The Feast of the Holy Theophany

English Language Study for Russian Orthodox Learners

The Feast of the Holy Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christaudio button
(January 6/ January 19)

the Baptism of JesusThe Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ commemorates the Baptism of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan River.  All Three Persons of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – manifested at the Baptism.  The word “Theophany” is of Greek origin and means “manifestation of God.”  The Feast of Theophany falls on the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

The story of the Baptism of Jesus is recorded by all four evangelists:  Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

John the Forerunner was chosen by God to proclaim the coming of Jesus and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  He baptized people who wanted to be ready to meet our Saviour.  Free from sin, pure and holy, Jesus did not need to be baptized.  He took the sins of the world upon Himself.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.  At first, St. John said that he was not worthy, and that Jesus should baptize him.  The Lord told him that they needed to fulfil all righteousness.

When Jesus came out of the water, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove.  Then the voice of God the Father came from heaven saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved, with Whom I am well pleased.”

On the feast of the Holy Theophany, the Orthodox Church performs the Great Blessing of the Waters. The blessed water is taken home by the faithful.  The tradition of the Blessing of the Waters is very old.  It started in the Church of Jerusalem in the first centuries after Jesus’ Resurrection when processions of early Jerusalem Christians went to the Jordan River to commemorate the Baptism of our Saviour.

Great Blessing of Waters on TheophanyВеликое освящение воды на праздник
Крещения Господня в наши дни


Galilee [ˎgӕ lǝ ′lɪ:]
Jerusalem [dʒəˈruːsləm]
Jordan [ˈdʒɔːdn]

Словарь к тексту

Theophany  [θɪ ′ɒfǝnɪ]  Богоявление
commemorate, v.  [kəˈmeməreɪt]  праздновать, отмечать, чтить память
baptism, n.  [ˈbæptɪzəm]  крещение
the Holy Trinity  Святая Троица
manifest, v.  [ˈmænɪfest]  являть, обнаруживать, делать очевидным
manifestation, n.  [mænɪfesˈteɪʃən]  проявление
repentance, n.  [rɪˈpentəns]  покаяние
baptize, v.  [bӕpˈtaɪz]  крестить
fulfil, v.  [fulˈfɪl]  выполнять, исполнять
heavens, n.  [ˈhevns]  небеса
descend, v.  [dɪˈsend]  сойти, спуститься
faithful, n.  [ˈfeɪθful]  верующий