Today, September 1st (Julian calendar), the Orthodox Church has officially recognized as the beginning of the new year since the First Ecumenical Council in the 4th century.
Happy New Year!
The Beginning of the Church's Year - from holytrinityorthodox.com
On this day, when the Jews celebrated the new summer, the Savior, came to
Nazareth where He was brought up and entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day
as was His custom, and read these words of the Prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the
Lord is upon me because he has anointed Me ... to proclaim the acceptable year of
the Lord" (Luke 4, 18:19). On the first of September 312 the Emperor Constantine
the Great won a victory over Maxentius. After this Christians were granted
complete freedom to confess their faith. In commemoration of these two events the
fathers of the First Ecumenical Council decided to begin the New Year on the first
of September (See January 1, March 1 and the Paschalia). In its hymns for this day
the Holy Church prays "Creator and Fashioner of all things visible and invisible"
"bless the crown of the year", "grant fruitful seasons and rains from heaven for
those on earth", "bless our comings and goings, direct the works of our hands and
grant us forgiveness of offences", "grant peace to Thy churches", "overthrow
heresies", "protect our cities unbesieged, make glad our faithful Sovereigns by Thy
power, giving them victories against enemies".
The Beginning of the Church Year, or the Beginning of the Indiction - from the Prologue
The First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325] decreed that the
Church year should begin on September 1. The month of September was, for
the Hebrews, the beginning of the civil year (Exodus 23:16), the month
of gathering the harvest and of the offering of thanks to God. It was on
this feast that the Lord Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke
4:16-21), opened the book of the Prophet Isaiah and read the words: The
Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to
preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the
brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of
the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of
the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn
(Isaiah 61:1-2). The month of September is also important in the
history of Christianity, because Emperor Constantine the Great was
victorious over Maxentius, the enemy of the Christian Faith, in
September. Following this victory, Constantine granted freedom of
confession to the Christian Faith throughout the Roman Empire. For a
long time, the civil year in the Christian world followed the Church
year, with its beginning on September 1. The civil year was later
changed, and its beginning transferred to January 1. This occurred first
in Western Europe, and later in Russia, under Peter the Great.
HOMILY - on the Word, the Son of God - also from the Prologue
In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1).
The Logos-the rational, intelligent Word-existed in the beginning.
This pertains to the Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. Brethren,
by saying, In the beginning, do we think that the Word of God has
a beginning? Or that there was a certain date in time when the Son of
God was born of God the Father? In no way! For the birth of the Son of
God can have neither a date nor a beginning, since time is a condition
of this transient world, and it does not affect the eternal God, and
therefore does not affect anything at all that is of God. Can the sun
remain the sun, if the sunlight is separated from it? Will a man remain a
man, if his mind is taken away? Would honey still be honey, if its
sweetness is separated from it? It cannot. Even less can one conceive of
God as separate from His Logos, from His rational Word, from His
Intelligence, from His Wisdom-the eternal Father separate from His
No, brethren, the words are not about the beginning of the Son of God
from God the Father, but rather about the beginning of the history of
the created world and the salvation of mankind. This beginning is in the
Word of God, in the Son of God. He began both the creation of the world
and the salvation of the world. Whoever would speak of the creation of
the visible or invisible worlds, or of the salvation of mankind, must
begin with the Beginning. And that Beginning is the Word of God, the
Wisdom of God, the Son of God. For example, if someone were telling a
story about boating on a lake, he might begin it like this: ``In the
beginning there was a lake, and on it sailed a white boat….'' No
reasonable person would interpret the words, ``In the beginning there
was a lake…'' to mean that the lake came into existence on the same day
that the boat sailed on it. Thus, no rational man could take the words
of the Evangelist, In the beginning was the Word…, as though the
Word of God came forth from God at the same moment that the world was
created! Just as the lake existed for thousands of years before the boat
sailed on it, so the Word of God existed for a whole eternity before
the beginning of creation.
O Son of God, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, enlighten us and save us.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.