The Feast of Epiphany & Home Blessings
What is Theophany (Epiphany)?
Epiphany, or Theophany commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist. Of all the observances of Epiphany throughout the world, none is more deeply religious in tradition and significance, or more colorful, than in the Greek Orthodox Church. The Heavens were opened, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus and a voice was heard from the Heavens bearing witness that this was the beloved Son of God, now baptized as a man (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:1-22). From these events the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ (that He is God) and the great mystery of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) were demonstrated. Read More at www.goarch.com >>
Dear Beloved Stewards of the Ascension,
According to Greek Orthodox tradition, the month of January is the time for home blessings. This beautiful tradition is an extension of The Feast of the Theophany (or Epiphany) on January 6, when we commemorate Christ's Baptism and when Jesus sanctified all the waters of the world. The Liturgy on this Feast Day of the Theophany concludes with the service of the Great Blessing of Waters. At the end of the service, the priest blesses the congregation and offers a bottle of Holy Water to all parishioners to take home. By sanctifying our personal living space with the newly Blessed Water, we extend the Grace of God to our own individual dwellings.
Per the direction from our Metropolitan due to the pandemic and in an abundance of caution, house blessings will be paused during the 2021 Epiphany season. Fr. Sotiri looks forward to blessing our homes and businesses as soon as it is possible. In the meantime, the Liturgical Committee of the Metropolis of Chicago produced the following guidance and prayer service so the faithful can bless their homes and businesses on their own.
Personal Use of Holy Water
According to Orthodox doctrine, Holy Water has the power to sanctify and heal. Have each family member drink a small amount of the Holy Water from Epiphany first thing in the morning before anything else is consumed. Bless your home, car, business, etc. using the guide above. Keep the unused Holy Water at the Iconismata (Icon area) of your home for future use. Throughout the year you may drink it or anoint yourself when you feel it is spiritually necessary (during times of adversity, before starting a new venture or trip, to give thanks, or when someone is ill). You may add tap water to the Agiasmo to refill it throughout the year. When the year ends, you can drop empty bottles off at church or discard them. If Holy Water remains in the bottle, pour it outside at the foundation of your home.