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Epiphany

Albrecht Altdorfer 006
Albrecht Altdorfer-Epiphany*

Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. It falls on January 6 or, in many countries, on the Sunday that falls between January 2 and January 8. Since the Julian Calendar, which is followed by some Eastern Churches, is at present 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar and the revised Julian Calendar, 6 January in that calendar corresponds at present to 19 January in what is the official civil calendar in most countries.

It could be referred to as the feast bridging the gap between the birth of Jesus and the coming weeks of Ordinal Time when we examine his three years life Mission in our World.

On this feast, Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians. In both traditions, the essence of the feast is the same: the manifestation of Christ to the world (whether as an infant or in the Jordan), and the Mystery of the Incarnation.

In Christian tradition, the Magi, also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men, (Three) Kings, or Kings from the East, are a group of distinguished foreigners who are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity and in celebrations of Christmas. Magi is a term derived from Greek meaning a priest of Zoroaster.

Ash Wednesday/Lent

US Navy 090225-N-4014G-008 Air Traffic Controller 2nd class Alejandro Nieves receives the Imposition of Ashes from Navy Chaplain Lt. Chris Stanfield during an Ash Wednesday Mass in the chapel aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwi
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 25, 2009) Air Traffic Controller 2nd class Alejandro Nieves receives the Imposition of Ashes from Navy Chaplain Lt. Chris Stanfield during an Ash Wednesday Mass in the chapel aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69

The date for Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar is determined by the date of the Jewish Passover. Passover starts on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. This varies by year since the Jewish year is a lunar year and thus differs from the Gregorian calendar. It always falls in the springtime, though (in the Northern Hemisphere)

Occurring 46 days before Easter, Ash Wednesday is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10. According to the canonical gospels of Matthew,[Matthew 4:1-11] Mark [Mark 1:12-13] and Luke [Luke 4:1-13]; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday. Although generally seen as a Catholic practice, as it was mostly abandoned by Protestants except for Anglicans after the Protestant Reformation, it has become increasingly common in much of Christianity, now being observed by many Lutherans and Methodists in addition to Catholics and Anglicans. 1

Lent proper

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter, it consists of 46 days, Ash Wednesday, see above, marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, of those 46 days, Sundays are not included, and are instead Feasts, Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.

Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday (called Clean Monday) and Ash Wednesday is not observed. The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, it is not difficult to see its derivation from the readings given in the Synoptic Gospels(above)the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21. 2

Also see Lent at Christ our hope

Christian Dreaming Go to Easter, Ascension and Pentecost

 

   Images *[Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Source: 1. Scott P. Richert, N.D.,What Determines the Date of Ash Wednesday? at about.comcatholicism, Accessed 7 December 2013,<web:http://catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/f/What-Determines-The-Date-Of-Ash-Wednesday.htm>

Source: 2. Mary Fairchild , N.D., What is Lent? The Christian Season of Lent, at about.comchristianity, Accessed 7 December 2013,<web:http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatislent.htm>
 
 

 

Bishop Peter,

Last updated 12/02/2018 web-servant Br Andrew Blair efo