Patristic Tradition

On Epiphany ( 24.01.2009 )

Epiphany is celebrated in memory of the Divine Baptising of our Saviour and God Jesus Christ, the act that has been done by John the Baptist, on the river Jordan. The Holy Prophet John was born six months before the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Archangel Gabriel brought the good news to his parents, venerable Zachariah and Elizabeth, that God’s Prophet who will prepare the people to receive the Saviour, will be born from them.

Because of that, he will be called the Forerunner of the Lord.

When John was on his age of thirty, he started to preach about the soon coming of Christ, on the banks of the river Jordan.

People from everywhere were approaching to listen his sermons for repentance, and many were baptised. One day, together with the other people Jesus Christ came to be baptised in the water of river Jordan. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"  Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness."  Then John consented. In accordance to the Tradition if the Church, John was dipping everyone in the water up to his neck, keeping him in the water till the one confessed all of his sins. Jesus Christ, because He was with no sin, came out of the water immediately, as it was said in the Holy Gospel. And while Jesus Christ was arising over the water, John saw how the Heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit in a form of a dove landed on Him. And a voice from the Heaven said: “He is My beloved Son, Who is by My Will”. Then John witnessed: “Truly, He is the Son of God.”

That day the Holy Trinity was announced: God Son Who was baptised in the water of Jordan, God Holy Spirit who came down on Him as a dove, God Father Who witnessed the words: “He is My beloved Son, He, Who is by My Will”.

That is why the day of Christ’s baptising is called Epiphany, the Appearance of God. By His baptising in Jordan, Lord Jesus Christ blessed the nature of water, and founded the Mystery of Holy Baptism – the first of the Holy Mysteries, in which the man who enters the Church takes part.