By Father Giuseppe Caruso for Manifest Magazine.
While Christmas is a holiday familiar to every westerner, the Epiphany, though also a Christian holiday, is less so.
Father Giuseppe Caruso of the “Ordine di San Agostino” reveals the origins of this equally important day for Christianity. (OSA). e insegno patrologia a Roma. all?Augustinianum.
On January 6 the Church of the East and West come together (notwithstanding their diverging calendars) to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, also known as Theophany.
Fanein is a greek verb which means “to appear” or “to become visible”. Therefore the festival celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the world (hence the term Epiphany), because he appears as God. The use of the second term, Theophany, is manifestation of God (theo in Greek).
Christmas on the other hand, dates back to Roman times. It is the Christianization of the holiday period then known as “Natalis solis invicti” (Birth of the undefeated sun). As in many pagan traditions “Natalis solis invicti” marked the winter solstice.
We know that in AD 274, Emperor Aureliano had been a big proponent of the holiday. Decades later in AD 336, Christians celebrated on that day the birth of who they thought was the true sun of justice, Christ the Lord.
Meanwhile the Epiphany appeared in Alexandria, Egypt where pagans celebrated the feast of the god of time Eon, on 5 and 6 January.
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