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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. 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. 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 . But probably the Yule-log in its many forms was originally lit only in view of the cold season. a round, of wood, given by him, would burn, the landlord gave to a tenant a load of wood on the birth of a child; Kindsfuss was a present given to children on the birth of a brother or sister, and even to the farm animals on that of Christ, the universal little brother (Tiele, op. In a thirteenth-century French epic, candles are seen on the flowering tree.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. Jerusalem In 385, Silvia of Bordeaux (or Etheria, as it seems clear she should be called) was profoundly impressed by the splendid Chilhood 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. 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. 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. Analogy to Old Testament festivals 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. Natalis Invicti 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. 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 ceppo (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 ( cratagus præcox ) would blow on Christmas New Style; and as it did not, they refused to keep the New Style festival.The traditional enumeration of the corporal works of mercy is as follows: It will be seen from these divisions that the works of mercy practically coincide with the various forms of almsgiving. The doing of works of mercy is not merely a matter of exalted counsel ; there is as well a strict precept imposed both by the natural and the positive Divine law enjoining their performance.That the natural law enjoins works of mercy is based upon the principle that we are to do to others as we would have them do to us.
It obliges, as the theologians say, semper sed non pro semper .The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse , the Mass of Christ, first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe , in 1131. The name in Anglo-Saxon was geol , feast : geola , the name of a month (cf. Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday; Arnobius (VII, 32 in P. G., VIII, 888) 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). 354, unless indeed pre-existing popular celebration must be assumed to render possible this official recognition. These essentially popular airs, and even words, must, however, have existed long before they were put down in writing.In Dutch it is Kerst-misse , in Latin Dies Natalis , whence comes the French Noël , and Italian Il natale ; in German Weihnachtsfest , from the preceeding sacred vigil. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts ; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia , asserts (in Lev. L., V, 1264) can still ridicule the "birthdays" of the gods. [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. Were the Chalki manuscript of Hippolytus genuine, evidence for the December feast would exist as early as c. The relevant passage [which exists in the Chigi manuscript Without the bracketed words and is always so quoted before George Syncellus (c. Cards and presents 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. So, even if the "Depositio Martyrum" dates, as is probable, from 336, it is not clear that the calendar contains evidence earlier than Philocalus himself, i.e. The famous "Stabat Mater Speciosa" is attributed to Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306); "Adeste Fideles" is, at the earliest, of the seventeenth century.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, anothen ; its introduction into Antioch he had always sought, conservatives always resisted. 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. 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. 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. Greenery 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.