Epiphany (Koine Greek: ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation", "striking appearance" or Theophany (Ancient Greek (ἡ) Θεοφάνεια, Τheophaneia meaning "vision of God"), which traditionally falls on January 6, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.
Eastern Churches following the Julian Calendar observe the Theophany feast on what for most countries is January 19 because of the 13-day difference today between that calendar and the generally used Gregorian calendar.
Since 1970, the rule for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is: "The Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on 6 January, unless, where it is not observed as a Holy day of obligation, it has been assigned to the Sunday occurring between 2 and 8 January."
In the Church of England also, the feast may be celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and 8 inclusive although the official date of epiphany in the UK is always 6 January.
A separate celebration of the Baptism of the Lord was introduced for Latin Rite Roman Catholics in 1955. Initially, this was to be held on January 13, previously the octave day of the Epiphany, but in the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar the date was changed to the first Sunday after January 6. In countries where in a particular year the Epiphany falls on January 7 or 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the following Monday. In the Church of England, the same custom may be followed. In the Episcopal Church in the United States, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is always the Sunday after January 6.
Alternative names for the feast include (τα) Θεοφάνια, Theophany as neuter plural rather than feminine singular, η Ημέρα των Φώτων, i Imera ton Foton (modern Greek pronunciation), hē hēmera tōn phōtōn (restored classic pronunciation), "The Day of the Lights", and τα Φώτα, ta Fota, "The Lights".
Qasr el Yahud or Kasser Al Yahud (Arabic language: قصر اليهود, lit. the Castle of the Jews) is baptism site in the Jordan River Valley in the West Bank. It is the traditional spot where the New Testament narrative of the baptism of Jesus took place (Matthew, 3: 13-17). According to tradition, it is also the place where the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River and Elijah the Prophet ascended to heaven.
The site includes marble steps that descend into the Jordan River as well as ruins of Byzantine and Crusader churches. It reopened in 2010 after being closed for 44 years. The restoration project was approved before the millennium celebrations but was delayed due to the Intifada and flooding in the region in 2003. It is administered by the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
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