Feast of the Theophany is one of the oldest holy days celebrated by churches throughout the world. This has been celebrated since the second century by orthodox Christians and predates the celebrations of Christmas by over 100 years .It carries a great significance in Christianity for its deep theological implication.
You seem to be feeling very inquisitive to learn what this feast is all about? Well, the word theophany actually is a Greek word meaning showing forth of God or the the manifestation of God . Orthodox Christians celebrate Feast of Theophany as the day of
Jesus Christ’s Baptism and the revelation of God as Trinity (Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; Mt.3: 13-17). This holyday has been named Theophany, as on this day, with the baptism of Christ the Holy Trinity emerged clearly before the mankind for the first time.
Now, you might be engrossed in Trinitarian theology. Well, it is the cornerstone of the Christian faith which rightly defines the True God. He sent his only son for the sake of the restitution of all creations back to its Creator. Therefore, for the early Church, Theophany was the foundational expression of the truth of the Gospel.
Baptism of Jesus
When Jesus was thirty, he went to meet John the Baptist from Galilee to Jordan to get baptized on the banks of the river Jordan, where John tried to deny baptizing him. According to him Jesus should have baptized him instead of him baptizing Jesus. Jesus answered that, it was fitting him for fulfilling all righteousness.
While Jesus was in the water, Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. Then the holy Father s who appeared as a dove, prophesized from heaven that the Son of God has appeared in the flesh and standing physically in the Jordan.
Celebrations on this holyday
The Christmas Season concludes with the feast of the Theophany, which begins on December 25 and ends on January 6. The services for the feast of Theophany are laid down precisely as those of the Nativity. If you learn historically, that Christmas services were recognized later.
The Feast of Theophany is the day when God and the Savior of the world – Jesus blessed all the waters of the world with his occurrence in the Jordan River. The Churches commemorate the great moment by blessing streams, rivers or lakes nearby each community.
On the eve of the feast, The Royal Hours are read out and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served with Vespers. A Vigil is made up of Great Compline and Matins.
For many centuries this event has been piously celebrated with the great blessing of water being performed on this day. The local priests bless the homes of the faithful with holy water.
People present in services on the Feast of the Theophany bring a container in which they take home some of the holy water from the services. The holy water is kept in the home for use throughout the year.
This is especially popular with eastern European tradition to have their home blessed by the parish priest, which is followed by the Feast of the Theophany with the holy water that was blessed during the services on that day.
The Orthodox Theophany hymn suggests that when Jesus was baptized in Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made evident. The Feast of the Theophany is considered as one of the most important events in the history of salvation.
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