Peter Paul Rubens' Death of Semele, caused by the theophany of Zeus without a mortal disguise
Ezekiel's Vision by Raphael
The burning bush
Interpretations from Eastern Orthodoxy
The pillar of cloud and of fire
Pillar of Cloud
|Summit of Mount Sinai|
|Elevation||2,285 m (7,497 ft)|
|Location||Saint Catherine, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt|
On Mount Sinai
TheophanyTheophany (from Greek theophania, meaning "appearance of God") is one of the Great Feasts of theOrthodox Church, celebrated on January 6. It is the feast which reveals the Most Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).
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Baptism of Christ
Celebration of the feast
- For as many as been baptized into Christ have put on Christ: Alleluia.
- When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, worship of the Trinity wast made manifest; for the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of His word. O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world, glory to Thee.
- On this day Thou hast appeared unto the whole world, and Thy light, O Sovereign Lord, is signed on us who sing Thy praise and chant with knowledge: Thou hast now come, Thou hast appeared, O Thou Light unappproachable.
- Be thou ready, Zabulon; prepare thyself, O Nephthalim. River Jordan, stay thy course and skip for gladness to receive the Sovereign Master, Who cometh now to be baptized. O Adam, be thou glad with our first mother, Eve; hide not as ye did of old in Paradise. Seeing you naked, He hath appeared now to clothe you in the first robe again. Christ hath appeared, for He truly willeth to renew all creation.
- In the running waters of the Jordan River, on this day the Lord of all crieth to John: Be not afraid and hesitate not to baptize Me, for I am come to save Adam, the first-formed man.
Eve and Afterfeast hymn
- The River Jordan receded of old by the mantle of Elisha when Elijah ascended into heaven; and the water was separated to this side and that, the wet element turning into a dry path for Him, being truly a symbol of Baptism, by which we cross the path of transient age. Christ appeared in the Jordan to sanctify its waters.
Great Blessing of Water
- That these waters may be sanctified by the power, and effectual operation, and descent of the Holy Spirit:
- That there may descend upon these waters the cleansing operation of the super-substantial Trinity:
- That he will endue them with the grace of redemption, the blessing of Jordan, the might, and operation, and descent of the Holy Spirit:
- That Satan may speedily be crushed under our feet, and that every evil counsel directed against us may be brought to naught:
- That the Lord our God will free us from every attack and temptation of the enemy, and make us worthy of the good things which he hath promised:
- That he will illumine us with the light of understanding and of piety, and with the descent of the Holy Spirit:
- That the Lord our God will send down the blessing of Jordan and sanctify these waters:
- That this water may be unto the bestowing of sanctification; unto the remission of sins; unto the healing of soul and body; and unto every expedient service:
- That this water may be a fountain welling forth unto life eternal:
- That it may manifest itself effectual unto the averting of every machination of our foes, whether visible or invisible:
- For those who shall draw of it and take of it unto the sanctification of their homes:
- That it may be for the purification of the souls and bodies of all those who, with faith, shall draw and partake of it:
- That he will graciously enable us to perfect sanctification by participation in these waters, through the invisible manifestation of the Holy Spirit:
Blessing the water
Icon of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Font. 17th c.
Revelation of the Life-Giving Spring
- "Emperor Leo, go into the deepest part of the woods, and you will find water there. Take some of the cloudy water in your hands and give it to the blind man to drink. Then take the clay and put it on his eyes. Then you shall know who I am."
- As a life-giving fount, thou didst conceive the Dew that is transcendent in essence,
- O Virgin Maid, and thou hast welled forth for our sakes the nectar of joy eternal,
- which doth pour forth from thy fount with the water that springeth up
- unto everlasting life in unending and mighty streams;
- wherein, taking delight, we all cry out:
- Rejoice, O thou Spring of life for all men.
- O Lady graced by God,
- you reward me by letting gush forth, beyond reason,
- the ever-flowing waters of your grace from your perpetual Spring.
- I entreat you, who bore the Logos, in a manner beyond comprehension,
- to refresh me in your grace that I may cry out,
- “Hail redemptive waters.”
Greek icon of the Theotokos the Life-giving Spring ("Panagia Argokiliotissa", Naxos).
o=oContinued in Part 6