During the first three centuries Christians did not have separate holidays at Christmas. For the first time began to celebrate Christmas only IV, art, when it was installed on Easter, Pentecost and epiphany - Epiphany. In the east a long time Christmas was celebrated with Epiphany on January 6. This feast and included the Christmas and Jesus' baptism in the Jordan. The Greek word "epiphany" or "theophany" which means "Z'yavlinnya" and "Epiphany" in the first centuries of Christianity meant not only the appearance of Jesus at his baptism, but his appearance on earth is his birthday. This is likely to Syria and Jerusalem, but even more in Gaul in 361, the Nativity was celebrated as the East, January 6.
The first few centuries of the Church, and especially Western, the feast of Epiphany linked not only at Christmas and the Epiphany, but also worship the three wise men, the miracle at Cana of Galilee, the miraculous multiplication of bread and sometimes even the resurrection of Lazarus, because all those events is Witnesses Epiphany - appearance of God on earth. And just more events celebrating the life of Jesus Christ with the feast of the Epiphany was one of the main reasons why the first separate the Western Church of the Epiphany at Christmas and started to celebrate it separately.
A key role in implementing the complex world of Christmas played three of the Eastern Church Fathers: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom. Svyatkovano first Christmas apart December 25 Rome, perhaps, of 353 was for the speech, the pope Liberia 352 shows that year Christmas was celebrated with Epiphany, and in so-called. Chronograph Filokalyusa of 354 was among the Christian festival and Christmas is already on 25 December. In the East, St. Basil (V 379) was the first to celebrate Christmas December 25 Cappadocia between 371 and 374 years. He attributed a sermon for Christmas. Under the influence of St. Gregory the Theologian (V 390) introduces this feast in Constantinople. In Jerusalem while Christmas was celebrated with the Epiphany until the 634 was
Service on the feast of Christ's Nativity Roman Sladkopivets concluded, Patriarch Herman, Andrew of Crete, John Damascene, Cosmas Mayumskyy and patriarch of Anatolia.
In Article VI. St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, built a house in Bethlehem in honor of Christmas. Emperor Theodosius in codes of 438, and Emperor Justinian in 535, the law contains a general celebration of the feast of Christmas.
Differences in the celebration of Christmas between Eastern and Western Churches
For the celebration of Christmas and Epiphany between East and West did not have consent. Finally, at the end of IV century. These two holidays are celebrated the entire Christian Church: East took the Roman feast of the Nativity, and the West have included in their church calendar Epiphany. But content that vkladavsya in those holidays was - and to some extent remains - different: in the West December 25 celebrated birthday of Jesus Christ only, in the East added to it a little piece of the Magi coming, and dedicate the birth of Christ Nursing and Adoration of the Magi - day. Second, differences emerged on Epiphany: the Latins main point of this holiday - the coming of the Magi, or kings, the Greeks then this point does not exist: while the Greeks refer the baptism of Christ in the Jordan and the Latin Church this fact is barely mentioned. Finally, Greek Epiphany commemorates the miracle entirely in Cannes, that the Latins also falls on that day.
The history of setting the date
However, the same date that great events have not quite accurate: Scripture does not specify the day or year when it is born Christ, and was taken by year of birth 754 years from the foundation of Rome and set him in the XI here. Dionysius the Small. But later researchers found that false and date: Christ was born on 5 or 6 years sooner, between 748 and 749 the Roman calendar year as that show astronomical vyrahunky who used - among others - also remember the zatmu month, which historians say the then . Uncertainty has increased, on the birth, which is now celebrated on December 25 on the Julian calendar. But why choose this particular day when the evangelists do not give any guidance on this?
The commonly accepted version of that day, December 25 was chosen as the day rotation (if birthday) Invincible Sun (Dies Solis Invikti) when the sun began to gain strength again. Indeed then the Church fathers repeatedly point to the symbolic significance of this day. St. John Chrysostom said: "People call the holy day of birth of the Lord's day the new sun. ...". And St. Augustine: "We are celebrating the day 25 of December in order to birth the sun, but for the birth of Him who created the sun.
The date December 25 was not installed by default. Clement of Alexandria (150-B. 215) wrote, not without irony about those who put the exact date of Christ's birth on 20 May (or April 20) 1928 Augustus-government, that is the third year of our present calendar. He himself pointed on 17 November the same year as the birthday of Jesus Christ, but unfortunately did not find any instructions on the left what he reasoned that date.
Later, the birthday of Christ tied to the beginning of spring, which, according to Julian calendar, fell on March 25, because on this day, he said, accounted for birth world. But in 221, the Sekstus Julius Afrikanus attributed birthday of Christ on Dec. 25. Determination of that date was probably on the grounds that the creation of the world, as noted, began on March 25 and on the same day, Annunciation fell, and 9 months later and had to be Christmas.
The big Christian holiday, set in commemoration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Included among Dvonadesyatyh intransitive holidays. He is one of the most significant days in the liturgical year and one of the main festivals in most Christian denominations. Nowadays, almost all Christians (with the exception of the Armenian Church) celebrated its 25 December. That is only on 25 December in various communities, following the different calendar styles. In most parishes Orthodox churches is 7 January to the new style. Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25.
Christians Celebrating Christmas is evident deeper IV. His date is not connected with the real birth date of Jesus Christ, which is likely vsoho, took place not in the winter (in antiquity the question was the subject of controversial religious reasons, the authors, one of the earliest texts that came to us, is Clement of Alexandria; he remembers 20 May). Day December 25 is set in the Roman Church at the beginning of IV century. The first evidence of this is manifested in the "Calendars Filokala" (information relating to 336 town). Perhaps the choice of December 25 related to the pagan solar (sun) holiday "Birth of the Sun Invincible" (after the winter solstice begins to grow sunny day). It is a pagan holiday in Rome with the adoption of Christianity was full of new content: the birth of Christ was taken as the "Birth of the Sun of Righteousness." At the same time in the Eastern Church - Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Cyprus - holiday of Christmas was combined with the holiday of Epiphany January 6 under the title Epiphany (celebrating Christmas with Epiphany in some eastern churches continued to the end of IV century., In others - until VI century. Armenian Church to this day celebrates Christmas on January 6, combining it with the celebration of Baptism).
In IV. ravnoapostolnyh Empress Helena built a church on the site of Bethlehem Cave, celebrated the birth of Christ. On the widespread veneration of the Nativity of the teachings of the Church Fathers show IV. - Ephraim Sirin, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory Nisskoho, John Chrysostom, written for the holiday. In the Code of Theodosius (438) and Justinian (535) sets out the law of universal celebration of Christmas. John Chrysostom first introduced the holiday in Antioch in 386 or 387 by Basil, Gregory Nazianzen instructed to introduce the celebration of the Council of Constantinople.
Later interpretation of the celebration of Christmas December 25 was as follows: month and day of the death of Christ of the Gospels accurately known, and (with already prevalent in the early medieval church transfer) Christ must be on the ground Blvd total number of years (as a perfect number), followed here, that Christ was conceived on the same day, which suffered so in the Jewish Passover, which this year fell by 25 March; vidrahovuyuchy from it 9 months, received date of birth of Christ Dec. 25. According to one modern hypothesis, the choice of the date of Christmas occurred Also, this reason that the first Christians celebrated at the same time the Incarnation (that is not understood birth and conception of Christ) and Easter, respectively, over time, adding to the day of the vernal equinox 9 months indicated on the celebration of Christmas in the winter solstice.
Bolshaya Encyclopedia Cyril and Mefodyya, 2001.
Christian Church annually celebrates the great event of Christmas December 25 (Julian).. To adequately reward his believers are preparing for it by fasting forty, from November 15 to December 24, known as Christmas (or Advent). On the eve of the day eve celebration, is particularly strict fasting. On this day, according to the Charter of the Church, is consumed in food kutyu, ie, wheat with honey.
In Eve, unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, committed Tsarist times, and then, around noon, Liturgy of St. Basil the Great Vespers. In exactly the same holiday liturgy by John Chrysostom.
Times undertaken on the eve of Christmas, differ in what they read paremiyi, Epistle and Gospel. Therefore, unlike ordinary times, they are called king. This name they are also that in Greece during their holding is usually attended by the emperors.
After the liturgy in the midst of a candle and put clerics sing Troparia holidays: "Nativity, O Christ our God, the world shone the light of reason: in it for those that served the stars from the star learned to worship Thee, the Sun of righteousness, and you acknowledge that you are Sunrise from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee! " And then the holiday Kontakion: Today the Virgin gives birth Presuschoho and unapproachable land crib brings angels to the shepherds praise, and the Magi from the star travelers. We were born for the sake baby Previchnyy God. "
If Eve is on Saturday and Sunday, the Royal Hours are read on Friday. Eve is Liturgy. John Chrysostom, and after the liturgy - evening. Worship Christ takes place after evening. Lent, the Charter, this day is not. This means that after the evening liturgy allowed to eat some bread.
Vigil Vigil begins Great Compline, sung in a solemn song of Isaiah: "God with us, understanding people, and pidkoryuytes behold, God with us! Frequent repetition of this song "God With Us! testifies to the spiritual joy of believers who are aware of themselves among God - Emmanuel. Summary rest of the songs can express the original song canon: "Christ is born, Slavia; Christ from heaven, meet: Christ on earth, voznostesya let sing the Lord all the earth, let them sing, because he became famous.
Official website of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP).
Christmas Holidays is the second after Passover (Easter) in the ancient Church, and so revered in the East now. In the West, to the XIV century. (With unclear yet what reason) he moved into first place, but by the liturgical reform in the Catholic Church, held after the 2 nd Vatican Council, Easter regained the presidency seat. Nevertheless, in many Catholic countries, popular piety still gives him a place among the most important holidays.
Christmas in the Orthodox tradition precedes Forty Advent (Pylypivka) [from 14 (27) November to 24 December (January 6) inclusive in the west it meets the training period, called "Advent" (Latin adventus - Coming) is somewhat smaller in duration and does not prescribe fasting]. Holy Nativity has peredsvyatkuvannya five days (from 20 to 24 December) and six days and ends pislyasvyatkuvannya holiday Circumcision of Christ. Eve, or Eve celebration, is held in strict fasting and called sochelnykom (svyatvechorom) this evening, the church requirements, used in food sochivo (dried cereal grains, macerated with water). Religious songs that celebrate Christmas, were written by Roman Solodkospivtsem, and Andrei Sophronius Jerusalem (VII cent.), John Damascene, Cosmo Mayumskym, Patriarch Herman (VIII century). And others.
The practice of celebrating Christmas in the Latin rite involves the implementation of three months, most of which occur at night (the other two - in the morning and afternoon). They are called "angelic", "pastoral" and "Imperial". According to symbolic interpretation, the first celebrates the eternal birth of the Son of the Father, the second - the birth of Jesus Christ of the Virgin, the third - the mystical birth of God in the soul of every believer.