World Book Night, 2020

The idea of World Book Night was conceived by Jamie Byng, MD of Canongate, back in 2011, after discussing it a year before with those present at Book Industry Conference. It created another way for adults to read more and, since then, the holiday has become an international success.

However, because World Book Day existed for children, World Book Night became a day for adults to read more books. In order to coincide with UNESCO’s International Day of the Book, in 2012, the holiday moved from March to April. In 2012 and 2013, the holiday was celebrated in the United States. Over 50,000 people gave books to others on this day.

In late 2013, World Book Night then became part of the Reading Agency, an organization focused on promoting the benefits of reading books. Each year, books are given to people in hospitals, prisons, libraries, colleges, homeless shelters, and their communities.

World Book Night 2020 will be going digital, and the plans have been modified due to Covid-19. According to the official World Book Night website, people are encouraged to share in the pleasure of enjoying a book – in print, in or in audio. Those who want to partake in the celebration are invited to join in the Reading Hour, take time out to read alone or with others, and share a book with family, friends or colleagues, by giving recommendations, encouraging someone to join the library or gifting a book. Find out more about how the plans have been adapted by visiting the website.

Christ is risen, 2020!

Orthodox Easter in 2020 is on Sunday, April 19. In Orthodoxy, this day is called Pascha.

While Pascha and the western Easter are both calculated using the same formula, the end dates often differ because they have different starting points. Orthodox Churches still use the Julian calendar as the starting point for the Pascha calculation.

While the majority of Orthodox Churches adopted the modern Gregorian calendar, some retained the Julian. To maintain unity within the entire church, all Orthodox celebrate the feast of feasts on the same day throughout the world.

The old Julian solar calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian’s at the moment and its lunar calendar is four to five days behind, causing the date for Pascha to often fall on a different date to that of Easter.

While Pascha normally falls either one or five weeks later than Easter, on occasion they can be four weeks apart and on some years the dates of Pascha and Easter coincide. The dates coincided most recently in 2017 and the next coincidence will be in 2025.

Pascha is the most joyous celebration of the entire year, as the community gathers together to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Except that, this year, in many Orthodox countries, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, people are prohibited from attending the liturgies and from gathering together in large numbers in any public places. Nevertheless, we can gather together in spirit and be united in prayer from our homes.

Happy Easter! Blessed Pascha! Christ in risen!

https://www.thegoodshepherd.org.au/date-orthodox-easter-2020
https://akroasis.org/2020/04/12/pascha-2020/
https://www.oca.org/reflections/misc-authors/the-pascha-no-one-wants

Orthodox Pascha, 2020

The Lord’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Orthodox Palm Sunday), 2020

Palm Sunday, also called the Triumphal Entry, is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on the Sunday before Pascha. This year it falls on April 12. Palm Sunday is the day when the Orthodox Church celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before the Jewish Passover. A mere few days before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ was received by adoring throngs at his entry into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey.

Orthodox Palm Sunday, 2020

The believers meet him, and spread out before him his clothes and olive branches. When He and His disciples approached the city Jerusalem, He ordered them to go to the near-by village, and bring him the donkey and his little who were tied-up in the beginning of the village. If they were asked, they should say that the Lord needs it. When the people knew that the donkey was for Jesus, they did not prevent his disciples. They gave Him the donkey, and He solemnly entered Jerusalem. The news of the resurrection of Lazarus already got ahead and thousands of people went to Bethany to meet him.

You can find the event told in the four Gospels:

I invite you to read more about it on these websites:
https://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/LG/jerusalem.shtml
https://www.oca.org/fs/sermons/the-lords-entry-into-jerusalem
https://www.goarch.org/-/stewardship-the-entry-of-christ-into-jerusalem
https://pravoslavie.ru/69881.html

The Sunday of Saint Mary Of Egypt

Born probably about 344 A.D. revered as the patron saint of penitents, most particularly in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and Oriental Orthodox Churches, St. Mary Of Egypt was a desert ascetic who repented of a life of prostitution and passed away in a remarkable manner in 421 A.D. The primary source of information on Saint Mary of Egypt is the Vita written of her by St. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (634–638).

The date of the saint is somewhat uncertain. The Bollandists place her death on 1 April, 421, while many other authorities put it a century later. The Greek Church celebrates her feast on 1 April, while the Roman Martyrology assigns it to 2 April, and the RomanCalendar to 3 April. The Greek date is more likely to be correct; the others may be due to the fact that on those days portions of her relics reached the West. Relics of the saint are venerated at Rome, Naples, Cremona, Antwerp, and some other places. In The Orthodox Church, she is also commemorated on the fifth Sunday in Great Lent due to her recognition by the Church as a model of repentance.

I will paraphrase a brief story of her life, as told by CatholicNewsAgency.com:

When she was 12 years old, she moved from Egypt to the city of Alexandria and worked as a prostitute for 17 years. She joined a large group that was making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the feast of The Exaltation of The Holy Cross. With the intention of luring others into sexual sin, she followed the crowd as it was headed to the Church in order to venerate the relic of The True Cross. When she got near the door of the church, a mysterious force prevented her from entering, pushing her back whenever she approached. After trying to enter several times, Mary moved to a corner of the churchyard and was filled with a sense of remorse for her sins. As she was crying, she saw a statue of The Virgin Mary and she prayed to The Holy Mother for the permission to enter the church for the purpose of venerating the relic. She promised the Virgin Mother, she would renounce the world and its ways. Mary of Egypt was then able to enter the church, as the mysterious force no longer held her back. After she venerated the relic, she returned to the statue outside and prayed for guidance. She heard a voice telling her to cross the Jordan river and then she would find rest. She did as told and arrived at the Jordan, where she received communion at a church dedicated to St. John The Baptist. The next day she crossed the river and lived in the desert alone for 47 years. Then, while making his Lenten retreat, a priest named Zosimus found her. She asked him to return to the banks of the Jordan on Holy Thursday of the following year and to bring her Communion. The priest was true to his word and returned bearing the Eucharist. Mary told him to come back again the next year, but to the place where he had originally met her. When Zosimus returned in a year’s time, he found Mary’s corpse. On the ground beside it was a written request that she be buried accompanied by a statement that she had died the previous year, in 421 A.D., on the very night she had received Holy Communion.

Read more about Saint Mary Of Egypt by following these links:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09763a.htm
https://orthodoxwiki.org/Mary_of_Egypt
https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2018/04/01/100963-venerable-mary-of-egypt
http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/synexarion/maryofegypt.htm

The Life of Saint Mary of Egypt by Saint Sophronius.
Week 6 of Lent – Mary of Egypt – Coffee with Sister Vanessa

International Carrot Day, 2020

Observed every year on the 4th of April, the International Carrot Day is a day when carrot lovers all over the world celebrate and enjoy this healthy and delicious vegetable.

The carrot is a orange-colored root vegetable that (according to historians) originated from Persia, wherein its leaves and seeds were the ones cultivated first. Containing alpha and beta carotene, vitamin B6, and vitamin K, among others, the carrot presents a lot of health benefits for humans.

Because of people’s love for this vegetable, a special day is dedicated just for it – the International Carrot Day. Established by an unknown creator in 2003, when the website http://www.carrotday.com was created, the International Carrot Day is aimed to spread awareness about carrots.

There are so many ways on how people celebrate this amazing day dedicated to an amazing vegetable. Some ideas for celebrating this day include the following: buying and eating carrots and carrot-based dishes, planting carrots, and sharing the word on social media.

Happy International Carrot Day, 2020!