Epiphany

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Epiphany

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:22 pm

• epiphany •


Pronunciation: ê-pi-fê-ni • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, count

Meaning: 1. (Epiphany) The Christian celebration on January 6 of the visit of the Three Wise Men to the newly born Christ. 2. The sudden appearance of a divine being. 3. A profound insight brought on suddenly by some experience, usually with spiritual overtones.

Notes: Despite this word's having passed through Latin on its way to us, it has produced only one relative: the adjective epiphanic. It may, of course, be extended to an adverb, epiphanically, but that is the end of the derivational line of epiphany.

In Play: Secular epiphanies are sudden, brought on by some event that has a profound effect: "Talking with you the other night, Madeleine, I had an epiphany; I suddenly realized how important children, a family, and a home are to me." An epiphany is much more than a bright idea, though; it has to make a profound difference in our attitudes and the way we behave: "After 20 years of planning for the future, it suddenly dawned on Dennis like an epiphany that he should live his life as if every day were his last."

Word History: Like so many English words, today's Good Word comes to us from Latin epiphania via French. The Romans picked it up from Greek epiphaneia "manifestation", a word derived from epiphainein "to manifest, display", made up of epi "on, over" + phainein "to show". The same root appears in Latin phantasia "appearance, imagination", which we rewrote as fantasy. This root also went into the making of Greek theophaneia, a noun derived from theophantos "revealed by a god" and containing theos "god" + phainein "to show". Old French reduced it to tiphanie, at which point English borrowed it, respelled the [f] sound, and used it to name tiffany, the thin gauzy muslin fabric—and the family responsible for the expensive jewelry and colorful lamps. (Today's Good Word was suggested by Gianni Tamburini, who enjoys the minor epiphanies words bring us with other web-footed verbivores in the Alpha Agora.)
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Re: Epiphany

Postby George Kovac » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:09 pm

Several news sources reported this religious development, which has political implications within the former Soviet Union. What attracted my attention was not the politics but the divinely pre-figured name of the central player in this religious drama.

Last weekend, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church formally severed its ties with the Russian Orthodox Church and, with the blessings of the metropolitan in Istanbul (regarded as the first among equals in Orthodox Christianity), assumed autocephalous status. The Ukrainian Orthodox bishops elected as their first leader the wonderfully named Epifany Dumenko, who henceforth shall be known as Metropolitan Epifany.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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Re: Epiphany

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:23 am

This will, however, further strain the relations between
Moscow and Kiev. One would wonder if Bartholomew
in Istanbul had any consultation from any serious counsel
before making his decision.
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Re: Epiphany

Postby George Kovac » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:22 pm

Well, Luke, you may be on to something. The relation of Moscow/Kiev/Istanbul has always been, well, less than divine. Politics and religion have been inextricably mixed in Ukraine ever since the time of Vladimir the Great, and this latest development shows that, at least since the writing of Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun.

In 987, looking for something a bit more fashionable than tribal paganism, Vladimir sent envoys to examine the leading religions of the world (at least as he knew it) and determined that Eastern Orthodox Christianity was the best. And so the people of Ukraine instantly became orthodox Christians. Vladimir’s religious analysis was aided, no doubt, by the fact that Constantinople was then the richest and most powerful city in the world, directly accessible by water from Kiev, and would make a useful trading and military ally. Ukrainians are fond of reminding themselves that rustic Moscow was converted to Christianity by Kyivan missionaries. While Kiev is historically the ‘mother’ church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church ultimately devolved into a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church. I lived in Kiev (or Kyiv— Київ in Ukrainian—as the locals prefer) briefly in 1992, as the Soviet Union dissolved. Religious practices of all kind became popular, not the least of which was adherence to Ukrainian Orthodoxy as part of the overall zeal to throw off reminders of centuries of cultural and political domination by Russia, especially during the Soviet era. The formal separation of the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox governing structures is the inevitable consequence of the ferment released in 1992. The restoration of the Ukrainian language is another.

So, it’s complicated. For the purposes of the Good Word (that is, the Good Word as preached by Dr. Goodword on alphaDictionary.com), I try to step around politics and religion and enjoy the revelations of vocabulary and etymology. So, while the layers of human experience in Kiev are messy, I delight in a name like Metropolitan Epifany.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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Re: Epiphany

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:14 pm

I am surprised he did not declare himself a Patriarch. Isn't
Metropolitan sort of like an Archbishop of a major see?
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Re: Epiphany

Postby George Kovac » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:32 pm

Good question. I defer to someone who has a deeper knowledge of the ranking of Orthodox hierarchy. The difference between "metropolitan" vs. "patriarch" is all Greek to me.

However, I do know that the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Egypt, not Virginia) is called both the "Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of Saint Mark", and the "Coptic Pope".

Lots of Good Words to unpack in all those titles.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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Re: Epiphany

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:01 am

As I recall from teaching this stuff for 35 years (which ended 20 years ago), there is a patriarch for every country but one metropolitan over the entire Russian Orthodox Church.

The Ukraine ("the" as in the United States, the United Kingdom, etc.) was once a dominion of Russia, settled by the cossacks. The cossacks were Russian peasants who refused to become serfs as Moscow was enserfing peasants back in the Middle Ages. The name Ukraine comes from the Russian phrase u krayu "on the periphery, edge", since Moscow controlled all but its periphery. So, the Russian peasants who fled Moscow wanted to be as far from Moscow as possible.

The cossacks were fighters. Every spring they held a council and decided who they would attack that summer. It was usually Poland. Since the czar often had a beef with Poland, he would pay the cossacks to fight for him. The cossacks maintained their independence for centuries by serving the tsar in this capacity; in fact, the czar ended up paying the cossacks an annual subsidy which soon became the cossacks undoing.

When Poland finally disappeared from the map of Europe after the third partition, the cossacks kept in form by turning on the Jews of Russia. Nikolai Gogol's Taras Bulba is a sharp fictional analysis of those tragedies. (I'm sure this was more information than was necessary, but I have surprised myself at how much I remember. My point was that the Ukraine was where Russia started; the first capital of what is now Russia was Kiev.)
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Re: Epiphany

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:51 pm

This interesting: "At present there are nine Orthodox patriarchates: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Except in the title, there is no difference between a patriarch and any other head of an autocephalous (independent) church."

from: https://www.britannica.com/topic/patria ... -Orthodoxy
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Re: Epiphany

Postby George Kovac » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:37 am

I would be remiss not to observe that Metropolitan Epifany joins my short list of delightfully named ecclesiastical office-holders: Who could forget the Catholic leader of the Philippines (who was an effective opponent of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos) Jaime Sin, otherwise known as Cardinal Sin? And, of course, the Roman Catholic pope from 461 to 468, Pope Hilarius.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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Re: Epiphany

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:07 pm

:lol:
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