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Author Topic: Epiphany in the Orthodox Church?  (Read 1485 times) Average Rating: 0
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Eugenio
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« on: December 26, 2008, 10:19:53 PM »

So, when I was a western Christian, I always enjoyed the Feast of Epiphany, when the Wise Men of the East visited Jesus Christ, and became the first people (aside from the Theotokos) to acknowledge his Kingship.

So is this ever observed in the Orthodox Church? Does it happen the same day as Theophany? Or is it strictly a western tradition?
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 10:32:22 PM »

So, when I was a western Christian, I always enjoyed the Feast of Epiphany, when the Wise Men of the East visited Jesus Christ, and became the first people (aside from the Theotokos) to acknowledge his Kingship.

So is this ever observed in the Orthodox Church? Does it happen the same day as Theophany? Or is it strictly a western tradition?

LOL.  Sorry, but if you think Jan. 6 is a big deal in the West, wait until you see what the East does.
Btw, it celebrates the Baptism in the Jordan.  The Three Kings is one of the Synaxis after Nativity.
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2010, 09:08:23 AM »

Epiphany (Greek: επιφάνεια, "the appearance; miraculous phenomenon") is a Christian feast intended to celebrate the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus.

The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches, and included the birth of Jesus; the visit of the Magi, or Wise Men (traditionally named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) who arrived in Bethlehem; and all of Jesus' childhood events, up to his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist.
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Shanghaiski
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2010, 10:02:35 AM »

Epiphany/Theophany, Easter/Pascha, Christmas/Nativity, tomato/tomahto.
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2010, 10:07:59 AM »

Not quite, Shanghaiski.  Epiphany in the west and Theophany in the east did develop differently.  If you read the Synaxarion entries for the dates surrounding Christmas and Theophany, you get a good idea of how this came to be.  I blogged a little about this in January.

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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2010, 12:03:54 PM »

I am very much aware of this, Michael, but I was referring to terminology. Theophany and Epiphany may commemorate (slightly) different events, but I think it's going a bit far to call them two completely different things.
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2010, 12:32:36 PM »

Actually until recently several orthodox jurisidictions used the term Epiphany rather than Theophany when English was the spoken and written language of the article or service for the feast on January 6. At times the same article will use the two term at differing points of the same article Only recently  has the term Theophany begun to be used more as many convert seek to go to the original  traditional term utilizing a word that was not found in English, "Theophany". It really is ironic because both words are actually Greek and were used in the Greek through the past.

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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2010, 12:35:35 PM »

I suppose it's a bit like Assumption and Dormition.  The former does appear in Eastern Orthodox terminology (the Latin church not having the monopoly on the word, despite its differing emphasis), but the latter now seems to be more common.

M
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2010, 01:15:13 PM »

While most Orthodox believe in the assumption of the Theotokos, the Latiin term Dormition is actually the exact translation of the Greek term Kimisis, which is the title of the feast.
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2010, 02:31:32 PM »

The sticking point with "Assumption" is that it does not in itself make reference to the actual death of the Mother of God.
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2010, 03:50:01 PM »

That's a very important point.  I know my pastor loves to use the icon of the Dormition to teach the Faithful what Orthodoxy believes about death and the eternal destiny of the saved.
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2010, 03:52:32 PM »

While most Orthodox believe in the assumption of the Theotokos, the Latiin term Dormition is actually the exact translation of the Greek term Kimisis, which is the title of the feast.
Are you saying that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary up into heaven (which I think is like Elijah-without dieing?) is a "required" doctrine of Catholicism (It was pronounced ex-Cathedra by the Pope), but that this doctrine is not a required belief in Orthodox, that we MUST BELIEVE she bodily ascended to heaven, in such a way as other mortals don't (I am not sure how to express it better)? If so, I think you are right that it is not required, although something like it appears to be a tradition in our church too, regarding the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos.
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2010, 04:10:22 PM »

While most Orthodox believe in the assumption of the Theotokos, the Latiin term Dormition is actually the exact translation of the Greek term Kimisis, which is the title of the feast.
Are you saying that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary up into heaven (which I think is like Elijah-without dieing?) is a "required" doctrine of Catholicism (It was pronounced ex-Cathedra by the Pope), but that this doctrine is not a required belief in Orthodox, that we MUST BELIEVE she bodily ascended to heaven, in such a way as other mortals don't (I am not sure how to express it better)? If so, I think you are right that it is not required, although something like it appears to be a tradition in our church too, regarding the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos.


The tradition is that she died and later, when St. Thomas arrived, they found the tomb empty, and they understood that she had arisen. If she did not ascend bodily after resurrection (like the Apostle John, by the way), we would have relics of them. But we have no relics. There are a few other saints like this as well. The kontakon for the Dormition starts "Neither the grave nor death could hold the Theotokos."
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2010, 04:21:21 PM »

While most Orthodox believe in the assumption of the Theotokos, the Latiin term Dormition is actually the exact translation of the Greek term Kimisis, which is the title of the feast.
Are you saying that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary up into heaven (which I think is like Elijah-without dieing?) is a "required" doctrine of Catholicism (It was pronounced ex-Cathedra by the Pope), but that this doctrine is not a required belief in Orthodox, that we MUST BELIEVE she bodily ascended to heaven, in such a way as other mortals don't (I am not sure how to express it better)? If so, I think you are right that it is not required, although something like it appears to be a tradition in our church too, regarding the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos.


The tradition is that she died and later, when St. Thomas arrived, they found the tomb empty, and they understood that she had arisen. If she did not ascend bodily after resurrection (like the Apostle John, by the way), we would have relics of them. But we have no relics. There are a few other saints like this as well. The kontakon for the Dormition starts "Neither the grave nor death could hold the Theotokos."

I do not dispute this. I think ancients had a tradition of putting a body in an ossiary tomb and then removing it a week later. Maybe someone would have removed it in the interim. But who? I assume it would have been a family member and the apostles would have known of this. So the empty tomb is evidence. On the other hand, I am not sure - is it a required , infallible belief like in the Catholic Church?
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2010, 11:43:34 PM »

Well, I would think it would take more effort not to believe it, since one would have to put oneself at odds with those Fathers and teachers who proclaim this, and the liturgical texts themselves. I am not sure if there is an anathema in regard to those who disbelieve this, but there is much in Orthodoxy that is absolutely essential which is not expressed in the dogmatic canons, but can be found in liturgical texts and in the totality of holy tradition. The holy tradition must be embraced in its entirety. One cannot pick and choose. There may be things which one must wrestle with, but eventually one has to submit to the Church, for she knows best, having received revelation from God.
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2010, 12:00:34 AM »

While most Orthodox believe in the assumption of the Theotokos, the Latiin term Dormition is actually the exact translation of the Greek term Kimisis, which is the title of the feast.
Are you saying that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary up into heaven (which I think is like Elijah-without dieing?) is a "required" doctrine of Catholicism (It was pronounced ex-Cathedra by the Pope), but that this doctrine is not a required belief in Orthodox, that we MUST BELIEVE she bodily ascended to heaven, in such a way as other mortals don't (I am not sure how to express it better)? If so, I think you are right that it is not required, although something like it appears to be a tradition in our church too, regarding the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos.


The tradition is that she died and later, when St. Thomas arrived, they found the tomb empty, and they understood that she had arisen. If she did not ascend bodily after resurrection (like the Apostle John, by the way), we would have relics of them. But we have no relics. There are a few other saints like this as well. The kontakon for the Dormition starts "Neither the grave nor death could hold the Theotokos."

I do not dispute this. I think ancients had a tradition of putting a body in an ossiary tomb and then removing it a week later. Maybe someone would have removed it in the interim. But who? I assume it would have been a family member and the apostles would have known of this. So the empty tomb is evidence. On the other hand, I am not sure - is it a required , infallible belief like in the Catholic Church?
No, the bones were removed a year or so later. It takes time.

I don't think it is dogma as the Vatican has it, as it wasn't proclaimed from the very beginning, the Church of Jerusalem keeping it to themselves.  I converted not believing it.  Now, I can't find it making sense not to believe it.
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2010, 12:07:50 AM »

Btw, The blessing of the waters on the eve of the Epiphany: the Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac and Russian ... By John Patrick Crichton-Stuart Bute (Marquess of), Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge
http://books.google.com/books?id=FgEPAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA43&dq=Great+Blessing+of+Water+Coptic&hl=en&ei=bTc9TNDeJ8T_nQfCpf3dDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFwQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2010, 12:18:03 PM »

The sticking point with "Assumption" is that it does not in itself make reference to the actual death of the Mother of God.

That's right.  However, one could just as easily say that the sticking point with the term Dormition is that it does not in itself make reference to the resurrection of the Mother of God.  Personally, I use the terms interchangeably, depending on which will be more readily understood by my audience.  Traditional Anglicans tend to be more comfortable with Dormition, partly because some of them were unhappy with the associations Assumption has with the Latin definition and partly because some of the early "enhanced" materials tobe used with the Prayer Book referred on the 15th of August to the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics seem happier with Assumption.  Many Eastern Orthodox people don't know the word Assumption so I just use Dormition when talking to them.  Western Rite Orthodox tend to use one or the other depending on which tradition they're from.

But back to your comment...

The 20th-century Latin definition of their dogma of the Assumption of the Mother of God does indeed deliberately leave open the question of whether or not she reposed first.  The actual papal pronouincement uses some vague term such as, 'at the end of her earthly life', which could be read either way.  This was the matter of some debate in the Latin church at one time.  I am told, though, by a couple of Catholic deacons who are both scholars of Latin theology, that most of their theologians today and general thought on the matter says that she did indeed repose before she was assumed.

M
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