Circumcision, Festival of the (2)
Circumcision, Festival Of The is the octave of Christmas. We present some further particulars on this subject:
"Its present name does not date earlier than the 6th or 7th century, and commemorates the shedding of our Lord's infant blood in conformity with the Mosaic law. The festival was established in the time of Leo the Great, but its occurrence on January 1 is not mentioned before the Council of Tours, held in 567. It is marked in the ancient calendars, and in the martyrology of Jerome, Bede, and Usuard. The 'Sacramentary' of St. Gregory defines it 'in the Lord's octave.' The day was fixed in order to efface the relics of pagan superstition; and so in ancient missals two masses are appointed, one being called the mass to divert from idols. A fast was also observed at Milan and elsewhere, until the 9th century. In 578 the Council of Auxerre prohibited Christians from disguising themselves as stags or calves on the calends of Janulary, and a penitential of Angers enjoined three years' penance for a similar offence. The second Council of Ton'rs, in 567, required all priests and monks to have public prayer in church on this day; and the Council of Trullo forbade the observance of the calends."