The Holy Feast of the Epiphany/Theophany was celebrated at St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ with presiding priest of the community Fr. Avgoustinos Psomas leading the services on January 6. (Photo: Steve Lambrou)
CHERRY HILL – The Holy Feast of the Epiphany/Theophany was celebrated at St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ with presiding priest of the community Fr. Avgoustinos Psomas leading the services on January 6.
The Feast Day commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ, the manifestation of Christ as both fully human and fully divine, and the appearance of the Holy Trinity, which is why the Feast is known as the Epiphany and as the Theophany. The celebration of the feast also includes the Blessing of the Waters. Following the Divine Liturgy, the priest blesses the water and then blesses the congregation with a bunch or bunches of basil dipped in the blessed water as the hymn for the Feast Day is chanted.
At the conclusion of the indoor services, in warmer climates, the Blessing of the Waters includes the ceremony of a cross being tossed into a nearby body of water to be retrieved by swimmers. In colder areas, the presiding priest usually blesses the body of water by tossing in a cross tied with a string or rope which can then be retrieved without anyone jumping into frigid waters.
Also traditionally, the faithful invite their local priest to bless their homes and businesses at this time of year.
Have an idea for a story, or know of an event we should cover? We want to hear about it!
The National Herald is the paper of record of the Greek Diaspora community. Through independent journalism, we bring news to generations of Greek-Americans, with stories on the individual, community and international level. Visit and support our 106 year-old sister publication Εθνικός Κήρυξ.
You’re reading 1 of 3 free articles this month. Get unlimited access to The National Herald. or Log In