With the approach of September 1st, we mark the beginning of a new Church year, a time rich in tradition and profound meaning. In the words of the Matin Hymn for this day:
“Christ our God, Your kingdom is an everlasting one and Your lordship is over all.
You have made all things with wisdom and have established proper times and seasons for our lives.
We give thanks to You in all circumstances and for all things.
Grant that this liturgical year be for all of us a year of grace.
Make us worthy with purity of heart always to praise you. Lord, glory to You!”
But why do we celebrate the Church year beginning in September and not January? The answer lies in the traditions and lands of the Bible, where the new year began with the autumn harvest and the preparation for a new agricultural cycle. A perfect time to embrace a fresh start and renewed spiritual focus.
The Church’s hymns and prayers, inspired by Psalm 65 (64 in the Septuagint), offer us a framework to make each year a year of grace, a “YEAR OF THE LORD!” We are reminded:
“Bless, O Lord, the crown (that is, the beginning) of the year with Your goodness!”
With the beginning of the Church year, we find guidance in the Vesper Hymn of September 1st:
“O faithful, having learned true prayer from the very words
and divine teachings of Christ,
let us cry out to the Creator each day:
Our Father, who dwells in heaven,
give us always daily bread,
and forgive us our transgressions.”
This hymn brings to the forefront the teachings of Christ, our personal God who provides for our needs, and the importance of daily prayer. These are the anchors that can make the coming year a year of the Lord, a year of grace.
The beginning of the Church year is not a time for revelry but for contemplation, reflection, and prayer. A time to refresh the spirit, meditate on the new year ahead, and recommit our lives to Christ our God.
As we embark on this blessed journey, let us all strive to make a righteous practice of coming to church regularly. Let’s embrace the wisdom, love, mercy, and grace that awaits us, making every moment of our day filled with God’s presence.
“O Lord, Creator of all things,
who by Your authority
have established times and seasons,
bless the beginning of our Church year with
Your goodness; preserve Your people in peace,
and through the intercessions
of the Theotokos, save us. Amen.”