Epiphany in Jerusalem


In the late 300’s a woman named Egeria took a tour of biblical sites.  She left an extensive journal.

The eight-day Epiphany celebration in Palestine began in Bethlehem.  Monks and others walked slowly to Jerusalem arriving just before daybreak.  They went to the Anastasis (resurrection) which was lit by numerous lights.  The service included psalms and prayer.  The bishop blessed the catechumens, the monks and worshippers.  Then everyone went home to rest, while the monks remained to recite hymns.  An hour after sunrise everyone gathered at the greater church located at Golgotha which was built by Constantine and adorned by his mother with gold and gems with veils of gold striped silk.

The service included preaching, lessons, and hymns.  Then everyone went to the Anastasis (resurrection) for another service that lasted until about noon.  The second and third days followed the same pattern.  On the fourth day the Mt. of Olives was included.  On day five they walked 1,500 paces outside Jerusalem to the site of Lazarus resurrection.  Zion was included on the sixth day.  Then back to the Anastasis for the seventh day.  The festival included the place of the Cross on the eighth day.

Egeria reported that immense crowds flocked together to Jerusalem for the concluding day of the festival.

To You, O Lord, all glory be

For this Your blest epiphany;

To God, whom all His hosts adore,

And Holy Spirit evermore.  LSB 401, 6




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