Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
Holy Name of Jesus
In Christianity, the Holy Name of Jesus refers to the theological and devotional use of the name of Jesus. The reverence and affection with which Christians have regarded the Holy Name of Jesus goes back to the earliest days of Christianity....

is celebrated by a number of Christian denominations, on varying dates.

The feast has been celebrated in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints
Roman Catholic calendar of saints
The General Roman Calendar indicates the days of the year to which are assigned the liturgical celebrations of saints and of the mysteries of the Lord that are to be observed wherever the Roman Rite is used...

, at least at local levels, since the end of the fifteenth century. The veneration of the Holy Name was extended to the entire Roman Catholic Church on 20 December 1721, during the pontificate of Pope Innocent XIII
Pope Innocent XIII
Pope Innocent XIII was pope from 1721 until his death.He was born Michelangelo Conti in Poli, near Rome. Like Pope Innocent III , Pope Gregory IX and Pope Alexander IV , he was a member of the family of the Conti, counts and dukes of Segni...

. The celebration has been held on different dates, usually in January, because 1 January, eight days after Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

, commemorates the circumcision
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

 of the child Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

; as recounted in the Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 read on that day, "at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." Medieval Catholicism, and many other Christian churches to the present day, therefore celebrated both events as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, usually on 1 January. Bernardino of Siena
Bernardino of Siena
Saint Bernardino of Siena, O.F.M., was an Italian priest, Franciscan missionary, and is a Catholic saint.-Early life:...

 placed great emphasis on the Holy Name, which he associated with the IHS Christogram
A Christogram is a monogram or combination of letters that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ, traditionally used as a Christian symbol. Different types of Christograms are associated with the various traditions of Christianity, e.g...

, and may be responsible for the coupling of the two elements. It is observed on 3 January by Catholics following the present General Roman Calendar, and on the Sunday between the Octave of Christmas and Epiphany (or 2 January) by Catholics following calendars of the 1914-1969 period.

In the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 since 1979, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ celebrated on January 1 is now listed as the "Feast of the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ". Many Eastern Churches celebrate the feast on January 1. In the Lutheran Church
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, it is observed on 1 January.

Date of observance

Franciscans, Carmelites, and Augustinians kept the feast on 14 January; Dominicans on 15 January; in some localities the date was 8 January, in others 31 January, in some localities in Great Britain on 7 August. The date of the second Sunday after Epiphany was chosen by the Carthusians, then by Spain in general. This was the date assigned to the celebration when, in 1721, it was inserted into the General Calendar of the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

. In the reform of Pope Pius X
Pope Pius X
Pope Saint Pius X , born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was the 257th Pope of the Catholic Church, serving from 1903 to 1914. He was the first pope since Pope Pius V to be canonized. Pius X rejected modernist interpretations of Catholic doctrine, promoting traditional devotional practices and orthodox...

, enacted by his motu proprio Abhinc duos annos of 23 October 1913, it was moved to the Sunday between 2 and 5 January inclusive; in years when no such Sunday existed the celebration was observed on 2 January. This is still kept by those traditionalist Catholic
Traditionalist Catholic
Traditionalist Catholics are Roman Catholics who believe that there should be a restoration of many or all of the liturgical forms, public and private devotions and presentations of Catholic teachings which prevailed in the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council...

s who accept the changes of Pope Pius X in 1913, but not those of Pope Paul VI in 1969.

The reform of the liturgical calendar by the motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

 Mysterii Paschalis
Mysterii Paschalis
Mysterii Paschalis is the title of an apostolic letter motu proprio issued by Pope Paul VI on February 14, 1969...

of 14 February 1969, removed the feast, "since the imposition of the name of Jesus is already commemorated in the office of the Octave of Christmas." However, the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 texts of the Holy Name of Jesus were preserved, being placed with the Votive Masses. The celebration was restored to the General Roman Calendar with the 2002 Roman Missal, assigned as an optional memorial to the first free day after 1 January, namely 3 January.

In some Anglican
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 churches including the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...

, the feast is observed on 1 January. In the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, the calendar of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

stipulates a festival "The Name of Jesus" to be observed on 7 August, but in the more recent Common Worship
Common Worship
Common Worship is the name given to the series of services authorised by the General Synod of the Church of England and launched on the first Sunday of Advent in 2000. It represents the most recent stage of development of the Liturgical Movement within the Church and is the successor to the...

resources the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ (1 January) takes its place as the primary festival of the name of Jesus.

In the Lutheran Church, the Festival of the Holy Name of Jesus is celebrated on 1 January.

External links

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