After the central Feast of Pascha, or Easter, and the Sunday commemoration of the Resurrection, the Orthodox Church celebrates several feast days, including the Twelve Great Feasts recalling the saving events connected with Christ’s life. Most of these feasts were established as early as from the fourth to the sixth centuries. Starting from September 1st that marks the beginning of the Christian ecclesiastical year, just as the Jewish year, they include: the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8), the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14), the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (November 21), the Nativity of our Lord, or Christmas (December 25), the Baptism of our Lord known as Epiphany, or Theophany (January 6), the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple (February 2), the Annunciation (March 25), Palm Sunday (one week prior to Easter; a moveable feast, depending on the annual date of Easter), the Ascension of our Lord (forty days after Easter), Pentecost (fifty days after Easter), the Transfiguration of our Lord (August 6), and the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15).
In addition to these great feasts, the Orthodox Church commemorates numerous saintly lives and miraculous events throughout the year. In addition to the solemn commemoration of Saturdays and the festive celebration of Sundays, the Ecumenical Patriarchate also keeps certain of these holy days as administrative holidays. Major holidays at the Phanar include:
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