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754, a date first suggested two centuries later; in no year between 751 and 754 could 25 December fall on a Friday; tradition is constant in placing Christ's birth on Wednesday. But are not the two entries in the "Depositio Martyrum" also such? Thomas, Summa Theologica III:83:2) to the triple "birth" of Christ: in Eternity, in Time, and in the Soul. The three stations are thus accounted for, for by 1143 (cf. iv)], but the practice of giving dramatic, or at least spectacular, expression to the incidents of the Nativity early gave rise to more or less liturgical mysteries. Apart from this, these entries in a consul list are manifest interpolations. Vel quod dicant Solis esse natalem, ipse est Sol iustitiæ." — "But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December . The fixing of this date fixed those too of Circumcision and Presentation; of Expectation and, perhaps, Annunciation B. M.; and of Nativity and Conception of the Baptist (cf. Though Rome gives three Masses to the Nativity only, Ildefonsus, a Spanish bishop, in 845, alludes to a triple mass on Nativity, Easter, Whitsun, and Transfiguration (P. These Masses, at midnight, dawn, and , were mystically connected with aboriginal, Judaic, and Christian dispensations, or (as by St. The second Mass was celebrated by the pope in the "chapel royal" of the Byzantine Court officials on the Palatine, i.e. Anastasia's church, originally called, like the basilica at Constantinople, Anastasis, and like it built at first to reproduce the Jerusalem Anastasis basilica and like it, finally, in abandoning the name "Anastasis" for that of the martyr St. The second Mass would therefore be a papal compliment to the imperial church on its patronal feast. The day became a favourite for court ceremonies, and on it, e.g., William of Normandy was crowned at Westminster. The data are well set out by Bonaccorsi (Il Natale, Rome, 1903, ch.
The December feast therefore reached Egypt between 427 and 433. G., CXLVII, 440; Isaac, Catholicos of Armenia in eleventh or twelfth century, "Adv. G., CXXII, 1193; Neale, "Holy Eastern Church", Introd., p. 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. In 385, Silvia of Bordeaux (or Etheria, as it seems clear she should be called) was profoundly impressed by the splendid Childhood feasts at Jerusalem. This checks the so-called correspondence between Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386) and Pope Julius I (337-352), quoted by John of Nikiû (c. (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. 425-458), adding that Gregory Nazianzen at Constantinople was being criticized for "halving" the festival. G., LXXXV, 469), thinks that Juvenal tried at least to introduce this feast, but that Cyril's greater name attracted that event to his own period. Philogonius, Chrysostom preached an important sermon. The year was almost certainly 386, though Clinton gives 387, and Usener, by a long rearrangement of the saint's sermons, 388 (Religionsgeschichtl. It was no novelty; from Thrace to Cadiz this feast was observed rightly, since its miraculously rapid diffusion proved its genuineness. According, however, to John of Nikiû, Honorius, when he was present on a visit, arranged with Arcadius for the observation of the feast on the Roman date. In the list of consuls are four anomalous ecclesiastical entries: the birth and death days of Christ, the entry into Rome, and martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. At Rome, then, the Nativity was celebrated on 25 December before 354; in the East, at Constantinople, not before 379, unless with Erbes, and against Gregory, we recognize it there in 330. Nat., in Civiltæ Cattolica, 1907), following Erbes, argues that Rome took over the Eastern Epiphany, now with a definite Nativity colouring, and, with as increasing number of Eastern Churches, placed it on 25 December; later, both East and West divided their feast, leaving Ephiphany on 6 January, and Nativity on 25 December, respectively, and placing Christmas on 25 December and Epiphany on 6 January. Concerning the date of Christ's birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. 70; late rabbinical tradition says that class 1, Jojarib, was then serving. 749, and that never in seventy turbulent years the weekly succession failed, it is calculated that the eighth class was serving 2-9 October, A. Zacharias sqq.; combining, too, the fact of Christ's death in Nisan with Daniel's prophecy of a three and one-half years' ministry (), he puts the birth in Tisri, i.e. As undesirable is it to connect 25 December with the Eastern (December) feast of Dedication (Jos. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont's epoch-making "Textes et Monuments" etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. Filippo del Torre in 1700 first saw its importance; it is marked, as has been said, without addition in Philocalus' Calendar. The earliest of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cyprian, "De pasch. nasceretur Christus." — "O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . The ) of the Roman 1 January (bitterly condemned by Tertullian, de Idol., xiv and x, and by Maximus of Turin, Hom. The calend fires were a scandal even to Rome, and St.
In Cyprus, at the end of the fourth century, Epiphanius asserts against the Alogi (Hær., li, 16, 24 in P. They had a definitely "Nativity" colouring; the bishop proceeded nightly to Bethlehem, returning to Jerusalem for the day celebrations. But this calculation starts from 6 January, and the feast lasted during the octave of that date. But Julius died in 352, and by 385 Cyril had made no change; indeed, Jerome, writing about 411 (in Ezech., P. Besides, Zachary, who, as high-priest, entered the Temple on the Day of Atonement, received therefore announcement of John's conception in September; six months later Christ was conceived, i.e. Finally, though never at Rome, on authority he knows that the census papers of the Holy Family are still there. Kellner puts this visit in 395; Baumstark (Oriens Chr., 1902, 441-446), between 398 and 402. More important, but scarcely better accredited, is Erbes' contention (Zeitschrift f. 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 census would have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion. The twenty-four classes of Jewish priests, it is urged, served each a week in the Temple; Zachary was in the eighth class, Abia. From these untrustworthy data, assuming that Christ was born A. 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. Comp.", xix, "O quam præclare providentia ut illo die quo natus est Sol . Boniface obtained from Pope Zachary their abolition. Besides, it became connected with other usages; in England, a tenant had the right to feed at his lord's expense as long as a wheel, i.e. Gervase of Tilbury (thirteen century) says that in England grain is exposed on Christmas night to gain fertility from the dew which falls in response to "Rorate Cæli"; the tradition that trees and flowers blossomed on this night is first quoted from an Arab geographer of the tenth century, and extended to England.
L., IV, 963 sqq.), which places Christ's birth on 28 March, because on that day the material sun was created. Dindorf, 1860, II, 483) quotes an extraordinary semi-Gnostic ceremony at Alexandria in which, on the night of 5-6 January, a cross-stamped Korê was carried in procession round a crypt, to the chant, "Today at this hour Korê gave birth to the Eternal"; John Cassian records in his "Collations" (X, 2 in P. 101) she mentions as high festivals Easter and Epiphany alone. In the West, he says, the feast was thus kept, ; its introduction into Antioch he had always sought, conservatives always resisted. Though the sermon abounds in references appropriate to the Epiphany (the marriage at Cana, the multiplication of loaves, etc.), these seem due (Kellner, op. 109) to sequence of thought, and do not fix the sermon to 6 January, a feast unknown in Rome till much later. 272) that Liberius preached it on that day in 353, instituting the Nativity feast in the December of the same year; but Philocalus warrants our supposing that if preceded his pontificate by some time, though Duchesne's relegation of it to 243 (Bull. L., XXXIII, 200) omits it from a list of first-class festivals. 106, 107) shows how hopeless is the calculation of Zachary's week from any point before or after it. 1588), says: "Sed et dominus noster nascitur mense decembris . Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.
L., V, 1264) can still ridicule the "birthdays" of the gods. With Clement's evidence may be mentioned the "De paschæ computus", written in 243 and falsely ascribed to Cyprian (P. Codex Bezæ) wrongly give the Divine words as in Nicæan times; Epiphanius (Hær., li, ed. In view of a reaction to certain Jewish rites and feasts, Chrysostom tries to unite Antioch in celebrating Christ's birth on 25 December, part of the community having already kept it on that day for at least ten years. If Marcellina became a nun only after the canonical age of twenty-five, and if Ambrose was born only in 340, it is perhaps likelier that the event occurred after 357. In the West the Council of Saragossa (380) still ignores 25 December (see can. Ammianus Marcellinus (XXI, ii) and Zonaras (Ann., XIII, 11) date a visit of Julian the Apostate to a church at Vienne in Gaul on Epiphany and Nativity respectively. By the time of Jerome and Augustine, the December feast is established, though the latter (Epp., II, liv, 12, in P. These essentially popular airs, and even words, must, however, have existed long before they were put down in writing.
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