I have always been fascinated by Liturgical Calendars. Christianity uses this as a device to convey messages. This message can vary slightly between churches, even during the Nativity season. The following is a comparison to the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), the Byzantine Catholic Church (BCC) and the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) during this time of the year.

There are two other interesting variations that I have recently become aware of.

Eastern Christianity does not have a separate celebration for the Holy Name of Jesus. It is celebrated on January 1, since the Eastern Church has kept that date as the commemoration of the Circumcision. This observance is also combined with the feast of St. Basil the Great, one of the true luminaries of the Universal Church. The RCC celebrates St. Basil on January 2, along with his brother Gregory of Nyssa. This is fair enough since saints’ feast days are often moved one day to allow for other, more solemn celebrations. The Holy Name of Jesus is celebrated on January 3 under the new most recent RCC guidelines. It was celebrated on January 2 prior to its suppression in 1969. It was restored to the liturgical calendar in 2002. The PNCC celebrates the Holy Name of Jesus on January 2, as it generally observes the older Roman calendar.

Eastern Christianity keeps January 6 as the Feast of the Theophany and retains an octave for the period. The PNCC also retains an octave for the Epiphany, also celebrated on January 6. The difference between the Theophany and the Epiphany is beyond the scope of this article but suffice it to say both days celebrate the manifestation of the Godhead by Jesus. The RCC celebrates the Epiphany on January 6 or it may be transferred to the Sunday after January 1. The octave of the Epiphany was suppressed in 1955 when almost all octaves were removed from the Roman calendar.

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