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The Orthodox Advent Wreath

The Byzantine Rite of the Orthodox Church has no liturgical season exactly corresponding to Advent in the West. That does not mean there is no preparation for Christ’s Nativity. In the Orthodox Church, the Nativity Fast begins on November 15, forty days before December 25.

While there is no weekly “theme” on Pre-Nativity Sundays, the Advent season is marked by the penitential singing of “Alleluia” at Matins and other features. As we get closer to the Feast, more and more Nativity-related hymns appear in the services. The second Sunday before the Nativity is dedicated to the Old Testament Ancestors of Christ God, and the Sunday before the Nativity is dedicated to the Forefeast, which begins on December 20.

The Advent season was originally linked to Epiphany (Theophany, the Baptism of Christ, January 6), with the Birth of Christ being a lesser "Pre-Feast" celebration. In the West, Advent was first established in the year 380 as a three-week preparation for Epiphany. Inspired by the development of Lent, by 581 some Christians in Western Europe began the Advent fast as early as Martinmas (November 11). In other places, a period of five or six Sundays was established. After the Great Schism of 1054, this was reduced and standardized throughout the West to the four Sundays known today.

The Advent Wreath itself originated among German Lutherans in the sixteenth century. Over time it became a staple of Advent devotion throughout Western Christianity, both Protestant and Roman Catholic.

While the Advent Wreath devotion has no substantial connection with Eastern Orthodoxy, it is deeply ingrained in Western culture, and various attempts have been made to harmonize this private devotion in Eastern Orthodox households in the West. Some have invented weekly themes for each candle.

At Legacy Icons, we designed a forty-day Orthodox Advent Wreath with six candles, focusing on short daily scripture readings, prayers, and feasts that fall during the Nativity Fast. We imagine the wreath at the center of the family dinner table, with the daily scripture, prayer, and candle lighting being done before the evening meal.

This exclusive six-candle Advent Wreath, crafted from two pounds of solid brass with beautiful decorative etching, is the very finest way to mark this holy season. The candles are colored according to the traditional colors of the liturgical season: red for the Nativity Fast, and one blue candle for the Entry of the Theotokos.

For those who purchased our Advent Wreath last year, we also offer the booklet with a set of candles for you to use again this year!

We pray this Advent Wreath devotion may become a cherished tradition in your family’s preparation for the Nativity.

Available now for pre-order, to ship about November 1st. Due to the demanding production requirements of fine brassware, supplies of this Legacy Icons exclusive are strictly limited this year.

Apr 12th 2024 Legacy Icons

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