By Father Theophan
Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church
Thursday Jan. 19, the Orthodox world celebrated Holy Theophany, the baptism of Jesus Christ by John in the Jordan River at the beginning of his earthly ministry. St. Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church in Los Alamos celebrated the Day the evening before on Wednesday with a vesperal liturgy.
Paired with the Nativity of Christ two weeks ago, these are some of the holiest days on the Church calendar. Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, became man, became matter, and shows once again that creation is good and blesses it with his presence.
One of the ancient traditions of the Orthodox Church will be reiterated on the following Sunday Jan. 22. The faithful people of St. Job parish, after liturgy, will process to Ashley Pond and there bless the waters. Prayers and psalms will be sung, then a cross will be thrown into the water three times.
Along with the blessing of the waters of Ashley Pond, Father Theophan will bless more water to become holy water, to be shared with the faithful and to bless them in turn.
Over the next few weeks Father Theophan will use the holy water to bless the homes of the people of the parish.
The Great Blessing of Water is not magic. Blessings do not ensure good health, prosperity, or any other physical reward. True blessings are those things that make us more aware of the presence of God. Oftentimes blessings are not easy or convenient. Even things that we would consider struggles, if they lead us toward God are blessings.
The word “Theophany” is closely related to the word “epiphany”. Epiphany is a sudden revelation of the true nature of something. Theophany is a revelation of the nature God. In his baptism in the Jordan River, the trinity of God was made apparent. Christ was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him, and the Father spoke from Heaven. Orthodox Christians worship God in this Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
A cross breaks through the icy water at Ashley Pond Wednesday celebrating Holy Theophany. Courtesy/Fr. Theophan