Last Sunday, we heard in the Gospel reading and in the homily afterwards on the subject of spiritual blindness. The theme of blindness occurs constantly throughout the Holy Scriptures, both in the Old and the New Testament, and also throughout the writings of the Holy Fathers and especially in the hymnography of the Church. It is one of the most central metaphors for the relationship between fallen humanity and the Lord God, in large part because it demonstrates with particular clarity and potency the existential condition in which we have found ourselves after our fall into sin. We are not simply diseased, injured, weak or unwell; nor is it simply a question of our many and grievous transgressions, which cause us to stand condemned before the Dread Judgment Seat. Although both of these aspects, both of these metaphors of our condition are true and important, there is something deeper to the matter which the imagery of blindness can reveal to us.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Indiction, which is the first day of the new church year. It is an ancient tradition to mark the beginning of the New Year on September 1st. This practice was observed in the Byzantine Empire until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and in Russia until the reign of Peter the 1st.