On Friday the 22nd of December, St George’s Antiochian Cathedral in Melbourne celebrated the Paramon of Royal Hours of the Nativity of our Lord with a Vespers Service. We were truly blessed to be joined by Rev. Father Isaac Wehbe, Rev. Father Jean Mawal, Rev. Father George Mattar, Rev. Father George Khoury, Rev. Father Stephan Abouassali, Deacon Ignatius Hanna and parishioners from all across Melbourne.

The Royal Hours, also called the Great Hours, are a solemn liturgical service of the Byzantine Churches.  As the Good Friday liturgy of Jerusalem spread throughout the Byzantine world, a similar selection of psalms, hymns, and readings were also developed for the feasts of Christmas and Theophany. Today, the Royal Hours are celebrated each year on these three days: the Eve of the Nativity, the Eve of Theophany, and Great and Holy Friday.

Apolytikion

“O Bethlehem, prepare, Eden is opened unto all.

And be ready, Ephrata, for the Tree of life has in the grotto blossomed forth from the Virgin.

Indeed her womb is shown to be spiritually a Paradise, in which is found the God-planted Tree.

And if we eat from it we shall live, and shall not die, as did Adam of old.

Christ is born, so that He might raise up the formerly fallen image.”