The subtitle in the Book of Common Prayer of this, one of the principal feasts of the Church, is ‘The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles’. This emphasises that, from the moment of the Incarnation, the good news of Jesus Christ is for all: Jew and Gentile, the wise and the simple, male and female. Nothing in the Greek text of the gospels indicates that the Magi were all male and even the number three and making them Kings is a much later, non-scriptural tradition. The date chosen to celebrate this feast goes back to the placing of the feast of the Nativity of Christ in the winter solstice: the north European pre-Christian tradition of celebrating the birth of Sun on 25 December differed from the Mediterranean and eastern tradition of having 6 January as the Solstice. As often happens, the two dates merged into a beginning and an end of the same celebration. The western church adopted ‘the twelve days of Christmas’ climaxing on the eve of Epiphany, or ‘Twelfth Night’. The implication by the fifth century was that this was the night on which the Magi arrived. The complications of dating became even more confused with the changing in the West from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar, the eastern church refusing to play any part in such a radical change. So this day remains the chief day of celebrating the Incarnation in Orthodox Churches.
Hagiography from Exciting Holiness by Brother Tristam SSF
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Hagiography from Exciting Holiness Copyright © European Province of the Society of Saint Francis 2007.
ISBN – 9781853118067
Collects and Post Communion Prayers from the book New Calendar and the Collects.
Copyright © The Representative Body of the Church in Wales 2003
ISBN – 1853115495
Pointed Psalms from the book Daily Prayer.
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ISBN – 9781853119347
Quotations and Psalms from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
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