Beliefsbeliefscatholicismprotestantspagansmythsandlies

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 11:06 AM

Did the Church Steal Christmas From Pagan Rome?

Now despite what you may have heard, it was the Roman pagans who stole the December 25 celebration from us.

Though it's true that in AD 275, the Roman Emperor Aurelian fabricated December 25 as the pagan “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” celebration at the calendar point when daylight began to lengthen, he didn't randomly chose December 25. If the Emperor had wanted to celebrate the winter solstice, he would have used December 21 as the day of this pagan festival.

That should serve as the first clue.

Aurelian was very worried about the seemingly miraculous progress Christianity had made in this Empire and so, in a misguided effort to take the wind out of the Christians' sails, he established Sol Invictus on the very day we had always been celebrating Christ's birth.

In addition, St. Hippolytus of Rome, in his Chronicle written in AD 234, a full 39 years before Aurelian created his pagan festival, clearly explains that Jesus' birth “took place eight days before the calends of January,” that is, December 25.

Oddly, the “December 25 pagan sun festival” idea was originally proffered 300 years ago by Protestant historian Paul Ernst Jablonski. He published his conjecture without offering any proof whatsoever and today, we scramble to explain to people who would rather believe gossip rather than read a history book why they are wrong.

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/astagnaro/did-the-church-steal-christmas-from-pagan-rome

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Response to TM999 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 11:37 AM

1. How do you "steal" a date, and/or a celebration?

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Response to JaimeBondoJr (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 01:12 PM

6. The claim for about the last 300 years

has been that the Catholic Church 'stole' all of the dates and celebrations from the pagans.

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Response to TM999 (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 01:17 PM

7. Well then. Surely someone needs to be prosecuted for this egregious act.

Egregious I say.

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Response to JaimeBondoJr (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 01:31 PM

8. Seems a bit extreme.

I prefer educating folks with history and facts to dispel them of their biases and myths taught to them for hundreds of years quite erroneously.

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Response to TM999 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 12:38 PM

2. The solstice has been celebrated in many cultures for millennia

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Response to His Daughter (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 01:10 PM

4. Yup, it sure has...on the Solstice which is December 21st.

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Response to TM999 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 12:55 PM

3. we usially consider christmas as descended from the saturnalia, not sol invictus

the saturnalia itself is descended from the greek kronia, originating in prehistory.

the actual dates of these festivals varied, as they were used to align the solar and lunar years. as such they were outside of time, and ruled by a fool who was granted great sexual and general latitude before his sacrifice on new years eve.

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Response to rampartb (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 01:11 PM

5. Saturnalia was pre-December 25th.

There were no lunar years at that point in Roman history.

Next.

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Response to TM999 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 01:41 PM

9. Yet Christians did not settle on the 25th December until well after 275CE

Last edited Mon Dec 24, 2018, 02:17 PM - Edit history (1)

By most accounts, the birth was first thought — in around 200 A.D. — to have taken place on Jan. 6. Why? Nobody knows, but it may have been the result of “a calculation based on an assumed date of crucifixion of April 6 coupled with the ancient belief that prophets died on the same day as their conception,” according to religionfacts.com. By the mid-fourth century, the birthday celebration had been moved to Dec. 25. Who made the decision? Some accounts say it was the pope; others say it wasn’t.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/12/25/why-is-christmas-on-dec-25-a-brief-history-lesson-that-may-surprise-you/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ba61ef0feff7

Finally, in about 200 C.E., a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born. According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups. Surprising as it may seem, Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all. Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of Pachon … And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth ; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi the Savior suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi .”2
...
The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”3 In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation. Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C.E. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition.
https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/

ETA: Our colleague has me on Ignore (his safe space). If anyone cares enough, feel free to copy and past this post into a reply of your own.

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Response to TM999 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2018, 03:01 PM

10. The first official date of Christmas was 336 AD by Consantine

A few years later it was decreed a holyday by Julius 1.

With the change of calendars- Saturnalia and sol invictus changed to the 25th , but with the old Julian calendar it was the 21st.

These were pagan festivals. The trimming of a tree supposedly had it start in druid culture of England.

But it all doesn't matter. If one chooses to honor Jesus on the 25th or not it is fine! Just do or do not do to the glory of God!

Romans 14 is the definitive answer for followers of Christ!

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

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Response to TM999 (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2018, 11:06 AM

11. I've been studying Nordic Pagan culture for quite a while

The Nordic holiday was a respite beginning Dec. 21st lasting until Jan 9th.

These were pre-science days. They huddled in frozen areas praying for the Sun to come back and weren't really sure it was happening until Jan. 9th.

I'm proud the Catholic Church took the steps necessary to integrate itself with Nordic culture and in no way diminishes Christianity, which I fiercely defend.

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