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January Religious Holidays , Three Hierach’s Day & More

While a great deal of people celebrate Christmas Day on December 25, many Rastafarians observe the holiday on January 7th. In this article, you will also encounter religious holidays observed in Norway, France, and within the Eastern Christian churches.

Rastafarian Christmas

The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Calendar, which is the religious calendar. This date was followed by Haile Selassie I, who was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. According to the Rastafarian faith, the Messiah also observed this date.

St. Thorfinn Feast Day

The feast day of St. Thorfinn is observed on January 8. Thorfinn lived between 1230 and 1285, but his life had come to light 50 years after his death. Renovation at the church where his tomb was housed uncovered his coffin. Opened by accident, his remains emitted a strong, pleasant scent. This prompted the abbot to research Thorfinn. He was able to speak with an old monk (Walter de Muda), who knew Thorfinn.

Thorfinn was known to possess a “gentle goodness” that accompanied his patience, generosity and firmness against evil and ungodliness. Father Walter even wrote a poem paying homage to Thorfinn, which he placed in the tomb. When the monks went looking for the poem, they uncovered the parchment , looking new and fresh. The monks took this as a sign that God wanted Thorfinn honored and remembered.

People began praying to Thorfinn. Around his tomb, miracles started to take place.  Father Walter was asked to write all of the things he could remember about Thorfinn. It was revealed that he had originated from Norway and was a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Tautra. It is likely that he later served at the cathedral as a priest.

Thorfinn had come from Norway and was a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Tautra. Later he had probably served at the cathedral as a priest. It seems that Thorfinn had signed an important document while at the cathedral. News spread of St. Thorfinn’s holiness and the miracles at his tomb. Because of this, the Cistercians and Catholics in Hamar, Norway became devoted to him and still honor and celebrate his feast day.

St. Charlemagne’s Day

Despite the name, Charlemagne (which translates into ‘Charles the Great’) wasn’t actually a saint, but instead, was an emperor that became the first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. Crowned in 800 by Pope Leo III, Charlemagne showed a great interest in education and because of this, college students in France celebrate him as a saint and hero. Interestingly, the man never learned how to read and write for himself, but is responsible for founding the University of Paris.

During Charlemagne’s reign, advancements in culture took place, including great strides in literature, scholarship, and philosophy. St. Charlemagne’s Day is still celebrated on January 28. College students in France hold champagne breakfasts where professors and the lead students recite poems and give speeches.

Three Hierach’s Day

The Three Hierach’s Day (or Three Holy Hierarchs) is an Eastern Christianity observance that makes reference to Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian (also known as Gregory of Nazianzus) and John Chrysostom. These three bishops were highly influential during the early church days. They played significant roles in influencing the theology of Christians. The three were also called the Three Great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers within Eastern Christianity circles. The Roman Catholics referred to the bishops as the Doctors of the Church.