I. In the East – II. In the West. I. In the East. Epiphany is, as the name indicates, of Eastern origin evpifa,neia, epiphania, qeofa,neia, theophania. Epiphany means, in the Hellenistic sense, the shining forth and soteriological revelation of God, who is revealed in the miracles of his omnipotence.
Clement of Alexandria Strom. 1,21,146 first mentions the celebration of the baptism of Jesus on 6 and 10 January, but it is only celebrated, as Clement himself says, by the gnostics of Basilides theological idea: only at the baptism is the Logos joined with Jesus’ flesh; we do not know whether the feast was then called Epiphany. At Alexandria, probably under Athanasius, the feast is linked to various moments: Jesus’ birth, his baptism, the wedding at Cana. Initially there was probably a connection with a popular feast at Alexandria: the birth of the god Aion of the virgin Kore; on the same day there was the rite of drawing water from the Nile Epiph., Haer. 51,22,10; 51,30,3. Evidence on this becomes numerous only in the last third of the 4th c.: Epiphany is attested at Caesarea in Cappadocia in 372 Greg. Naz., Or. 43,52, at Cyprus ca. 374377 as the nativity, adoration of the magi, wedding at Cana; at Antioch in 386 nativity.
At Jerusalem ca. 381384 Epiphany included a stational liturgy in honor of Jesus’ birth: on 5 January, Statio station in the shepherds’ field at Bethlehem, Statio in the grotto of the nativity, vigil in the basilica and return to Jerusalem on 6 January; then Statio in the Anastasis almost a feast of light, Eucharist in the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre Peregr. Eger. 9,1; 25,6-12; Lect. Armen. 1; Lect.
Georg. 2-25; FCh 20, 84-86. Egeria does not know the feast of 25 December; at Bethlehem it was celebrated only by the Latin ascetics Jerome, Hom. de nat.. In Syria, also, the theme of the Epiphany is Jesus’ birth Ephrem. Testimonies to the Epiphany are very numerous esp. in the years 38090, when the Roman feast of Christmas was introduced in the East on 25 December in Cappadocia: ca. 370378; Antioch: 386; Alexandria: 432; Palestine: 6th c. and the Epiphany became the celebration of the incarnation, the feast of the baptism of Jesus and of lights. In Cappadocia and at Constantinople 6 January became the preferred day for baptism.
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