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In many western Churches, the season of Advent no longer possesses the same penitential character it once did.

As the commercialization of Christmas in the West has led to a misunderstanding of the church year, this first season of the liturgical calendar is largely neglected. Churches have replaced the historic Lenten colored violet paraments with the color blue. In the past, Advent also possessed an end-times dimension flowing off of the close of the church year, as the coming of Christ was considered in three ways: His arrival in Bethlehem, His arrival in Word and Sacrament, and His arrival on the last day.

How does Eastern Christianity view Advent? Have cultural influences affected church life?


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It's not a penitential season, from what I understand; and have read, thus far (Winter Pascha by Father Hopko, of blessed memory). Rather, it's a time of preparation, anticipation.

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The Roman Rite still prescribes Violet vestments for Advent Sundays, Rose vestments allowed on the 3rd Sunday. The Gloria in Excelsis is suppressed at Mass. The first two Sundays still have the Second Coming as the theme of the Readings.

The Byzantine Rite has the Nativity Fast but no themed coordinated liturgical season like the Roman Rite. After the Leavetaking of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple at Matins the Katavasia Irmos is from the Canon of the Nativity. On the Feast of St Nicholas we start singing the pre-festive Sticheron of the Nativity at Vespers. There are two Sundays before Christmas that focus on the ancestors of Christ. On Dec 20 the the Pre-Feast of Christmas starts.


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The only place in Western Catholicism that I am aware of using blue vestments in Advent (withe permission) would be in certain places in Spain. Though, to be fair, there are several parishes I have heard of dong so without permission in the USA. This probably happens elsewhere as well.

Thankfully, in our parish this is not a concern, and Advent is also treated in the proper fashion, as in being a penitential season as well as one of hope in the coming Nativity of our Lord.

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I am Roman Rite. I have not see any blue liturgical colors during Advent (thankfully). I have been to two parishes since Advent began. They have both been liturgically correct and have been emphasizing Advent and preparation. I belong to a traditional parish and would not attend any parish which did not follow guidelines. I live in Ohio and can say it is fairly traditional here. I am hoping to attend a Divine Liturgy on a holy day. I do not have a Byzantine rite parish nearby and have only attended during on a Sunday.

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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
The Byzantine Rite has the Nativity Fast...
Hello Fr. Deacon Lance,

May I ask how the Nativity Fast is practised?

Thank you, Father.

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Pretty good overview:

http://www.byzantinecatholic.org/feastsandfasts/nativityfast.php

I would add most Eastern Catholic jurisdictions do not bind the keeping of the Nativity Fast under pain of sin and simply encourage the faithful to keep some of it as best they can.


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Thanks very much for this embiggenment, Father! I'm positively impressed.

( I'm very new to Eastern Christianity and I've never before seen the term 'Byzantine Orthodox Christianity in full communion with the Bishop of Rome...' Do you happen to know what the word 'Orthodox' means in this context?

http://www.byzantinecatholic.org/aboutus/mission.php )

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Originally Posted by MariaCatherine
Thanks very much for this embiggenment, Father! I'm positively impressed.

( I'm very new to Eastern Christianity and I've never before seen the term 'Byzantine Orthodox Christianity in full communion with the Bishop of Rome...' Do you happen to know what the word 'Orthodox' means in this context?

http://www.byzantinecatholic.org/aboutus/mission.php )


A small section of Eastern Catholics believe they can hold to the same faith as Eastern Orthodoxy while being in communion with Rome. They practice a sort of mental time travel where they imagine they are communion with Rome circa AD 1000 and not Rome as it exists today.

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Actually, my dear Swan (or "Lebed" in Ukrainian . . .), All Eastern Catholics believe they are fully Orthodox and we even use the term in the liturgy! smile

The small group you refer to are those who may wish to understand Rome's authority in terms of the first millenium of Christianity - and that is their perspective (and/or issue?).

Orthodoxy was in full communion with Rome for the first 1,000 years (and more?).

Eastern Catholics see themselves as "Orthodox" in terms of the faith they hold and "Catholic" in terms of the Church they belong to. There are differences and, more than these, the fact of the break between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

But we see ourselves as having the fullness of the original faith and Church - agree with us or not.

And "Byzantine" is actually a later term. The Byzantines of history wouldn't have called themselves that. They simply called themselves "Romans."

Alex Roman

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I might have looked a bit deeper before I asked about the term 'Orthodox' (which appears in the Traditional Latin Mass too, but not capitalized. That's what confused me.)

Here is the explanation I was looking for. It is fascinating.

http://www.byzantinecatholic.org/heritage/byzantineparish.php

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Sorry MariaCatherine!

I was responding to Swan in the first instance, not to your question.

But that is a great article!

Alex


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