19 January 2010, Tuesday, 10:32
author: Eugene Rakhimkulov
Orthodox Christians of our country celebrate the Epiphany today and this feast is considered one of the most ancient in Christianity. Originally it was called Epiphania (phenomenon) or Theophany.
The history of the feast is connected with the legend about Jesus Christ’s christening by John the Forerunner in Jordan. The second name of the feast is the Twelfth day because that day the God had appeared in the world as three persons: the Godson – Jesus Christ- was christened in Jordan, the Holy Spirit came as a pigeon and the Godfather testified Jesus Christ with the call from heaven.
The word “christen” means “submerge in water” in translation from the Greek language and the essence of the ceremony is deeply symbolical. Water was always considered the beginning and the source of life.
In the Epiphany night all Christian churches perform water consecration and long queues of Christian believers stretch near the churches to take the holy water. This water possesses healing properties. It doesn’t go bad and there is no need to keep it in a fridge. The believers always keep the bottles with holy water near the icons.
Along with the Russian Orthodox Christian Church the Epiphany by the Julian calendar is celebrated by the adherents of Jerusalem, Georgian, Serbian and some other churches – more than 200 million Orthodox Christians all over the world in total complexity.