The Epiphany of Our Lord


Sunday 6 January: Eucharist at Cowley St John

… gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
Kneel and adore Him:
the Lord is His name!
At Cowley St John the Epiphany is transferred this year from 6 January to the nearest Sunday – Sunday 6 January 2019. We keep four Eucharists of the feast:

8am                 St Mary & St John (said)

9.30am            St Alban the Martyr (sung, with incense)

10.45am          St Mary & St John (sung, with incense)

6.15pm            St Mary & St John (said)

The subtitle in the Book of Common Prayer of this feast, one of the principal feasts of the Church, is ‘The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles’. This emphasises that, from the moment of the Incarnation, the good news of Jesus Christ is for all: Jew and Gentile, the wise and the simple, male and female. The Magi (‘wise men’) in Matthew’s gospel represent the non-Jewish world.
The date chosen to celebrate this feast goes back to the placing of the feast of the Nativity of Christ in the winter solstice: the north European pre-Christian tradition of celebrating the birth of the Sun on 25 December differed from the Mediterranean and eastern tradition of having 6 January as the Solstice. As often happens, the two dates became distinct parts of the same celebration.  The implication by the fifth century was that 6 January was the night on which the Magi arrived.
The complications of dating became even more confused with the changing in the West from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar, the eastern church refusing to play any part in such a radical change. So this day remains the chief day of celebrating the Incarnation in Orthodox Churches, and the chief day of celebrating the revelation of the new-born Christ to the Gentiles in the Anglican and other Western Churches.
Adapted from Exciting Holiness (first edition)