Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
Christ is in our midst!
Welcome to the website of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Brockton, MA. The Annunciation is within the Metropolis of Boston, which is part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – one of the daughter Churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Church of the Annunciation is the only Eastern Orthodox Church in Brockton and its surrounding communities.
At the Annunciation, we conduct the full cycle of Sunday services, commencing with Great Vespers on Saturday evenings through Orthros (Matins) and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings. Throughout the liturgical year, we also celebrate the feasts of our Lord and the Theotokos (Mother of God), as well as the feasts of all major saints of the Church. From fall through spring, Small Vespers are also celebrated on most Wednesdays nights, with adult religious education sessions following the service.
We welcome all to worship with us, whether you are visiting the area or live locally. May God bless you!
†Fr. Anthony Evangelatos
Upcoming Services and Events
The date for Parish Council Elections has changed. Elections will now be held on Sunday, December 11, 2016, NOT on Sunday, December 4, as previously announced.
Fr. Anthony's December 2016 / January 2017 Message
Beloved in Christ,
The joyous celebration of the Nativity of Christ is fast approaching, to be followed by the glorious feast of Holy Theophany 12 days later. Many of us do not realize that centuries ago these two feasts were celebrated on the same day, January 6th. I would like to explain this in greater detail, so that we can all know something of the history behind the separation of the two feasts.
First of all, we must remember that Christianity was born into a pagan world. Even the first Christians in the Holy Land could not escape this reality since they were occupied by the Romans. Pagan religious and secular observances continued to exist for the next few centuries alongside Christianity, which was persecuted throughout this period. This reality had a direct effect on the separation of the feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Christ.
Regarding these two events, the early Church merged them into one feast that celebrated the various manifestations of Christ to the world: His birth in the flesh as the God-man; His revelation as God through the visitation of the Magi, who worshipped Him and offered Him gifts accordingly; and finally, His manifestation to the world as the Son of God along with the Father and Holy Spirit during Theophany, thus manifesting the Holy Trinity to the world. As mentioned above, January 6th was the day assigned to this great feast of the Lord.
During Roman pagan times, December 25th was the celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year after which hours of sunlight would begin increasing. The focus of the feast was worship of the sun god, Sol Invictus (the Unconquerable Sun). This pagan holiday was notorious for debauchery and wild celebration, not unlike the way some people today celebrate New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, the influence of pagan society continually affected many Christians of the time. They would get caught up in the revelry of the holiday which was truly unfitting for Christians, especially in light of their spiritual preparation for the upcoming feast of the Lord’s birth and epiphany 12 days later.
In the 4th century through an act of great wisdom, the Church separated the celebration of the Nativity of Christ and the visit of the Magi from the celebration of His baptism and epiphany to the world, creating a new feast to focus on His birth and related events. This new feast of the Nativity of Christ was superimposed onto the pagan feast of the sun on December 25th. This clever maneuver created a correct focus on worshipping Christ the Sun of Righteousness, the true Light of the world, instead of the pagan god of the sun. The apolytikion, or central hymn of the Nativity, clearly reveals the correct focus for the newly formed feast of December 25th:
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone up-on the world with the light of knowledge; for thereby they who adored the stars through a star were taught to worship Thee, the sun of righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee.
Eventually, a 40-day fast period became the norm in the preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Christ. Also as with Bright Week which follows Holy Pascha, the Church eliminated all fasting starting from the feast of the Nativity up to January 4th, the day before the Eve of Theophany. In fact, the celebration of the Nativity is linked to the feast of Theophany by the 12-day festal period which ends on Theophany Eve, January 5th. On this day, a strict fast is upheld in order to prepare the faithful for the feast, and for the drinking of Holy Water which is blessed at the liturgy of the eve.
This linking of the Nativity and Theophany is only logical, being that these two events were once united as one major feast. For many centuries, Orthodox Christians have been celebrating the Nativity of our Lord on December 25th, which includes the commemoration of the visit of the Magi. On the eighth day after the Lord’s birth, January 1st, His circumcision and naming are celebrated, along with the memory of St. Basil the Great which was added after his canonization. Then on January 6th the Church advances to the Lord’s baptism in the Jordan and manifestation as God in the flesh, along with the Father and Holy Spirit. It should be noted that in keeping with historical accuracy, on the 40th day after the Lord’s birth, February 2nd, the feast of the Meeting (or Presentation) of Christ in the temple is celebrated. With this feast we close the entire Nativity related period, and in most years the beginning of the Triodion promptly follows.
I hope that I have enlightened you with this interesting history of the feasts of the Nativity and Theophany of Christ. In addition, hopefully you can appreciate even more, why the Orthodox Church holds that the true and correct celebration of the Lord’s Nativity begins on December 25th and culminates on the feast of Theophany, January 6th, the climax of this holy season. May you all have a blessed feast of both the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord!
Church Services Hours
Orthros at 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 am
Orthros at 9:00 am; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 am
Saturdays at 6:00 pm
Online Bill Pay
The Annunciation Church offers an online bill pay service for the convenience of our parishioners. Click on the links below to fulfill your Stewardship or make other payments by credit card.
Donations (in memory of, floral, other)
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
457 Oak Street
Brockton, MA 02301
From Route 24 take Exit 18B (Route 27 North - Stoughton).
At lights take a right on to Pearl Street.
At second set of lights take a right on to Oak Street.
Drive 1 mile. The church is on the left. Welcome!
Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Rev. Fr. Anthony Evangelatos - Presiding Priest
Office - email@example.com
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