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  #1  
Old Aug 15, '13, 2:35 pm
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Timi Celcer Timi Celcer is offline
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Default Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

????
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  #2  
Old Aug 15, '13, 2:38 pm
Jon Sorensen Jon Sorensen is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

It didn't. Click here.
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  #3  
Old Aug 15, '13, 2:38 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm
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  #4  
Old Aug 15, '13, 2:45 pm
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Zekariya Zekariya is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

Fr Mitch Pacwa on EWTN said that, even though lots of people say that the Christians took the Sol Invictus feast and replaced it with the Feast of Christmas, Christmas came first and the Romans started the feast of Sol Invictus to replace the Feast of Christmas. I found this on the internet in support of Fr Mitch's possition:
One ancient source mentioned Dies Natalis Solis Invicti in the Chronography of 354, and Sol scholar Steven Hijmans stated that there is no evidence that the celebration [Dies Natalis Solis Invicti] precedes that of Christmas: "[W]hile the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas, and none that indicates that Aurelian had a hand in its institution."
Source: Hijmans, S.E., Sol, the sun in the art and religions of Rome, 2009, p. 589. ISBN 978-90-367-3931-3

Also...
Since the Western Christmas (25 December) falls near the Winter Solstice (21 December), it occurs at the same time of the year as certain pagan solstice feasts. One such feast was the Roman celebration of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Nativity of the Invincible Sun), which commemorated the birth of the sun god Mithra. After Emperor Aurelian declared Mithra/Sol Invictus to be the patron of the Roman Empire in 274 AD, this feast in his honor became very popular.

Some say that the Christians invented Christmas, a feast in honor of Jesus' birth, as an alternative to this popular feast of Mithra's birth. Others claim that Christmas was never a separate feast, but is the feast of Sol Invictus itself, continued and adapted by pagan converts in the fourth century, after Constantine forced them to become Christians. Unwilling to abandon their beloved Mithraism, they changed Dies Natalis Solis Invicti into a feast of Christ's Nativity (since no one knows for sure what day Jesus was born).

This common theory has a few problems. First, careful study shows that Western Christians were celebrating Christmas on 25 December in the late third century, before the Sol Invictus festival was widely celebrated in the Empire 1. So Christians did not create this feast to oppose a popular Roman one. As far as Christmas being a "continuation" of a pagan festival, this seems unlikely when one considers the abhorrence many Christians felt toward paganism. Believers of Jewish descent did not suddenly lose their deep aversion to idolatry after Baptism, and converts from paganism often despised the religions which they left behind. Thousands of Christians died during the Romans persecutions rather than engage in pagan rites. Why would they embrace the hated celebrations of their persecutors?

"As long ago as 1958, the Israeli scholar Shemaryahu Talmon published an in-depth study on the calendar of the Qumran sect, and he reconstructed without the shadow of doubt the order of the sacerdotal rota system for the temple of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 24, 7-18) in New Testament times. Here the family of Abijah, of which Zechariah was a descendent, father of John the herald and forerunner (Luke 1,5) was required to officiate twice a year, on the days 8-14 of the third month, and on the days 24-30 of the eighth month. This latter period fell at about the end of September. It is not without reason that the Byzantine calendar celebrated 'John's conception' on September 23 and his birth nine months later, on June 24. The 'six months' after the Annunciation established as a liturgical feast on March 25, comes three months before the forerunner's birth, prelude to the nine months in December: December 25 is a date of history" 2.

[In addition to this, the ancient "integral age" tradition is that the Prophets died on the same day they were conceived. With Passover set at 25 March, the Annunciation would have taken place on that same date -- and the Nativity would've taken place 9 months later, on 25 December.]

Even the common argument that shepherds would not have been in the fields in December is inaccurate. That is the time of the year when sheep naturally begin giving birth ("lambing"), and the shepherds would typically stay with the sheep at night to take care of the newborn lambs. In fact, the lambing season would have been the only time of the year in which the shepherds would have stayed with the flocks during the night (see Luke 2:8).This information seems to confirm that Jesus could well have been born on or near 25 December, perhaps even 6 January (considering the many possible normal fluctuations of gestational periods). So either of these traditional dates may be - or at least come very close to - Jesus' real birthday! The fact that December 25 happens to fall four days after the Winter Solstice is a coincidence of history (and the Eastern Christmas is sixteen days removed from the solstice, so it's harder to see a connection there).

1. Greg Dues, Catholic Customs and Traditions, A Popular Guide, (Mystic, CN: Twenty-Third, 1989) 61.
2. Tommaso Federici, Osservatore Romano 24 Dec 1998.

Source: http://home.earthlink.net/~mysticalrose/pagan8.html
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  #5  
Old Aug 15, '13, 3:22 pm
Jozefo Jozefo is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

I think Christmas coming at or near the Winter Solstice is highly appropriate, in light of Malachi's prophecy!
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  #6  
Old Aug 16, '13, 5:33 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekariya View Post
Fr Mitch Pacwa on EWTN said that...[sniped for length, so CAF will accept post]

Source: http://home.earthlink.net/~mysticalrose/pagan8.html[/indent]
Cool information, though I have concerns about accuracy. I don't think it is likely that "Sol Invictus" referred to Mithras, for example.

Of course the feast of Sol Invictus could easily be older than the first records of its being observed, whenever that was. Same with Christmas though, and the point is there is no good evidence for Christmas being based on Sol Invictus.

I figure the myth about shepherds not being outside at night in December originated from people observing practices in colder regions of Europe and North America, where obviously sheep would not be foaling and shepherds would not be out in the cold on a winter night.

Occasionally you still hear the old myth about Christmas and Saturnalia, which was popular around Reformation times. Unfortunately for its adherents Saturnalia was not in fact celebrated on December 25.

Certainly individual customs of pagan winter festivals were transferred to Christmas when populations were converted. But these things were truly baptized and Christianized, or at least they have been by now. As someone of (mostly) European descent I like that these cultural elements from out of the past have survived and been incorporated into the great tradition of Christmas. Christmas after all is a celebration of the Incarnation. It ought to be a very human holiday as well as a divine one.
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  #7  
Old Aug 16, '13, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

I've actually heard something a little bit different regarding Christmas.

It's suppose to be an ancient tradition to observe a prophet's conception on the day of their death. So for Jesus, that became March 25th (which does fall within the period where the Triduum can be celebrated). Add 9 months, and you get Christmas, December 25th.

I heard this from a very smart seminarian brother, but I haven't looked too much into it.
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  #8  
Old Aug 16, '13, 6:48 pm
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

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I've actually heard something a little bit different regarding Christmas.

It's suppose to be an ancient tradition to observe a prophet's conception on the day of their death. So for Jesus, that became March 25th (which does fall within the period where the Triduum can be celebrated). Add 9 months, and you get Christmas, December 25th.

I heard this from a very smart seminarian brother, but I haven't looked too much into it.
I have heard this as well.
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  #9  
Old Aug 16, '13, 7:14 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

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Originally Posted by curlycool89 View Post
I've actually heard something a little bit different regarding Christmas.

It's suppose to be an ancient tradition to observe a prophet's conception on the day of their death. So for Jesus, that became March 25th (which does fall within the period where the Triduum can be celebrated). Add 9 months, and you get Christmas, December 25th.

I heard this from a very smart seminarian brother, but I haven't looked too much into it.
However, the historical record shows it is the other way around. The Feast of the Annuciation did not come into existence on the calendar until after the Feast of the Nativity was fixed at Dec 25
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  #10  
Old Aug 17, '13, 4:29 am
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Zekariya Zekariya is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

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However, the historical record shows it is the other way around. The Feast of the Annuciation did not come into existence on the calendar until after the Feast of the Nativity was fixed at Dec 25
The argument is that they believed that Christ died on the day he was conceived. The people of Christ's time believed that the righteous men of God died and the day that they were conceived. Christ's dying on or within a few days of March 25 is attested by the very early of the Church Fathers (St Clement of Alexandria for example). Though there was not yet an Annunciation feast day, it was believed that Christ was conceived on the day of his death. Add nine months and you get Christmass.
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Old Aug 17, '13, 6:04 am
Rosebud77 Rosebud77 is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

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Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
Cool information, though I have concerns about accuracy. I don't think it is likely that "Sol Invictus" referred to Mithras, for example.

Of course the feast of Sol Invictus could easily be older than the first records of its being observed, whenever that was. Same with Christmas though, and the point is there is no good evidence for Christmas being based on Sol Invictus.

I figure the myth about shepherds not being outside at night in December originated from people observing practices in colder regions of Europe and North America, where obviously sheep would not be foaling and shepherds would not be out in the cold on a winter night.

Occasionally you still hear the old myth about Christmas and Saturnalia, which was popular around Reformation times. Unfortunately for its adherents Saturnalia was not in fact celebrated on December 25.

Certainly individual customs of pagan winter festivals were transferred to Christmas when populations were converted. But these things were truly baptized and Christianized, or at least they have been by now. As someone of (mostly) European descent I like that these cultural elements from out of the past have survived and been incorporated into the great tradition of Christmas. Christmas after all is a celebration of the Incarnation. It ought to be a very human holiday as well as a divine one.


Small point maybe but am chuckling here.. sheep do not foal; they lamb.. horses foal
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Old Aug 17, '13, 6:08 am
Rosebud77 Rosebud77 is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

A neighbour once tried to upset me by averring that Christmas was just an old Pagan festival of light at the darkest time of year.. My reply was very simple.. that Jesus is the Light of the World so that is great.. She never did that again

This was on a small island in the far north off the top of Scotland where winter is very dark and drear and LIGHT means a great deal.
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Old Aug 17, '13, 7:03 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

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The argument is that they believed that Christ died on the day he was conceived. The people of Christ's time believed that the righteous men of God died and the day that they were conceived. Christ's dying on or within a few days of March 25 is attested by the very early of the Church Fathers (St Clement of Alexandria for example). Though there was not yet an Annunciation feast day, it was believed that Christ was conceived on the day of his death. Add nine months and you get Christmass.
That is not how the date of Christmas was established, though, when you look at it historically.
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Old Aug 17, '13, 8:51 am
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

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That is not how the date of Christmas was established, though, when you look at it historically.
Just because there was no feast of the Annunciation established, it dos not mean that the date of Christ's Crucifixion and conception had no role in the date.

There are no early sources that speak of Mary's assumption into heaven. However, the earliest of Church Fathers certainly knew she was assumed into heaven and chose to not write it down. St Basil the Great speaks about how some things are not written down and (at his time) were known only to the baptized Christians. You can read his saying this here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.vii.xxviii.html
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Old Aug 17, '13, 11:49 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Why did the Church set Christmas on a Pagan holiday?

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Just because there was no feast of the Annunciation established, it dos not mean that the date of Christ's Crucifixion and conception had no role in the date.
The records are pretty extensive on the various dates celebrating the Nativity.

Quote:
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St Basil the Great speaks about how some things are not written down
I think you misunderstand me. I have no problem with the oral tradition of the Church. I am aware that this is one explanation, but its origins are in the MIddle Ages while quite lot was written in the first couple of centuries on the various dates of celebration of the Nativity and the settling on Dec 25.
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