What is the Importance of the Liturgical Cycle of the Church?
The church provides a cycle of that supports our spiritual development. It is centered around the feast days of Christ and Mother Mary. Each period there are new hymns and prayers to help us remember the event being celebrated as well as periods of fasting and feasting. Below are shown the major Feast days of the Church.
In the next chart you can see the entire
annual cycle. It begins with the nativity of our Lord which is preceded
with a fast period. Then followed by a period of feasting and ends
with Epiphany where Christ was Baptized by Saint john the Baptist
and began His ministry. Then, we have the period of Great Lent that
precedes Holy Week and Pascha. This is a time the Church Fathers
have set aside for us to withdraw from many of the worldly cares
to devote more time to our prayer and liturgical life. It is a period
of strict fasting. Holy Week is the most intense period of the church
year with many services and strict fasting. Then comes the feast
of feasts, Pascha. This is a great feast of the Resurrection and
is followed by a period feasting. This period of celebration is capped
by the celebration of Pentecost when the Apostles were empowered
and sent to “all nations” to spread the Good News.
Then there is the weekly cycle with fasting on Wednesday
Beyond this is a daily cycle of prayer.