Twelfth Night begins at sunset on 05
January and proceeds to the day of Epiphany which commemorate the manifestation
of the Christ-child to the Magi who by tradition travelled from the East
bearing prophetic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The western church of Rome believes their
number to have been three but the eastern Orthodox church increases this to
twelve and also extends the Christmas festive season to forty days expiring
with Candlemas on 2nd February.
There will then follow the sombre days of Lenten fasting; from 22
February to 06 April in 2023.
By coincidence, the minor Jewish fast
day of 10th of Tevet occurred this year on 03 January and
commemorated the commencement in 588 BCE of the siege of Jerusalem by
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. This
culminated two years later with the complete destruction of Solomon´s Temple
and the first diaspora of the Jews of Judea either into captive slavery or
flight eastwards as far as India or westwards along the Mediterranean basin to Iberia. The magnitude of this disaster was repeated
on an even greater scale in AD 70 when the Roman general Titus ravaged
Jerusalem, destroyed its second Temple and killed, as the historian Josephus
records, one million of the inhabitants.
The exodus of what remained of God´s chosen people followed the
footsteps of the twelve Jewish apostles who had spread the word of the gospels
following the crucifixion of their Lord.
Let us hope that, during the twelve
months of this New Year, people of all
faiths and doctrines will experience a personal epiphany which will end the
moral torpidity which seems to be leading mankind to a repetition of those dreadful
historic events and the destruction of
the Temple which is our planet Earth.