Since I was looking for something else and stumbled upon this, Thread resurrection!
A slight resurrection & tweak on the subject
So the vespers part is for the next day (the hymns, etc) but the LITURGY is for THAT day.
1. How so we merge the Jewish with the roman calendar here? I mean...how does that happen/work?
2. When you say the dismissal for liturgy which saints do you celebrate? You would think the day of, b/c that is what you are ending, but 1 hour prior you did vespers for the NEXT DAY!
Anyone else see the confusion!?
The Vespers and Liturgy are for the Feast being celebrated so everything is for the next day so to speak.
1. My understanding is that they are 2 different liturgies on 2 different days. No Christmas Eve liturgy is for the 24th & Christmas Day liturgy is for 25th
2. If they are BOTH for the same day, how did that happen? Out of economy? Because you can't have 2 liturgies on the same day unless you have 2 altars & 2 priests
Can't be. Christmas Eve is a Fast day. Any way you slice it on Christmas, Theophany, and Pascha two Liturgies are served on the same Liturgical day on one altar by one priest less than 24 hours apart. These three Feasts supercede the rule.
Do you know how that happened? I really thought that they are their own liturgies, just like on Holy Saturday
I don't. The exception that proves the rule? But even Holy Saturday isn't its own liturgy. What is happening on Pascha is we celebrate the old Cathedral Rite Paschal Liturgy on Holy Saturday and the normal Sabbaite Paschal Liturgy on Pascha Sunday. We perceive the Vesperal Liturgy to be non-Paschal because it lacks features we associate with Pascha like "Christ is Risen" but this tropar was simply not part of the Cathedral Rite in Hagia Sophia.
I have a theory on why there are two Liturgies for the one feast of Nativity in the Byzantine rite (it may also apply to the Armenian tradition, but I can't say). It's not official, but it is based on some loose ends I picked up along the way in my reading and by comparison with the Syriac tradition.
According to my reading, there was, in the Holy Land, a tradition where the Patriarch of Jerusalem, with his clergy and the faithful, would process from Jerusalem to Bethlehem in the evening and celebrate, after the appropriate evening service, a Liturgy at the Church of the Nativity. After this, they would return in procession to Jerusalem to celebrate, after the appropriate morning services, the Liturgy at the Church of the Resurrection. What gives it away, IMO, is the Gospel pericope read at each service: that of the evening service is focused on events at Bethlehem (e.g., the birth, the appearance of the angel to the shepherds) while that of the morning service focuses on events which took place at Jerusalem (e.g., the visit of the Magi with Herod "who came to Jerusalem" to inquire where the newborn king of the Jews could be found).
This pattern holds true in at least two rites with a hagiopolite* influence: Byzantine and Syriac. I'm not certain if Jerusalem had an evening service and Bethlehem a morning service independent of the Patriarch (two Liturgies in one day in each church), or if all the people basically shifted back and forth with the bishop (two Liturgies in one day, but only one per church), but the Byzantine rite has retained the two Liturgies for the one feast, and the readings line up to match my description above.
In the Syriac tradition (at least as practiced in India), we are pretty strict regarding the celebration of more than one Liturgy per day, so another practice has developed. The Midnight Office on Christmas includes, after its third watch, a procession to the Western end of the church. The theme of the hymns sung during the procession is the journey to Bethlehem. When the procession has reached its destination, the same Epistle and Gospel read at the Byzantine rite Vesperal Liturgy is read. In the middle of the Gospel (the Lucan account of the Nativity), when we hear about the appearance of the angel and the singing of their hymn, the celebrant lights a bonfire (appropriate for a night service celebrated at least partly outdoors). While he does this, the people sing "Glory to God in the highest, etc." thrice as it appears in the Gospel text, followed by the Great Doxology which begins with the same words (it is anticipated here, its usual place being toward the end of the Midnight Office). Usually, there is a procession around this fire (while the Doxology is sung), if not by all the people, then at least by the clergy. Then the Gospel reading is picked up again, concluded, and they process back into the church and towards the altar/bema, where the holy cross is elevated as on 14 September (we do this on a few feasts throughout the year). During the procession back into the church, the accompanying hymn has as its theme the return journey from Bethlehem and the proclamation of that which we have seen and witnessed there. After the Midnight Office is concluded, it is followed by Matins, the Hours, and the Liturgy, where the Gospel is, as expected, the same as in the Byzantine rite: the Matthean account of the arrival of the Magi in Jerusalem.
In summary, I think what's going on here is that two related liturgical rites are preserving remnants of an ancient hagiopolite practice, adapted to their own liturgical sensibilities. I don't know how much this holds true for the Armenians, but they have an evening and a morning Liturgy for Nativity (in at least one sense, two Liturgies for one day). Also, they have never separated this celebration from Epiphany as the rest of us have. Perhaps this helps make sense of why Epiphany also has an arrangement of services similar, if not identical, with Christmas (the Armenian rite is related to both the Byzantine and Syriac rites and also has considerable hagiopolite influence).
*of the holy city.