Friday, January 6, 2017

Epiphany 2017

Adoration of the Magi                                                           William Blake, 1799

Today is Epiphany, the celebration of the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, and their recognition or revelation of Him as the King of Kings.  There is but one popular American carol for the celebration of Epiphany. It was written by the Episcopal clergyman, John Henry Hopkins, Jr., and appeared in print in 1863 in a collection of his sacred music.

In closing this series on Christmas and Epiphany 2017 we contrast a 19th century hymn above with one written by Saint Romanos the Melodist in the 6th century at a time when Christmas and Epiphany were celebrated on the same feast day. As joyful and beautiful as the familiar hymns are to us there is something mysterious and dreamlike in the ancient and unfamiliar. One could easily imagine the three kings returning home and eventually hearing this hymn in their own tongue.


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