The Bright Light of Theophany: An Afterthought for the Afterfeast

“For as many of you as have 
been baptized into Christ 
have put on Christ” Galatians 3:27

On January 19 we celebrated one of the most important Feast days – Theophany.

Today the nature of waters is sanctified, / and the Jordan is parted in two, / it hold back the stream of its own waters, / seeing the Master wash himself.

At a certain moment, the dark gray and gloomy clouds began to clear up and disappear and in their place, you could see streaks of sunshine. The light of the white sun began to warm the snow covered tree branches, the snow-white fields and the frozen lampposts. Everything began to glimmer and to glow in a silver shade. It even seemed as if the birds began to sing with more joy.

“When you, O lord were baptized in the Jordan…” – you could hear outside in the distance

I looked out the window to see a procession from the main cathedral, which consisted of several monastics, and priests, walking slowly, singing piously and it seemed as if the words came out together with the vapor. One of the nuns held the holy water in shining golden chalice, the rest were beautifully singing the troparion of the feast day along with the priests. The priest meanwhile, sprinkled everyone without stopping or losing a step, both children and adults. The children were eager to be sprinkled with holy water and their gleaming smiles joyfully met the drops of water, while the adults seemed more cautious and stayed away from the cold water.

The feast of Theophany has arrived, I thought to myself while observing how the sisters-novices were helping the brothers disassemble the Nativity scene. Even the mood became a bit dreary with the thoughts on how quickly the time has passed. There was a feeling that one could use a few more days of the after-feast in order to glorify and celebrate the Nativity of our Lord. Soon another evening service will begin, during which we will be able to hear, to listen and understand the meaning of the feast day:

Christ is baptized.
He comes up from the water.
With Himself He raises up the world.
He sees the heavens opened which Adam has shut
Against Himself and His posterity.
The Spirit affirms the divinity,
Since He rushes to join One Who is also divine.
A voice comes from heaven,
for from heaven comes the One Whom the Spirit affirms:
He is the Savior of our souls. 
(Lytia during The Great Compline)

Theophany is the alternate name to the baptism of Christ. Why? Because this is the day when Christ has revealed himself to the world as the Son of God – “for the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You his Beloved Son” and also the appearance of the Holy Trinity – “the worship of the Trinity was made manifest”. The All-night vigil was then followed by the Liturgy at night (The true celebration of our faith!) followed by the Great Blessing of the water and the words of a wonderful prayer will be read and heard to the Almighty, All Merciful and the Maker and Creator of All things and “no words will be enough to glorify His wonders”. Finally, after the service everyone coming up to the cross will be generously sprinkled with Holy Water.

St Elisabeth Convent
The Heart is already filled with joy. Joy, because We are baptized in the name of The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit. Joy because we can cleanse our sins through confession and most importantly joy because Christ has defeated sin and that we are saved. We must rejoice and bless the name of the Lord. And so the day of Theophany came and went but the warmth of the feast remains in our hearts and the pure white, heavenly snow resonates the purity which we all must keep.

Sister Daria