Section 16 of St. Gregory the Theoogians Oration 38 is evidence that as early as A.D. 380, the church in Constantinople was celebrating Christmas and Epiphany as we do today — on December 25 and January 6. This is why he tells us that we will “shortly” see Jesus in the Jordan.
St. Gregory then goes on to tell in great detail of all of the things that Christ did in His ministry. He finishes this list with a very intriguing statement: “How many celebrations there are for me corresponding to each of the mysteries of Christ!” He is referring here to the whole calendar of the Church. We have feasts for all of the major events in Christ’s life from His conception, to His circumcision, to His presentation at the temple, to His baptism, to His crucifixion and, of course, His resurrection. While we do grossly neglect most of these feasts, St. Gregory also mentions events that do not have specific feasts such as His temptation in the desert, the healing of the sick or the driving out of demons. Despite the lack of feasts, these events are all celebrated throughout the year — a fact we would be aware of if we happened to attend liturgy on days other than Sunday.
The Divine Liturgy is not only for Sunday, even though Sunday is the day par excellence to celebrate because it is the day of resurrection and the 8th day, the day that has no end. If one visits an Orthodox monastery on Mt. Athos, they will find that a Divine Liturgy is served every day. It is during these liturgies that we hear the stories from the Gospel about the healing of the sick, the driving out of the demons and all of these other aspects of Christ’s ministry. It is also when we celebrate these events.
Thus, when St. Gregory says, “How many celebrations there are for me corresponding to each of the mysteries of Christ!” he is referring to the fact that it is proper and right for us to have a celebration and a liturgy every day.
However, the most important thing St. Gregory says in Section 16 is the last thing he says, “they all have one completion, my perfection and refashioning and restoration to the state of the first Adam.” Everything that Christ and His Church do have one singular purpose: our perfection, our return to the communion with God that Adam had prior to the Fall, a shedding of everything the Fall means.
This begs the question: Why aren’t we celebrating this awesome mystery as much as is humanly possible?