On the 1st of January, we celebrate the Circumcision of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the memory of our father among the saints, Basil the Great of Caesarea.
Circumcision of our Lord
Troparion Tone 1
Thou Who art by nature God, didst without change take human form, O most compassionate Lord, and in fulfilling the Law of Thine own will didst receive circumcision in the flesh, to banish hades and roll away the veil of our passions. Glory to Thy goodness; glory to Thy compassion; glory to Thy condescension, O Word.
Kontakion Tone 3
In undergoing circumcision the Lord of all has circumcised the sins of mortal men. On this day He gives salvation to the world. And the Hierarch Basil, the Creator’s light bearer and Christ’s mystic, rejoices in the highest.
Saint Basil the Great of Cappadocia
Troparion Tone 1
Thy fame has gone forth into all the earth, which has received thy word. Thereby thou hast taught the Faith; thou hast revealed the nature of created things; thou hast made a royal priesthood of the ordered life of men. Righteous Father Basil intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion Tone 4
Thou wast an unshaken foundation of the Church and didst give to all mortals an inviolate lordship which thou didst seal with thy doctrine, O righteous Basil, revealer of the mysteries of heaven.
A brief account on the life of Saint Basil
Our holy father Basil the Great is from Caesarea in Cappadocia. He was born in the 4th century, in 329 precisely, to Saint Basil the elder and Saint Emmelia. His parents were well-known for their virtues, their care for the poor, and for having guided their ten children on the path of holiness. Encouraged by Saint Basil’s sister Saint Macrina (19 July), his mother and his brothers- Saint Naucratius, Saint Gregory of Nyssa (10 January) and Saint Peter of Sebaste (9 January) - all embraced the monastic life.
After his studies in Athens, and under the guidance of his friend Gregory the Theologian, Basil became one of Christianity's most eloquent spokesmen, earning world renown for both his oratory and his writings. Although he could have had any high governmental position he wished, St. Basil had no desire for high office. Instead he was granted his wish to return to his native city, where he was ordained bishop of Caesarea on 14 June 370.
A man of considerable talent, Saint Basil applied himself to establishing and setting down the rules of monasticism. With this accomplished, he turned to the formalization of the Divine Liturgy which bears his name. The Orthodox Church still celebrates the Liturgy which Saint Basil composed and she uses his prayers which are of high theological inspiration. Apart from taking care of the Church at large, due to the various heretical attacks Saint Basil was always a devoted shepherd of his spiritual flock and a compassionate father to each one of his faithful. With a great concern for the poor that knew no bounds, he carried forward the construction, of the renowned Basiliad, the city of charity. It consisted of hospices, hospitals, a leprosarium, a school and other buildings, grouped around a church.
Teacher of the universe, light of the Orthodox Faith, father of monks, cherisher of the poor, providence of all those who hope in God, Saint Basil was the flawless exemplar of bishops, the living image of Christ, Who, through him, made Himself all things to all men, speaking with his words, and through his actions dispersing the treasures of His love for men.
Through the prayers of our father among the saints Basil the Great, may our Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us and save us. Amen!
-The Synaxarion by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra & Orthodox Saints by George Poulos