Epiphany? What is it? Why do we celebrate it?
On the Twelfth Day …
Roman Catholics commemorate Epiphany as the coming of the Wisemen or Magi. Greek Orthodox churches also celebrate on Epiphany the baptism of Jesus at age 30 and His first miracle at the wedding at Cana when He turned water into wine. In both traditions the idea is the same: the revelation of Christ to the world -- whether as an infant or as a 30-year-old. On the Feast of the Epiphany, priests traditionally bless water, frankincense, gold, myrrh and chalk – which is used to write over doorways Christus mansionem benedicat, Latin for "may Christ bless the house." During the Middle Ages, back before calendars were common, the priest would announce on Epiphany that year’s date for Easter, Ash Wednesday, Ascension Day, Pentecost, and the First Sunday of Advent for the new year. Russian Orthodox and many other eastern churches call the day “the Feast of Theophany.” The earliest reference to Epiphany is a remark by St. Clement of Alexandria who lived between A.D. 150 and 210. The feast was also mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus in A.D. 361.