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Question 84.

Your blessing, Father Christopher.
I hope you had a blessed and joyous Christmas.
Why does the numbering of Sundays according to the Church not follow a logical order? For example, 20 January 2013 is the 12th Sunday of Luke, and 27 January 2013 is the 15th Sunday of Luke.

I wish you a happy and fruitful 2013.
Evangelos.
 

Answer to Question 84.

Dear Evangelos,
Christ is born!

The yearly cycle of the Gospel readings begins with Pascha which is reckoned according to the Old Calendar even if we celebrate it under the date of our New Calendar. From Pascha we begin the Gospel of John and whether New or Old calendar the readings are the same because we both begin with Pascha. After Pentecost we begin with the Gospel of Matthew with the 1st Sunday being All Saints. Again both New and Old calendars follow the cycle of Matthew together until the Sunday before the Universal Exaltation of the Cross. Here things begin to change because the feast of the Exaltation is a fixed date (September 14th). With the feasts from the fixed cycle, we who follow the New Calendar are two weeks ahead of the Old Calendarist. We therefore lose two Sundays of Matthew because immediately after the feast of the Exaltation be begin with the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of Luke will be read until the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, but the order of the Gospels depends on when Pascha will fall in the coming year. In 2013 Pascha is very late so this gives us extra weeks where the missed Gospel readings from Matthew are inserted. Also certain weeks are moved around because they must fall within a certain date. The Lukan order begins normally until the 4th week which is the feast of the holy fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council. Then we jump to the 6th and 7th week because the 5th week is always appointed to be read at the end of October or beginning of November. The week after, we return to the correct cycle and read the 8th week of Luke followed by the 9th. The next few weeks depend on how many Sundays there are before Christmas, so working backwards we have the Sunday before the Nativity, the Sunday of the Forefathers which is the 11th of Luke and the 10th of Luke. If there are extra weeks the 13th and 14th of Luke are read. From the Nativity until the Sunday after Theophany special readings for the feasts are assigned, but immediately after we begin again with the 12th of Luke. The 13th and 14th weeks of Luke were read before the weeks leading to the Nativity so now we go to the 15th week with the reading of Zacchaeus. In years when Pascha is early the week after Zacchaeus is usually the beginning of the Triodion (16th of Luke) with the reading of the Pharisee and the Publican, but if there is an extra week the 17th of Matthew is inserted (Canaanite Woman). But as Pascha is very late in 2013, we insert the weeks of Matthew that were lost, thus we then read the 15th, 16th and 17th of Matthew before we return to Luke with the 16th and 17th weeks and follow the readings according to the Triodion until Pascha where the cycle begins again.
Hope I haven't confused you more.

Have a great New Year 2013

With love in the Newborn Christ
Fr. Christopher