April is the eighth month of the liturgical year in the Byzantine Rite. This article covers the most important liturgical aspects of the month of April. See the online menaion and the Lectionary for the hymns and readings of each day.

Like March, a month of fasting, a month of feasting

As we saw in the discussion of the month of March, the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord (Pascha) falls between March 22 and April 15.

Regardless of when Pascha occurs, the liturgical hymns for April and May come mostly from the Lenten and Paschal liturgical books, the Triodion and Pentecostarion; each Sunday, for example, has its own special hymns. After Bright Week and Thomas Sunday, the saints of the day are commemorated at the weekday Divine Liturgy, or at Compline.

Saints' feast days in April

There is one vigil rank feast (Vigil feast) in April, namely the feast of the Saint George on April 23. This is the same Saint George who in later legends fought with a dragon, but he was actually a famous Christian martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine in 303 AD. (You may recall that Lydda is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, in the story of the raising of Tabitha by Saint Peter.)

His full title is "the holy great-martyr George the wonder-worker"; great-martyr indicates that he is a martyr particularly famous for his patient suffering for the sake of Christ, while wonder-worker denotes those saints who are famous for miracles (especially miracles of healing) associated with them, usually after their deaths and often in connection with their tombs or churches dedicated to them. April 23 is the primary feast-day of the holy great-martyr George; there are also two feasts for churches named after him, in Palestine (on November 3) and in Kiev (on November 26).

If this feast falls on or before Pascha, it is moved to Bright Monday, so there will always be a Divine Liturgy on this day. The hymns for the feast can be found in the Divine Liturgies book on pages 332-334 (they are not included in the CD recordings of the Divine Liturgy book). These hymns will be combined with those of Bright Week or the appropriate week of the Paschal season.

There are three polyeleos feasts (Polyeleos feast) in the month of April:

Like the feast of the passing of his brother Saint Cyril on February 14, the feast of the passing of Saint Methodius was added to the calendar more recently, and is not always celebrated. When it is celebrated, it is sometimes eclipsed by Holy Week or the days of Pascha; if it falls during the Great Fast, he may be commemorated at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on the evening of his feast,

The feasts of Saint Mark and Saint James, however, will always fall during the Paschal season, and as for Saint George, the Dvine Liturgy can always be celebrated. The Divine Liturgy hymns for these feasts can be found in the April volume of the MCI Monthly Menaion.

It may be worth noting here that there are three apostolic saints named James:

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