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Liturgical year

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Liturgical Year

The Liturgical year consists of the cycle of liturgical[?] seasons in some Christian churches which determines when Feasts[?], Memorials[?], Commemorations[?] and Solemnities are to be observed and which portions of Scripture are to be read. Distinct liturgical colours may appear in connection with different seasons of the liturgical year.

Some observances[?] are attached to a specific date, while others depend on other events in the church year and are therefore considered "movable." Most of these depend on the number of days before or after Easter.

The seasons in The Roman Catholic Church are:

Table of contents


First season of the liturgical year. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and its purpose is the preparation for Christmas.


The Christmas season begins with the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve and ends on the Feast of the Baptism on the Sunday before January 6.

Ordinary Time[?]

In this sense, ordinary means not assigned to a specific season. Usually it consists of 33 or 34 Sundays, depending on the year. The first part extends between the Monday following the Easter Season and the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.


Lent is the time taken by the Church to prepare for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Thursday of Holy Week. There are forty days of Lent, counted from the First Sunday of Lent to Holy Thursday.

Easter Triduum[?]

The Easter Triduum consists of:


The Easter season extends from the Easter Vigil through Pentecost Sunday 50 days later. It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus.

Ordinary Time[?]

The second part of Ordinary Time begins again after the Easter Season, on the Monday after Pentecost, and end on Saturday eve before the First Sunday of Advent.

The Liturgical year in the Eastern Orthodox Church is characterized by alternating fasts and feasts, and is in many ways similar to the Roman Catholic year described above. It includes the 12 Great Feasts, plus Pascha (Easter) itself, the Feast of Feasts. These feasts generally mark various significant events in the lives of Jesus Christ and of the Virgin Mary. Winter Lent is one name for the extended fast leading up to the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ (Christmas). Great Lent is the extended fast leading up to Holy Week and Pascha. Other times are especially set aside as well.

The Twelve Great Feasts

  • Nativity of Mary (September 8) -- birth of the Virgin Mary to Joakim and Anne.
  • Elevation of the Cross (September 14) -- commemorates the rediscovery of the original Christian Cross.
  • Entrance of Mary into the Temple (November 21) -- commemorates the Virgin Mary's first entry into the Temple at about the age of 3.
  • Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (December 25) -- birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Theophany (January 6) -- The baptism of Jesus Christ, Christ's blessing of the water, and the revealing of Christ as God.
  • Presentation of our Lord in the Temple (February 2) -- Christ's presentation as an infant in the Temple.
  • Annunciation of Mary (March 25) -- Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she will conceive the Christ, and her "Yes".
  • Entry into Jerusalem (Sunday before Pascha) -- known in the West as Palm Sunday.
  • Ascension (40 days after Pascha) -- Christ's ascension into Heaven following his resurrection.
  • Pentecost (50 days after Pascha) -- The Holy Spirit comes and indwells the apostles and other Christians.
  • Transfiguration of our Lord (August 6) -- Christ's Transfiguration[?] is witnessed by Peter, James and John.
  • Dormition of Mary (August 15) -- The falling asleep of the Virgin Mary.

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