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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. 200, Clement of Alexandria ( I.21) says that certain Egyptian theologians "over curiously" assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ's birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus. 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). And He suffered in His thirty-third year [25 March, the parasceve, in the eighteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, during the consulate of Rufus and Rubellio]." Interpolation is certain, and admitted by Funk, Bonwetsch, etc. Peter's, when, on , Ambrose' sister, Marcellina, took the veil. The earliest German Weihnachtslieder date from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the earliest noels from the eleventh, the earliest carols from the thirteenth.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. 219) that there is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have not assigned Christ's birth. 1000)] runs: 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. In Dan., iv, 23; Brotke; 19) "For the first coming of Our Lord in the flesh [in which He has been begotten], in Bethlehem, took place [25 December, the fourth day] in the reign of Augustus [the forty-second year, and] in the year 5500 [from Adam]. L., XVI, 219) preserves the sermon preached by Pope Liberius I at St. "A solis ortu" is certainly, however, by Sedulius (fifth century).L., XLIX, 820), written 418-427, that the Egyptian monasteries still observe the "ancient custom"; but on 29 Choiak (25 December) and 1 January, 433, Paul of Emesa preached before Cyril of Alexandria, and his sermons (see Mansi, IV, 293; appendix to Act. Eph.) show that the December celebration was then firmly established there, and calendars prove its permanence. Basil (who died before 1 January, 379) and the two following, preached on St. G., XLVI, 788; cf, 701, 721), prove that in 380 the 25th December was already celebrated there, unless, following Usener's too ingenious arguments (Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, Bonn, 1889, 247-250), one were to place those sermons in 383. In 385, 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. 1724) makes Julius write thus to Juvenal of Jerusalem (c. But between February, 386, when Flavian ordained Chrysostom priest, and December is ample time for the preaching of all the sermons under discussion. This time he was successful; in a crowded church he defended the new custom. From the fourth century every Western calendar assigns it to 25 December. 748, whence Christ's conception falls in March, and birth presumably in December. 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.g., Lightfoot (Horæ Hebr, et Talm., II, 32), arguing from Old Testament prophecy, e.g. The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. 338) has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274. Christ should be born." In the fourth century, Chrysostom, "del Solst. Tiele (Yule and Christmas, London, 1899) has collected many interesting examples. L., LVII, 492, etc.) survive as Christmas presents, cards, boxes. L., LIV, 218 and 198) bitterly reproves solar survivals — Christians, on the very doorstep of the Apostles' basilica, turn to adore the rising sun. 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.

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.e. The commemoration, however, of David and James the Apostle on 25 December at Jerusalem accounts for the deferred feast. its initiator, in Constantinople, where, since the death of Valens, orthodoxy was reviving. Chrysostom's episcopate lasted from 398 to 402; the feast would therefore have been introduced between these dates by Chrysostom bishop, as at Antioch by Chrysostom priest. At Rome the earliest evidence is in the Philocalian Calendar (P. In the civil calendar 25 December is marked "Natalis Invicti". Arguments based on Zachary's temple ministry are unreliable, though the calculations of antiquity (see above) have been revived in yet more complicated form, e.g. Only in 1577 did it become a public ceremony in England; its popularity, however, grew immense, especially in Provence; in Tuscany, Christmas is simply called (block, log — Bonaccorsi, op. In England it was Joseph of Arimathea's rod which flowered at Glastonbury and elsewhere; when 3 September became 14 September, in 1752, 2000 people watched to see if the Quainton thorn () would blow on Christmas New Style; and as it did not, they refused to keep the New Style festival. In England, Christmas was forbidden by Act of Parliament in 1644; the day was to be a fast and a market day; shops were compelled to be open; plum puddings and mince pies condemned as heathen.

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.

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 .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.

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