The New Year

Many thanks to all of my readers over this past year. I add a thank you to those who have also been supporting my podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. I commend that wonderful ministry to you. My podcast is among the least on that site. They are doing a wonderful ministry for the Church.

I posted three articles today (it was a holiday). On New Year’s we will celebrate the Liturgy for the Circumcision of Christ and for St. Basil’s Day. I will check the site from time to time to moderate comments and to clear the spam filter. I pray God’s blessings on all of you on the New Year and to our dear Old Calendar friends, I’ll wait another 13 days 🙂

I will resume with a new post, God willing, on January 2, the Feast of St. Seraphim of Sarov. Many years!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





13 responses to “The New Year”

  1. David Avatar

    I cannot properly articulate my appreciation for the work you’ve put into the blog (and through it, into me) over the last year. I suspect that if I could speak what my heart knows, you’d be tempted with pride. So perhaps it is best that I am mute.

  2. fatherstephen Avatar

    David, may God bless you in this coming year. I appreciate your kind remarks and pray, as others will I’m sure, that, as St. Basil says, that God will “give you a light yoke.” It’s in his prayer for the Catechumens in the Liturgy. It’s one of my favorite phrases on the days we use his liturgy.

    My first liturgy as a priest, was St. Basil’s, with my Archbishop in the altar, and his Protodeacon serving as my deacon. I don’t recall another time as an Orthodox Christian when I’ve been so nervous. The only thing I called “called” for was using “too much expression” in my celebration – I was too overjoyed. Orthodox tradition is for a priest to either intone the prayer of the anapora, or if it is read, to read without much inflection – although there is also the practice of reading it silently (mystikos) which is not generally done in my diocese.

    Happy St. Basil’s Day everyone!

  3. Fr Ronald Drummond Avatar
    Fr Ronald Drummond

    Thank you, Father, for the offerings of wisdom, guidance, and instruction on this blog and on the podcast. I imagine that many of us, who are at many different points on our journey toward Orthodoxy, remember the name of Fr. Stephen Freeman in our prayers of thanksgiving for guides and fathers in Christ.

    A blessed Feast of the Circumcision, St. Basil’s Day, and a blessed New Year to you…and many more years!

  4. d.burns Avatar

    Fr. Bless,

    I have a question… Jan 1 we celebrate the Circumcision of Christ on the 8th day, yet the 8th day of Christmas is actually Jan 2nd? Am I missing something?

    Here’s hopeing you and your family have a blessed new year.

  5. Death Bredon Avatar

    Many Years!

    Thank you for your inspiring and edifying blogging! I post an excerpt penned by you on my blog today.

  6. fatherstephen Avatar

    Death Bredon,

    Thank you for your always kind comments. I looked over at your blog. My picture looks like death just trampled me down. My wife and I were on our way back up from hiking a ways down the Grand Canyon. I was tired. I would like to add your site to the blogroll – where should it be – Anglican – Roman, etc.?

  7. fatherstephen Avatar


    Gotta do the math. Christmas Day 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 1

    That’s 8 days (you always count the first one as 1, except when you don’t 🙂

  8. John Avatar

    Thank you Fr. Stephen for having such great posts, even though since I’m in ROCOR I have to mentally put everything ahead 13 days!

  9. fatherstephen Avatar


    My oldest daughter, Matushka Mary, is married to an OCA priest who serves in the Russian Deanery in the Diocese of the West, and is hence Old Calendar. Thus my family is bi-Calendar. She called me on Dec. 19 (my wedding anniversary) to wish me happy St. Nicholas’ Day. She’ll get her Christmas present from me on the 7th. 🙂

    Thank you for your kind remarks. May God bless you. Interestingly, in Russia, Jan. 1st as New Year, is a secular holiday, and thus is on the New Calendar. My Russians have said that it seems strange to have Christmas before New Year. Of course they observe the Church feasts on the Old Calendar – but the mixture makes for an interesting cultural mix.

  10. Jim H. Avatar
    Jim H.

    I struggle with many OC doctrines, but keep coming back here because you manage to boldly articulate and defend the Orthodox faith with humility.

    You took the time to send me a personal email last summer and I will never forget that.

    Thank you

  11. fatherstephen Avatar


    Thanks for the note. I by no means live up to what I should on the blog – I get carried away from time to time – but I appreciate your kind remarks. I hope that any difficulties you have with Orthodox doctrine will be ameliorated and not complicated by my writing. May God bless your new year!

  12. Milan Avatar

    Father Bless,

    I wish you all best in the new year. I am very glad that this year I discovered this blog and the Ancient Faith Radio. About the 13 days difference between the different calendars and the New Year before Christmas – I find it quite hard to see it as an interesting cultural mix. This sometimes appears to be a real liturgical problem. For example – we in Macedonia use the Old calendar, and in Bulgaria (100 km away from here) the New calendar is used. If You travel often (like I had to do in the past 2 years) – a problem appears. I understand the calendar problem as completely practical problem – it’s a problem of liturgical dissonance between the Orthodox Christians. In the same time, the New Year celebration is completely separated from its Church context here (we celebrate Saint Basil and Circumcision on January 14). So sometimes it gets really messed up.

  13. Fatherstephen Avatar


    I agree with you – but endure it with patience. It will take some time, I think, before the Bishops of the Church are truly ready to settle the calendar question in a way that does more good than harm. It was unfortunate, in many ways, that the original decision on the calendar was not made with representation from all of Orthodoxy and that a willingness to make such a decision without the cooperation of all the local churches was made back in the 1920’s. But it happened, and we have survived, it should be rectified one way or another, but I see no way forward without patience and love. I have already seen some things in my lifetime that I would have never dreamed of – perhaps this too will be done.

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