approach to Fasting by Archpriest John G. Petro
  • The Traditional Holy Supper (with recipes)
  • Theology of the Incarnation by Kathryn S. Kress
  • Specific reflections written by a talented group of clergy and laity on the various feast days that occur during this Holy Season. Included are questions and user-friendly suggested activities. Good News! The book can be purchased for $5 per copy in person at the Office of Religious Education or by mail for $10 per copy (includes shipping and handling). Make check out to “Office of Religious Education” and mail to: 3605 Perrysville Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15214.