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Theophany / Epiphany


*As we celebrate Transfiguration tomorrow, I recall another momentous
occasion -- the feast of Theophany/ Epiphany. In January 2008, we celebrated
this feast at East Coast Park together with 'the Russians'. It is not common
to find such joy between parishioners from the Greek Patriarchate and the
Moscow Patriarchate, so it was a real blessing. The Russians have really
warmed up to us... I dare say that they even get a joke now and then... haha

At the time of the celebration, I had been baptized an Orthodox Christian
for about 8months (Easter 2007) after a yearlong catechism. As a small but
international parish of local Singaporeans, Russians, Romanians, Ukrainians,
Greeks, Thais, Americans, British, Australians, etc, we did not feel it was
odd or out of place to have a big cohort of black-robed clergymen and nuns
parade down the beach which we usually associate with high school barbecues.
But I am sure that everyone else there thought it was an eye-opening
experience.

My brother had the good sense to bring along a Lomo camera, and the photos
were beautiful. I share them in this post, along with some background for
those not familiar with Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

 
From Wikipedia:**
*
Epiphany (Greek for "to manifest" or "to show"), is a Christian feast
day which celebrates the revelation of God in human form in the person
of Jesus Christ. Usually called the Feast of Theophany (Greek: Θεοφάνεια,
"God shining forth" or "divine manifestation"), it is one of the Great
Feasts of the liturgical year, being third in rank, behind
only Pascha (Easter) and Pentecost in importance. The earliest reference to
the feast in the Eastern Church is a remark by St. Clement of Alexandria in
*Stromateis*, I, xxi, 45:

And there are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's
birth, but also the day... And the followers of Basilides hold the day of his
baptism as a festival, spending the night before in readings. And they say
that it was the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, the fifteenth day of
the month of Tubi; and some that it was the eleventh of the same month.


(The 11th and 15th of Tubi are January 6 and 10 respectively.)

Today in Eastern Orthodox churches, the emphasis at this feast is on the
shining forth and revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Second
Person of the Trinity at the time of his baptism. It is also celebrated
because, according to tradition, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
River by St. John the Baptist marked one of only two occasions when all
three Persons of the Trinity manifested themselves simultaneously to
humanity: God the Father by speaking through the clouds, God the Son being
baptized in the river, and God the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove
descending from heaven (the other occasion was the Transfiguration on Mount
Tabor). Thus the holy day is considered to be a Trinitarian feast.

The Orthodox consider Jesus' Baptism to be the first step towards
the Crucifixion, and there are some parallels in the hymnography used on
this day and the hymns chanted on Good Friday. 
play  play
Click on the image to see a larger size.


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