29) leaves Him only twenty eight, and one-quarter years of life. the eight before the calends of January [25 December] . ., But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. 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. Popular merry-making, however, so increased that the "Laws of King Cnut", fabricated c. 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. Peter's, reproduced in Rome the double Christmas Office mentioned by Etheria (see above) at Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Peter's, and said the third Mass at the high altar of St. At this third Mass Leo III inaugurated, in 800, by the coronation of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Empire. Unfortunately, there is no contemporary evidence for the celebration in the fourth century of Christ's conception on 25 March. Till the tenth century Christmas counted, in papal reckoning, as the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, as it still does in Bulls; Boniface VIII (1294-1303) restored temporarily this usage, to which Germany held longest. XV, 5,5) forbids, in 425, circus games on 25 December; though not till Codex Just., III, 12, 6 (529) is cessation of work imposed. xi, xvii) proclaims, in 566 or 567, the sanctity of the "twelve days" from Christmas to Epiphany, and the duty of Advent fast; that of Agde (506), in canons 63-64, orders a universal communion, and that of Braga (563) forbids fasting on Christmas Day. Mary Major a church probably immediately assimilated to the Bethlehem basilica and the third, at St.
Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday; Arnobius (VII, 32 in P. [Ideler (Chron., II, 397, n.) thought they did this believing that the ninth month, in which Christ was born, was the ninth of their own calendar.] Others reached the date of 24 or 25 Pharmuthi (19 or 20 April). At any rate this double commemoration became popular, partly because the apparition to the shepherds was considered as one manifestation of Christ's glory, and was added to the greater manifestations celebrated on 6 January; partly because at the baptism-manifestation many codices (e.g. 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.) are, when dealing with the matter, ignorant or silent; or should, having published them, have remained unquoted (Kellner, op. This pope reigned from May, 352 until 366, except during his years of exile, 355-357. L., XII, 1134) to Himerius in Spain, distinguishes the feasts of the Nativity and Apparition; but whether he refers to Roman or to Spanish use is not clear. 361 combined the feasts, though on what day is still doubtful. The famous "Stabat Mater Speciosa" is attributed to Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306); "Adeste Fideles" is, at the earliest, of the seventeenth century.
Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99..., asserts (in Lev. 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.
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.
Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice." Already Tertullian (Apol., 16; cf. The reckoning, moreover, is wholly in keeping with the arguments based on number and astronomy and "convenience", then so popular. Catt., 21 September, 1895, etc.): The first Mass, celebrated at the in St.
This theory is best supported by the fact that certain Montanists (Sozomen, VII.18) kept Easter on 6 April; both 25 December and 6 January are thus simultaneously explained.
Cels., VIII, 67, etc) had to assert that Sol was not the Christians' God; Augustine (Tract xxxiv, in Joan. L., XXXV, 1652) denounces the heretical identification of Christ with Sol. The origin of Christmas should not be sought in the Saturnalia (1-23 December) nor even in the midnight holy birth at Eleusis (see J. Jud., 8)], the popular instinct, demanding an exact number of years in a Divine life, would place His conception on the same date, His birth 25 December.
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. The "mountain-birth" of Mithra and Christ's in the "grotto" have nothing in common: Mithra's adoring shepherds (Cumont, op. 304 sqq.) are rather borrowed from Christian sources than vice versa. 549) with its probable connection through Phrygia with the Naasene heretics, or even with the Alexandrian ceremony quoted above; nor yet in rites analogous to the midwinter cult at Delphi of the cradled Dionysus, with his revocation from the sea to a new birth (Harrison, op. Duchesne (Les origines du culte chrétien, Paris, 1902, 262 sqq.) advances the "astronomical" theory that, given 25 March as Christ's death-day [historically impossible, but a tradition old as Tertullian (Adv.
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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.