Epiphany January 19: the essence of the holiday
The baptism of the Lord is often called the Epiphany. Many believe that by different names means the same holiday, because both events fall on January 19th. However, the Epiphany initially had a completely different meaning.
history of the holiday
Epiphany — one of the oldest Christian holidays, formerly called the «phenomenon» or «Enlightenment.» He was devoted at once to three episodes of the Gospel story: the birth of the Savior, the coming of the Magi and the baptism of Christ in the waters of the Jordan River. Epiphany was celebrated on January 6, and the main attention was paid to the fact of the Savior’s birth into the world — the appearance of the God-man in the earthly world.
However, the distribution of semantic accents in different Christian communities differed. Someone gave the primary meaning to Christmas, someone singled out Baptism. That is why, over time, Christmas was divided with the Epiphany, highlighting it on a separate holiday on December 25, and it is on this date that Christmas is still celebrated by the Catholic Church.
Epiphany was still celebrated on January 6, honoring two events on this day: the arrival of the Magi and the Baptism of the Savior.
The subsequent development of the holiday in Catholicism and Orthodoxy took place in different ways. In the Catholic tradition, the Epiphany was increasingly associated with the offering of gifts by the Magi, and in the Orthodox — with the Baptism of the Lord.
The essence of the Epiphany in the Orthodox tradition
Nowadays, baptism and Epiphany are one and the same holiday. The essence of the Epiphany compared with the meaning that this holiday had in antiquity, has changed significantly. Now the word «Epiphany» means that at the time of the mystery of baptism of the Savior the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and with a divine voice announced that the Son of God came to the world.
Thus, during the washing of Christ in the waters of Jordan, the Lord revealed himself in three ways: God the Son, God the Father, who sent his voice from heaven, and the Holy Spirit, descended in the form of a bird. The secret of the Divine Trinity was revealed to believers.
Celebration of the Epiphany
Festive divine services begin on the evening of January 18, on the Epiphany Eve, also called the Evening of the Epiphany. At this time, the water blessing takes place: clergymen sanctify water in Jordan — cruciform ice-holes, where the believers are dipped for spiritual cleansing on the night of January 18-19 and throughout the holiday. It is believed that the baptismal water has special healing properties, and therefore washing with it helps to get rid of moral and physical ailments. Also on Epiphany should take the baptismal water home.
A small container with it should be put in a red corner, and a part of it should be saved for the whole year — the Epiphany water cannot deteriorate.
Baptism, or Epiphany, is the most important holiday for every believer. Meet him with joy in your heart and peace in your soul, do good and give positive emotions to others — on bright calendar dates this is especially important. We wish you well-being and happiness, and do not forget to press buttons and