Tag Archive for: Sun

Advent 36-50: Son & Sun Collide

Advent Day 36 of 50: Son and Sun Collide

Armenia was the first nation to accept Christianity. By decree of the King, Tirdat, Christianity became the official religion of Armenia in the year 301. In a pluralistic society such as ours it is difficult to imagine or even conceive of a state mandated religion. That it happened in the 4th century and that it was so well received that it became the dominant force binding and building the people of Armenia since then is what miracles are made of.

Twelve years after Armenia’s acceptance of Christianity, the Emperor Constantine proclaimed Christianity as an acceptable religion in the Roman Empire. From that point on people were allowed to freely practice Christianity one of a handful of religions.

Christians celebrated the Nativity – the Birth of Jesus Christ – on January 6. It was a combined celebration of Jesus’ birth, the Visit of the Magi and the Baptism of Christ. Essentially, January 6 was the date to celebrate all of the events from the Birth of Jesus to his baptism.

Within the Roman Empire there were groups that worshipped the Sun, and the Winter Solstice was a true celebration of the Birth of the Sun. To move people away from Sun worship to the Son worship of the new Christianity religion, Emperor Constantine changed the date of the Nativity to December 25, twelve days prior to January 6. The twelve day period accommodated pilgrims who wanted to celebrate the Birth of Christ in Bethlehem and his Baptism at the River Jordan. It was a 12 day journey between the two pilgrimage sites by foot.

In Armenia there was no need to separate the feasts and January 6 is the date that the Birth and Baptism of Christ are celebrated to this day under the name Theophany, that is, The Revelation of God.

Let us pray from the Morning Hour of Worship of the Armenian Church, We have become joyful after those days when you humbled us, and those years when we saw evil. Look, Lord, upon your servants and upon the work of your hands and lead their sons. May the light of the Lord God be upon us. Justify for us the work of our hands, O Lord, and prosper the work of our hands. Amen.

Cover: Envato Elements


Armodoxy for Today: The Solstice

A few years back, I found myself in a village in Rwanda working with genocide survivors. We conducted some informal interviews, became familiar with their daily activities and then, as the sun went down, people wound down, and pretty soon, 7:00PM, in the dark of the night, people were in their homes preparing for their evening rest. There was no sound throughout the village. I thought it odd that people would be preparing to sleep at this early hour. And then it occurred to me, that without electricity, without the artificial lighting that the electricity provides, for all intents and purposes the day was over with the sun set.

Today we celebrate the Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. From the Summer Solstice to this day, the days have gotten shorter and shorter, and now, moving forward, there will be more hours of daylight per day to live and enjoy. In a world without electricity, you might imagine how welcomed the longer days ahead would be, so welcomed, that this day would be celebrated as the “birth of the sun.” Indeed, the sun stays out longer giving more possibilities for work, play, socializing, that is, possibilities for life!

To facilitate the spread of Christianity, the date of the Birth of Christ was moved to December 25 in the Roman Empire during the fourth century. Celebrating the birth of the Sun was replaced with the Christmas festivities, in honor of the birth of the Son! Meanwhile in Armenia, during the fourth century, the Winter Solstice was not celebrated to the extent it was in the Roman Empire. The date of Christmas was not changed and January 6 remains as the celebration date for Theophany. There are more factors for the different Christmas dates, but for today, suffice it to say, that Armenia was not touched by the date change. Until today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Nativity and Baptism of Christ on the same date, January 6.

The Solstice points to the cosmic time lock that has seasons and times changing over the globe. It’s a reminder that some of the great treasures of our Faith are found in the simplest phenomena of nature. Whether the birth of the sun or the birth of the son, there is a common thread that runs through both, namely, light. They are both gifts of light to the world.

How we process this revelation in the Christmas message, is how Armodoxy fits in to our cosmology. Join me tomorrow as we continue in the Advent Journey.


A full Lunar Eclipse takes place this morning and will be the last one until 2025. Enjoy…

Armodoxy for Today

The Heavens

From the earliest of times, from the most ancient history of the human race and even before, people have looked up to the heavens only to stand in awe of its vastness and beauty. It has been the inspiration poems, songs and prayers. For many, it has signaled the existence of the Creator, the Prime Mover, or simply, God.

One of the sacred scriptures in Armenian Orthodoxy is the Book of Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach. It reads as a testament to the wonders of the heavens and as a prayer. Today, we offer this reading from the Scriptures:

I will now call to mind the works of the Lord,
and will declare what I have seen.
By the word of the Lord his works are made;
and all his creatures do his will.
The sun looks down on everything with its light,
and the work of the Lord is full of his glory.

The pride of the higher realms is the clear vault of the sky,
as glorious to behold as the sight of the heavens.
 The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises
what a marvelous instrument it is, the work of the Most High.
At noon it parches the land,
and who can withstand its burning heat?

The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,
a glittering array in the heights of the Lord.

 On the orders of the Holy One they stand in their appointed places;
they never relax in their watches.
 We could say more but could never say enough;
let the final word be: ‘He is the all.’
Where can we find the strength to praise him?
For he is greater than all his works.
Awesome is the Lord and very great,
and marvelous is his power.
Glorify the Lord and exalt him as much as you can,
for he surpasses even that.
When you exalt him, summon all your strength,
and do not grow weary, for you cannot praise him enough.
(Sirach 42-43 NRSV)