As we near his celebration next week, on July 26th, I am posting the full service for St. Jacob Netsvetov, enlightener of the peoples of Alaska, below. It includes Vespers, Matins, and Liturgy material. You may either use the PDF below, which has pointed text to save you time in preparation, or, if you would like to remark it for your own musical needs, you may follow the link to the digital file, make a copy, and re-point the text as needed.
Initially, I could only find pieces of the service for St. Jacob of Alaska, so I compiled what I found and edited the language throughout the service to give it the same style and smoothing some of the phrasing to better fit the music. Only near the end of the process did I find what I think is the original service written for him, from 1995 at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, and considering he was canonized in 1994, it would make sense if it were the first service written for him.
December 20th begins the Forefeast of the Nativity. The liturgical structure is similar to the Holy Week preceding Pascha. The Orthodox Church sees the birth of the Son of God as the beginning of the saving ministry which will lead Him, for the sake of man’s salvation, to the ultimate sacrifice of the Cross. Of the services proscribed for this celebration, St. Jacob Parish will gather beginning on the Eve of Nativity:
December 24, 1:00p – Vespers with Divine Liturgy of St. Basil Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served with Vespers. At these services, the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s birth are chanted.
December 24, 7:00p – Vigil for the Nativity of Christ The Vigil of Christmas begins with Great Compline because Vespers has already been served. At Compline, there is the singing of the Troparion and Kontakion of the feast with special hymns glorifying the Saviour’s birth. There are also the special long litanies of intercession and the solemn blessing of the five loaves of bread together with the wheat, wine, and oil. The faithful partake of the bread soaked in the wine and are also anointed with the oil. The order of Matins is that of a great feast. Here, for the first time, the full Canon “Christ is born,” is sung while the faithful venerate the Nativity icon.
December 25, 10:00a – Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of Christ (preceded by the Hours @ 9:30p) Concluding the celebration of the Nativity of Christ is the Liturgy. It begins with psalms of glorification and praise instead of the three normal Antiphons. The Troparion and Kontakion mark the entrance with the Book of the Gospels. The baptismal line from Galatians 3:27 once again replaces the Thrice-Holy. The Epistle reading is from Galatians 4:4-7, the Gospel reading is the familiar Christmas story from Matthew (2:1-12).
Twelve days of Christmas The second day of the feast starts a two-day celebration of the Synaxis of the Theotokos. Combining the hymns of the Nativity with those celebrating the Mother of God, the Church points to Mary as the one through whom the Incarnation was made possible. St Stephen, the First Martyr, is also remembered on these two days. We will gather again: December 26, 6:00p – Great Vespers December 27, 8:30a – Matins 10:00a – Divine Liturgy for the Sunday after the Nativity On the Sunday after Christmas, the Church commemorates James the Brother of Our Lord, David the King, and Joseph the Betrothed. Eight days after the Nativity, is the feast of Circumcision of our Lord. The period of Christmas rejoicing extends to Epiphany during which time the Christmas songs are sung and fasting and kneeling in prayer are not called for by the Church.
Throughout this time, it is the custom of Orthodox Christians to greet each other with the words: “Christ is Born!” and the response, “Glorify Him”
The Eastern Orthodox Church around the world celebrates Pascha on April 28 this year. Called Easter in Western Christianity, we journey to Pascha, observing the Divine Services that take us from the raising of Lazarus from the dead, His Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through each day of Holy Week as our Lord approaches His Last Supper, betrayal, anguish in the garden, capture, trial, mocking scourging & torture, Crucifixion, Burial and finally His Resurrection.
Visitors are welcome to join us for any and all services – here is the schedule of the approaching Feast of Feasts:
Theophany is the Feast which reveals the Most Holy
Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11;
Luke 3:21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was
baptized by Saint John the Forerunner, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the
Son in the form of a dove. From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of
Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to
illumine “those who sat in darkness,” and “in the region of the shadow of
death” (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace.
origin of the Feast of Theophany goes back to Apostolic times, and it is
mentioned in The Apostolic Constitutions (Book V:13). From the second century
we have the testimony of Saint Clement of Alexandria concerning the celebration
of the Baptism of the Lord, and the night vigil before this Feast.
There is a third century dialogue about the
services for Theophany between the holy martyr Hippolytus and Saint Gregory the
Wonderworker. In the following centuries, from the fourth to ninth century, all
the great Fathers of the Church: Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, Ambrose of Milan, John of
Damascus, commented on the Feast of Theophany.
monks Joseph the Studite, Theophanes and Byzantios composed much liturgical
music for this Feast, which is sung at Orthodox services even today. Saint John
of Damascus said that the Lord was baptized, not because He Himself had need
for cleansing, but “to bury human sin by water,” to fulfill the Law, to reveal
the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and finally, to sanctify “the nature of water”
and to offer us the form and example of Baptism.
Feast of the Baptism of Christ, the Holy Church proclaims our faith in the most
sublime mystery, incomprehensible to human intellect, of one God in three
Persons. It teaches us to confess and glorify the Holy Trinity, one in Essence