- The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. (no. 528)
My own approach to the three feasts has been influenced by taking part in many a Three Kings Pilgrimage in different parts of the world. Started by the Boy Scouts in Europe after the Second World War, the Three Kings Pilgrimage is based on the texts of St. Sophronius. There are three stations: the adoration of the magi, the baptism at the Jordan, and the wedding feast of Cana.
In recent years, it has become the new custom to recite the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. See how these mysteries begin with our feast of today, and follow closely the liturgical year of the Catholic Church:
- The Baptism at the Jordan
- The Wedding at Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
My understanding of these events has been changed recently by the book by Phil Booth, Crisis of Empire: Doctrine and Dissent at the End of Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage Series, Univ. of California Press 2013). Booth looks at three pivotal figures: St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, St. Maximus Confessor and John Moschus. He explores how these great thinkers had to stop thinking of Christianity as a part of "the Roman Empire", as a part of the Classical World, indeed, as a part of "civilization". Especially Sophroniuys explicated a vision of the Catholic Church that was truly universal, transcending all local (and therefore limited) cultures and nations even while subsisting in those local cultures. "In the world but not of it ..."