At least for Old Calender Orthodox Christians, such as myself. Old Calendar Christians use the Julian Calendar
while Western Christians (and most of the rest of the world) use the Gregorian Calendar. For Western Christians Theophany was January 6th.
For those of you who don't know what Theophany is -- it is the day that Christians celebrate the Baptism of Christ.
If you have read this far then I ask that you allow me to give a very brief overview of the significance of Theophany to Orthodox Christians.
In the Old Testament God revealed himself to his people by various means, particullarly through his prophets who spoke his behalf. The highest revelation of God in the old Testament was the Ten Commandments which were WRITTEN BY THE FINGER OF GOD and delivered to his people through his servant Moses.
Christians believe Most Christians believe in the Holy Trinity. That is to say that we believe in One God in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as stated in our Creed:
I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of
heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of
God, begotten of the Father before all ages;
Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten,
not created, of one essence with the Father
through Whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven and was incarnate
of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
and suffered and was buried;
And He rose on the third day,
according to the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
And He will come again with glory to judge the living
and dead. His kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life,
Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the
Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, Who
spoke through the prophets.
In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the age to come.
It was when Jesus stepped into the waters of Jordan to be Baptized by the Forerunner John that the worship of the Trinity was made manifest, for at that time God, the Father, spoke from heaven saying "This is my beloved Son..." and the Holy Spirit descended on Christ in the form of a dove. The baptism of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Theophany: THE APPEARANCE, THE SHINING FORTH OF GOD to the world.
The Epistle to the Hebrews says it this way:
1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Unlike others, the God-Man Jesus Christ did not descend into the waters of Jordan with sin. When the Son of God, Jesus Christ, entered the waters of Jordan, he cleansed the waters of Jordan and sanctified all creation.
Jesus Christ was not illumined by his baptism, indeed the Forerunner John said "I have need to be baptized of thee"; rather, ALL CREATION WAS ILLUMINED BY ITS CREATOR when Jesus Christ descended into the waters of Jordan.
When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee his Beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of his Word. O Christ our God, who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee (Troparion).
Today Thou hast appeared to the universe, and Thy Light, O Lord, has shone on us, who with understanding praise Thee: Thou hast come and revealed Thyself, O Light Unapproachable! (Kontakion).
Here is an image I captured at our Theophany service last year when our Bishop (Maxim) was visiting.
1319 W Bullard #4 -- Fresno CA -- 93711
© Randy "Lazarus" McAtee