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This is an Orthodox Christian celebration. The Feast of the Holy Theophany (Epiphany) is celebrated each year on January 6. The Feast commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—were made manifest. Thus, the name of the Feast is Epiphany, meaning manifestation, or Theophany, meaning manifestation of God.
The celebration of this Feast begins on January 5, a day known as the Forefeast of Theophany. Depending on the day of the week, this could be an evening service with Vespers followed by the Liturgy of Saint Basil or a morning service with Matins and the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. Following the service on January 5, the service of the Blessing of the Waters is conducted. Prior to the evening or morning service the Royal Hours with the Typika are said.
On January 6, the day of the Feast, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is conducted preceded by Matins and followed by the second Blessing of the Waters.
The Blessing of the Waters is conducted in the church; however in many places throughout the world services are conducted near open bodies of water. As a sign of blessing as Christ blessed the Jordan, holy water is poured into the body of water. An associated tradition has been the tossing of a cross into the water to be retrieved by divers.
The holy water from the church is given to the faithful to consume and to use in blessing their homes. In the weeks following the Feast, clergy visit the homes of parishioners and conduct a service of blessing using the holy water that was blessed on the Feast of Theophany.
DetailsContact: Becky Lamyman