Feast of Circumcision

This feast occurs on 6 .

The practice of circumcision started with , in fulfillment of God’s covenant (Gn. 17:9-14), by which every male child should be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. According to the , however, the sanctity of this was superseded by the sacrament of Holy . Consequently, just as the uncircumcised were not allowed to partake of the Passover lamb, those who have not been baptized are not allowed to partake of : “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the ” (Col. 2:11-12). reiterates this point in most of his epistles, but he sums it up succinctly in Galatians: “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Gal. 6:15).

During the apostolic age, a controversy arose as to whether circumcision was essential as a religious practice. The apostles met in 51-52 at and agreed to send Paul and Barnabas, accompanied by Judas Barsabas and Silas, to to settle the issue by explaining the real significance of circumcision in the light of the teachings of the New Testament (Acts 15:1-29).

Article 51 (7-13) of ’s Al-Majmu‘ al-Safawi (The Legal Compendium) states that circumcision is a practice followed out of habit and not in compliance with any religious ordinance, and that, though optional, it should not be carried out once a person has been baptized. Likewise, Bishop of explained that circumcision was not prescribed for females either prior to, or following, baptism (a remark quoted by Ibn al-‘Assal).

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