Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Theophany: What The Church Fathers Say

Theophany is one of the most important and oldest feast days in our Holy Orthodox Church, with its observance being traced back to apostolic times. Historically, it commemorates the baptism of our Lord in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. Theologically, its significance is even greater, for on this day, the Holy Trinity was revealed. Through the centuries, many of our Church Fathers commented on this Feast in their writings. St. Proclus of Constantinople, a 5th century disciple of St. John Chrysostom, wrote a powerful sermon about Theophany. Putting words into the mouth of St. John the Baptist, Proclus writes: “How dare I stretch forth my hand and place it on the head of Him Who sustains all things? How dare I baptize the Creator of nature? I can only say: You, O Lord, are the Master and I am the servant. You are the Sun and I am the star. You are the Shepherd and I am the sheep. You are the King and I am the soldier. You are the Light and I am the candlestick.” St. Gregory the Theologian calls Theophany the "feast of lights," while St. John of Damascus points out that “... the Lord was baptized, not because He Himself had need of cleansing, but to bury sin by water; to fulfill the Law, to reveal the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and finally, to sanctify the nature of water and offer us the form and example of Baptism.”
The Orthodox WeekIy Bulletin. . . . . . . . . . Vestal, Cliffwood, New Jersey . . . . . . . . . . Litho in U.S.A.

January 6th, Epiphany, or Theophany is - after Easter and Pentecost - the greatest feast of the Orthodox Church. It is even greater than the feast of the Nativity of Christ. It commemorates the baptism of our Lord by John in the waters of the Jordon and, more generally, the public manifestation of the incarnate Word to the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment