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Bible Dictionaries

The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia

Epiphany, the

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A Feast of the Church observed on January 6th to commemorate the Manifestation of Christ by the leading of a star. Occurring twelve days after Christmas, it is frequently called "Twelfth Day." The word Epiphany is derived from the Greek and means Manifestation or showing forth. It was originally used both for Christmas Day when Christ was manifested in the Flesh and for this day when He was manifested by a Star to the Gentiles. Later on, about the Fourth Century and in the Western Church the Epiphany seems to have acquired a more independent position and to be observed with special reference to the manifestation to the Magi of the East. It thus became the occasion of the giving of praise and thanksgiving to God for thus proclaiming the Gospel to the Gentile world as well as to the Jews, His chosen people. An examination of the services for the Feast of the Epiphany shows that the commemoration is really threefold: (1) Our Lord's Manifestation by a star to the Magi; (2) The Manifestation of the glorious Trinity at His Baptism, and (3) The Manifestation of the glory and Divinity of Christ by His miraculous turning water into wine at the marriage in Cana of Galilee; all of which are said to have happened on the same day, though not in the same year. "The Epiphany is a Festival which has always been observed with great ceremony throughout the whole Church; its threefold meaning and its close association with the Nativity as the end of the Christmas Tide, making it a kind of accumulative Festival."

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Epiphany, the'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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