The feast of Christmas in the Orthodox Church is properly known as “The Nativity in the flesh of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.” For at least the first four centuries in the history of the Christian Church, it was not a separate celebration on December 25: rather, it was part of the feast of Theophany, literally, the “manifestation of God,” which at once commemorated the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and his initial appearance to the world already as an adult, when he was baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan River. This revelation of God as the Holy Trinity – (1) the voice of the Father, (2) the physical presence of the Son, and (3) the Holy Spirit, who descended “in the form of a dove,” – was, for a while, the greatest Christian celebration next to the feast of Christ’s Resurrection, known as the Holy Pascha. Eventually, the Feast of the Nativity was instituted by the Church as a distinct observance on December 25 in the fourth century a.d. to offset the pagan holidays of the Saturnalia, the winter solstice, and the festival of the Invincible Sun (Sol invictus), all of which were celebrated around that day.
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Tallinn Methodist Church, Estonia
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|Release Date||October 28, 2014|
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