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Baptism_of_the_Lord

Baptism of the Lord

The Baptism of the Lord (or the Baptism of Christ) is the name of a feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Originally the Baptism of Christ was celebrated on Epiphany, which commemorated the coming of the Magi, the Baptism of Christ, and the wedding in Cana. Over time in the West, however, the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord came to be celebrated as a separate feast from the Epiphany.

Western celebration

The Baptism of the Lord is observed as a distinct feast in the Roman Catholic Church and in churches of the Anglican Communion. Depending on the year and the method of calculation (see below), it can fall on any day from 7 to 13 January.

In most parts of the Roman Catholic Church, the feast is now observed on the first Sunday after Epiphany (6 January), although it originally coincided with Epiphany. In the United States, however, Epiphany is observed on the Sunday after the first Saturday in January. If 7 January or 8 January is a Sunday, to avoid the Baptism of the Lord falling too late it is observed on the following Monday. In this case it is not made a holy day of obligation.

The Catholic pre-Vatican II (but post-medieval) calendar had this feast on 13 January, the old octave day of Epiphany, which was fixed on January 6.

In the Church of England, Epiphany may be observed on 6 January or, if that day is not a Sunday, on the following Sunday (the First Sunday of Epiphany). If Epiphany is observed on 6 January (whether that day is a Sunday or not), the Baptism of Christ is observed on the following Sunday (the First or Second Sunday of Epiphany). If 6 January is not a Sunday and Epiphany is transferred to the following Sunday, the Baptism of Christ is observed on the following Monday.

In the Episcopal Church in the United States, Epiphany is always celebrated on January 6, and the Baptism of the Lord is always celebrated on the following Sunday.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the day after the Baptism of the Lord marks the start of the first period of ordinary time. In the Church of England, ordinary time does not begin until the day after the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas).

Eastern celebration

In the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated as an integral part of the celebration on 6 January, the Great Feast of the Theophany. For those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 6 January falls on 19 January of the modern Gregorian Calendar (see Theophany for details).

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