Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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The Church Year

The Episcopal Church observes the traditional Christian calendar. The season of Advent, during which we prepare for Christmas, is the four Sundays before Christmas. Christmas itself lasts twelve days, after which we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, which is always on January 6th.

Lent, the forty day (excluding Sundays) period of preparation for Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday. The Easter season lasts for fifty days, starting on Easter Day and concluding on the feast of Pentecost.

During Advent and Lent, the Bible readings are chosen for their appropriateness to the season. During the rest of the year - the season after Epiphany and the long season after Pentecost - the New Testament is read sequentially from Sunday to Sunday, except for a few special Sundays which have their own readings. The Old Testament lesson corresponds in theme with one of the New Testament readings.


Key dates in the Christian calendar:

  • Ash Wednesday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Day
  • Ascension Day
  • Pentecost
  • Advent I