Dating fast catholic

The term Yule is of disputed origin. It is unconnected with any word meaning "wheel". The name in Anglo-Saxon was geol, feast: Icelandic iol a feast in December. Early celebration Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts ; Origen , glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts in Lev. Alexandria The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. But Lupi has shown Zaccaria, Dissertazioni ecc.

Lupi, Faenza , , p. Clement , however, also tells us that the Basilidians celebrated the Epiphany , and with it, probably, the Nativity, on 15 or 11 Tybi 10 or 6 January. The December feast therefore reached Egypt between and Ephraem Syrus whose hymns belong to Epiphany , not to Christmas proves that Mesopotamia still put the birth feast thirteen days after the winter solstice; i.

Armenos", I, xii, 5 in P. Basil who died before 1 January, and the two following, preached on St. Also, Asterius of Amaseia fifth century and Amphilochius of Iconium contemporary of Basil and Gregory show that in their dioceses both the feasts of Epiphany and Nativity were separate P.

Jerusalem In , Silvia of Bordeaux or Etheria, as it seems clear she should be called was profoundly impressed by the splendid Childhood feasts at Jerusalem. They had a definitely "Nativity" colouring; the bishop proceeded nightly to Bethlehem , returning to Jerusalem for the day celebrations.

The Presentation was celebrated forty days after. But this calculation starts from 6 January, and the feast lasted during the octave of that date. In , therefore, 25 December was not observed at Jerusalem. Cyril declares that his clergy cannot, on the single feast of Birth and Baptism, make a double procession to Bethlehem and Jordan. This later practice is here an anachronism.

He asks Julius to assign the true date of the nativity "from census documents brought by Titus to Rome "; Julius assigns 25 December. Another document Cotelier, Patr. But Julius died in , and by Cyril had made no change; indeed, Jerome , writing about in Ezech. Cosmas Indicopleustes suggests P.

The commemoration, however, of David and James the Apostle on 25 December at Jerusalem accounts for the deferred feast. Usener, arguing from the "Laudatio S. Stephani" of Basil of Seleucia c. Antioch In Antioch, on the feast of St. Philogonius, Chrysostom preached an important sermon.

But between February, , when Flavian ordained Chrysostom priest , and December is ample time for the preaching of all the sermons under discussion. See Kellner, Heortologie, Freiburg, , p. In the West, he says, the feast was thus kept, anothen; its introduction into Antioch he had always sought, conservatives always resisted. This time he was successful; in a crowded church he defended the new custom. Finally, though never at Rome , on authority he knows that the census papers of the Holy Family are still there.

Julius, in the Cyriline forgeries, is said to have calculated the date from Josephus , on the same unwarranted assumptions about Zachary as did Chrysostom.

Constantinople In or Gregory Nazianzen made himself exarchos of the new feast, i. His three Homilies see Hom. On his exile in , the feast disappeared. Kellner puts this visit in ; Baumstark Oriens Chr. Strzygowski, Kalenderbilder des Chron. In the civil calendar 25 December is marked "Natalis Invicti". In the list of consuls are four anomalous ecclesiastical entries: The significant entry is "Chr. The details clash with tradition and possibility. Apart from this, these entries in a consul list are manifest interpolations.

But are not the two entries in the "Depositio Martyrum" also such? The civil calendar alone was not added to, as it was useless after the abandonment of pagan festivals. So, even if the "Depositio Martyrum" dates, as is probable, from , it is not clear that the calendar contains evidence earlier than Philocalus himself, i. Were the Chalki manuscript of Hippolytus genuine, evidence for the December feast would exist as early as c. The relevant passage [which exists in the Chigi manuscript Without the bracketed words and is always so quoted before George Syncellus c.

He gar prote parousia tou kyriou hemon he ensarkos [en he gegennetai] en Bethleem, egeneto [pro okto kalandon ianouarion hemera tetradi] Basileuontos Augoustou [tessarakoston kai deuteron etos, apo de Adam] pentakischiliosto kai pentakosiosto etei epathen de triakosto trito [pro okto kalandon aprilion, hemera paraskeun, oktokaidekato etei Tiberiou Kaisaros, hypateuontos Hrouphou kai Hroubellionos.

The names of the consuls [which should be Fufius and Rubellius] are wrong; Christ lives thirty-three years; in the genuine Hippolytus , thirty-one; minute data are irrelevant in this discussion with Severian millenniarists ; it is incredible that Hippolytus should have known these details when his contemporaries Clement , Tertullian , etc.

This pope reigned from May, until , except during his years of exile, If Marcellina became a nun only after the canonical age of twenty-five, and if Ambrose was born only in , it is perhaps likelier that the event occurred after Though the sermon abounds in references appropriate to the Epiphany the marriage at Cana, the multiplication of loaves, etc.

Usener, indeed, argues p. In the West the Council of Saragossa still ignores 25 December see can. Pope Siricius , writing in P. Unless there were two visits, Vienne in A. By the time of Jerome and Augustine , the December feast is established, though the latter Epp.

From the fourth century every Western calendar assigns it to 25 December. At Rome , then, the Nativity was celebrated on 25 December before ; in the East, at Constantinople, not before , unless with Erbes, and against Gregory , we recognize it there in Hence, almost universally has it been concluded that the new date reached the East from Rome by way of the Bosphorus during the great anti-Arian revival, and by means of the orthodox champions.

The earlier hypothesis still seems preferable. The census would have been impossible in winter: Again, in winter it must have been; then only field labour was suspended.

But Rome was not thus considerate. Authorities moreover differ as to whether shepherds could or would keep flocks exposed during the nights of the rainy season.

The twenty-four classes of Jewish priests , it is urged, served each a week in the Temple; Zachary was in the eighth class, Abia. The Temple was destroyed 9 Ab, A. From these untrustworthy data, assuming that Christ was born A. Analogy to Old Testament festivals It seems impossible, on analogy of the relation of Passover and Pentecost to Easter and Whitsuntide , to connect the Nativity with the feast of Tabernacles, as did, e.

Natalis Invicti The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date.

Mommsen Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 12, p. It would be impossible here even to outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God , the Messiah , and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works.

Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances; the texts are well arranged by Cumont op. The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cyprian, "De pasch. Christ should be born. Sed et Invicti Natalem appelant. Quis utique tam invictus nisi dominus noster? Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord. Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice. Pope Leo I Serm. Sun-worship has bequeathed features to modern popular worship in Armenia , where Christians had once temporarily and externally conformed to the cult of the material sun Cumont, op.

But even should a deliberate and legitimate "baptism" of a pagan feast be seen here no more than the transference of the date need be supposed. Other theories of pagan origin The origin of Christmas should not be sought in the Saturnalia December nor even in the midnight holy birth at Eleusis see J.

The reckoning, moreover, is wholly in keeping with the arguments based on number and astronomy and "convenience", then so popular. Conclusion The present writer in inclined to think that, be the origin of the feast in East or West, and though the abundance of analogous midwinter festivals may indefinitely have helped the choice of the December date, the same instinct which set Natalis Invicti at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christian feast there too.

Liturgy and custom The calendar The fixing of this date fixed those too of Circumcision and Presentation ; of Expectation and, perhaps, Annunciation B. Till the tenth century Christmas counted, in papal reckoning, as the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, as it still does in Bulls ; Boniface VIII restored temporarily this usage, to which Germany held longest.

Popular merry-making Codex Theod. XV, 5,5 forbids, in , circus games on 25 December; though not till Codex Just. The Second Council of Tours can. Popular merry-making, however, so increased that the "Laws of King Cnut", fabricated c. The three Masses The Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries give three Masses to this feast, and these, with a special and sublime martyrology , and dispensation , if necessary , from abstinence, still mark our usage.

These Masses, at midnight, dawn, and in die, were mystically connected with aboriginal, Judaic, and Christian dispensations , or as by St. The Gloria was at first sung only in the first Mass of this day.


Ecclesiastical history preserves the memory of three distinct phases of the dispute regarding the proper time of observing Easter. It will add to clearness if we in the first place state what is certain regarding the date and the nature of these three categories. The bibliography of this subject is. Why do some refer to Easter as Easter and others use Lent or Pentecost and what is the significance of each? In the Catholic Church, the year is divided into liturgical seasons based on significant events in the life and earthly ministry of Jesus Christ as well as the great Mysteries of our Faith.

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