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Dedication is the act of consecrating an altar, temple, church, or other sacred building.

Feast of Dedication

The Feast of Dedication, today Hanukkah, once also called "Feast of the Maccabees," is a Jewish festival observed for eight days from the 25th of Kislev (usually in December, but occasionally late November, due to the lunisolar calendar). It was instituted in the year 165 B.C. by Judas Maccabeus, his brothers, and the elders of the congregation of Israel in commemoration of the reconsecration of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and especially of the altar of burnt offerings, after they had been desecrated during the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes (168 BC). The significant happenings of the festival were the illumination of houses and synagogues, a custom probably taken over from the Feast of Tabernacles, and the recitation of Psalm 30:1-12.[1] According to the Second Book of Chronicles, the dedication of Solomon's Temple took place in the week before the Feast of Tabernacles.[2] J. Wellhausen, an antisemitic theologian, suggests that the feast was originally connected with the winter solstice, and only afterwards with the events narrated in Maccabees.[3]

The Feast of Dedication is also mentioned in John 10:22, where the writer mentions Jesus being at the Jerusalem Temple during "the Feast of Dedication" and further notes "and it was winter". The Greek term used in John is "the renewals" (Greek , ta enkainia).[4] Josephus refers to the festival in Greek simply as "lights."[5]

Dedication of churches

Churches under the authority of a bishop (e.g., Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican) are usually dedicated by the bishop in a ceremony that used to be called that of consecration, but is now called that of dedication. For the Catholic Church, the rite of dedication is described in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum, chapters IX-X, and in the Roman Missals Ritual Masses for the Dedication of a Church and an Altar. In the Church of England, a consecrated church may only be closed for worship after a legal process (a "pastoral scheme").

Child dedication

A child dedication ceremony takes place in some Christian churches that practice adult baptism. The child is presented to the congregation, and vows are made to raise him or her in the Christian tradition (similar to an infant baptism ceremony), but the child is not baptised, as some churches only accept adult or 'believers' baptism.[6]

Dedication of a marriage or relationship

Some denominations offer a dedication for a marriage or relationship. A service of dedication is used in the Church of England to bless a couple after a civil marriage.[7] The Church of England's Diocese of Hereford "voted to support a motion calling on the House of Bishops to 'commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage'."[8][9] Individual Anglican congregations in England may already offer same-sex couples "a special service of prayer and dedication."[10]

See also



  1. ^ The biblical references are 1 Maccabees 1:41-64, 4:36-39; 2 Maccabees 6:1-11; John 10:22. See also 2 Maccabees 1:9, 18; 2:16; and Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XII. v. 4.
  2. ^ Barnes, A., Barnes' Notes on 2 Chronicles 7, accessed 19 April 2020
  3. ^ Warren 1911, p. 918.
  4. ^ Andreas J. Köstenberger John 2004 "... incident occurred only about one month later (December 18-25).57 This is the first reference to the Feast of Dedication by this name (ta egkainia, ta enkainia [a typical "festive plural"]) in Jewish literature (Hengel 1999: 317). "
  5. ^ Mercer Dictionary of the Bible ed. Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard, 1990. "Hence Hanukkah also is called the Feast of Lights, an alternate title Josephus confirms with this rationale: 'And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it "Lights".' I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival." (Per The works of Flavius Josephus translated by William Whiston.)
  6. ^ "What does the Reformed Church believe about child dedication | Reformed Church in America". Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Prayer and Dedication after Civil Marriage". Archived from the original on 2011-04-23. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Rudgard, Olivia (2017-10-20). "Church of England to debate services for same-sex couples after bishop backs diocese call". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved .
  9. ^ Hereford, Diocese of. "Statement regarding Diocesan Synod motion". Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Weddings and Blessings after Civil Services | St Andrews". Retrieved .


External links

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