Archdiocese News - The Sunday After The Theophany [English]


“And Your light, has been shed upon us”

On the Sixth of January, the Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of Theophany; the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Sunday after the Feast is called “The Sunday After The Theophany” and the Gospel reading for that day is Mat 12:4-17; which tells us of the beginning of the ministry of Christ and the proclamation of the Kingdom.

The Gospel passage begins with the arrest of John the Baptist and his imprisonment. The Baptist came to prepare the way for the Lord and is therefore called the “forerunner”. He proclaimed saying “I must decrease so that He (Christ) may increase”.

Immediately after the imprisonment of the Baptist by Herod, Christ began His ministry; “and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea” for the prophecy of Isaiah to be fulfilled that: “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned”.
The Feast in the past was called the “Festival of Lights”. This is precisely what took place following the baptism of Jesus. The Light shone upon the world. It is also called the “Theophany” because it was the clearest and most comprehensive revelation of God as Trinity.

God revealed Himself in many ways in the Old Testament. Whereas in the New Testament, on the Day of the Baptism of The Lord, The Son was baptized in the Jordan by John and the voice of The Father witnessed from Heaven that “This is my Beloved Son” and the Holy Spirit, appearing in the form of a dove, confirmed the certainty of the word.
During the matins of the Feast we read the following hymn: “At Your epiphany at River Jordan, O Christ, when by the Forerunner, O Savior, You were baptized, the voice from heaven testified that You are the beloved Son. Therefore, You were shown to be with the Father beginningless, and the Holy Spirit came down as a dove and alighted on You. In Him we are illumined and cry out, Glory to God in Trinity”.

The Light of Divine Knowledge appeared and revealed that God is Trinity equal in essence and that Christ is the True God and Savior.

The Lord Jesus chose to begin His ministry in Galilee of the Gentiles. As the prophet said: “A Great Light has appeared upon the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles”; and by that we mean Christ the Savior who is The Light of the world.

All the hymns and readings of the Feast speak about a fundamental matter; that “The Light” has shone upon those who sat in darkness; the darkness of ignorance towards the True God, the darkness of evil deeds and of sin and corruption.
In the Old Testament there was an event that foreshadowed Baptism and it was the passing of the Hebrews through the Red Sea and the cloud that overshadowed them. The sea foreshadowed the water and the cloud The Spirit.
In the New Testament, baptism is through immersion into water. This takes place following the prayer for the sanctification of this water, asking for the descent of the Holy Spirit into it. Illumination and The Light remain present in the service of the Sacrament of Baptism; as we pray for the baptized. We pray for their illumination and salvation; that the light of the Gospel may shine in their heart and that they may become a child of the light and an heir of the Kingdom to come.

“Today You have appeared, to the universe O Lord, and Your light, has been shed upon us; we who praise You with knowledge, saying: ‘You have come and appeared, O unapproachable Light’.”

Amen.

Metropolitan Basilios Kodseie +


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