October 20, 2021

Epiphany (full name: Epiphany of the Lord) is the Christian solemnity in which the Church celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the world. In the Western Churches the event that expresses this manifestation is the visit of the Magi to the Child Jesus as symbolic representatives of all the peoples of the earth; in the Eastern Churches the celebrated event is the baptism of Jesus, the moment in which the adult Jesus is manifested as the Son of God by the voice of the Father and by the dove of the Holy Spirit. The date of the feast is January 6 for the Churches that follow the Gregorian calendar and January 19 for those that adopt the Julian calendar. feminine noun epiphania (ἐπιφάνεια; manifestation, apparition, coming, divine presence). Since the time of John Chrysostom the term assumed a further significance, associated with the nativity of Jesus. In the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican Churches it is one of the greatest solemnities of the liturgical year, such as Easter, Christmas and Pentecost, and for Catholics it is a feast of precept; in countries where it is not a civil holiday, it is moved to Sunday between 2 and 8 January. It is the last of the solemnities of the Christmas season. It is called improperly with the profane term Befana (lexical corruption of Epiphany, from the Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epifáneia, through bifanìa and befanìa), a folkloric figure typical of some Italian regions and then spread throughout the peninsula.


The term ἐπιφάνεια was already used by the ancient Greeks to indicate the action or manifestation of any deity (through miracles, visions, signs, etc.). It is the manifestation of light, of the greater Light of God manifesting through a star. It is common in many parts of the world to wish Happy Easter Epiphany. Titus Flavius ​​Clemente of Alexandria, a church father, writing at the end of the second century, attests that the Christian communities of his great city formed by the Gnostic Basilides (the "Basilidians") celebrated the baptism of Jesus Christ, and with it also the Epiphany as the "manifestation of the Lord to the world", the 15th day of the month of Tybi in the ancient Alexandrian calendar, which would correspond to our 6th January. For the interpretation of this passage it must be remembered that the baptism of Jesus, the Epiphany and the announcement of the angels to the shepherds on the occasion of his birth were celebrated simultaneously as manifestations of the divinity of Jesus. This was facilitated by some variants of the Gospel of Luke. , from which the baptism appears to have taken place on the same day of the birth. Beginning around the third century, the Christian communities of the Near East associated the term Epiphany with the three revelatory signs of Jesus Christ, namely: the adoration of the Magi, the baptism of the adult Jesus in the Jordan River, and the first miracle of Jesus that occurred. at Cana. However, the first Christians of Jerusalem did not celebrate Christmas on December 25: a document called Itinerarium, the work of the pilgrim Egeria, would narrate the suggestive presence of Christian bishops visiting Bethlehem on the night of January 6 alone, plus eight days of liturgical celebrations. subsequent to this same date, and a feast of the Resurrection of Christ in the spring. However, the separation between the recurrence of the adoration of the Magi in the Nativity and the recurrence of the Baptism of Jesus was probably made in order not to overlap the dates of the pilgrimages that left for the Jordan River and at the same time near Bethlehem. However, the considerations of John of Nikiu influenced Cyril of Alexandria in Egypt, so even the first Coptic communities began to celebrate the Nativity on December 25th.

John Chrysostom

In 386 John Chrysostom, in contrast to the Jewish recurrences, I know

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