Orthodox Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 19, 2022. It is generally accepted that at Baptism grace descends on the entire water element, because the origins of the holiday are in the day when Jesus plunged into the waters of the Jordan River, and at the moment of the rite of baptism, the voice of the Father sounded over the head of the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove.
Since then, the holiday has been associated with water, and a folk tradition has appeared – to plunge into the font. However, the priests insist: hardening procedures should not be confused with religious rites.
To understand the essence of the feast of the Epiphany (or, in other words, Epiphany), you need to remember the biblical stories. Jesus Christ at the age of 30 left Nazareth and went to John the Baptist at the Jordan and asked to be baptized. However, John did not immediately agree – as it is said in the Gospel, he immediately realized that the Savior was standing before him, and considered himself unworthy to baptize Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus insisted on his own and plunged into the waters of the Jordan River.
At that moment, the sign of the Holy Trinity happened – God the Father and the Holy Spirit (appearing in the form of a dove) announced their presence. Since then, it has been considered that every Christian who dips into the water on January 19 repeats the path of the Son of God.
In Russia, this biblical story was transformed into a folk tradition to plunge into ice fonts (they are also called Jordanians). This is easy to explain if we take into account the peculiarities of the climate – it is difficult to find another source in Russia in January, except for an ice-covered one. However, the priests insist: Epiphany bathing should not turn into a valiant fun, when people plunge into the font “weakly”, pre-warming up with alcoholic beverages, or even in a bath!
– On the example of fasting, we know: yes, sometimes religion requires certain restrictions on the flesh, the rejection of pleasure. However, God would never demand to risk health, – the priest, father Arkady Buzin, who serves in one of the churches of the Moscow region, told MK. – Let’s talk sensibly: if an allegedly devout Christian dives into a font in the cold and then falls down with bronchitis or, for example, provokes heart problems or pressure due to temperature changes: is this really what the Lord is waiting for? Not! And don’t interpret it as a sacrifice.
The priest recalled that, for example, in Greece, where Orthodoxy is also widespread, due to the peculiarities of the climate, diving into the font is out of the question. You can plunge into the sea (in winter, however, it is also cold). However, the main thing to remember about the feast of Epiphany is the fact that on this day grace descends on the entire water element, and not just on ice holes. If a Christian prays with ordinary water (or at least washes himself), then from a religious point of view this will be enough.
After all, the essence of baptismal contact with water is to “wash away all sins from oneself,” however, it is not water as such that helps in this, but the sacrament of repentance. Anyway, it all comes down to prayer.
— What does swimming in an ice hole in Russia often look like? Men drink several glasses of vodka in advance to warm up, then dive into the hole, and then it happens like this: first, a person makes the sign of the cross, and then swears dirty from shock because of the cold water (or vice versa). What is the value of such bathing from a religious point of view? No, it’s just fun, – continues Father Arkady.
It is much more important for an Orthodox Christian to go to church on this day. Divine services are held several times: in the morning and evening on Christmas Eve (January 18), and then in the afternoon on January 19. A believer needs to attend the liturgy, go to confession and take communion. The main prayer that needs to be learned on this holiday is the Epiphany troparion:
“In Jordan, to you who are baptized, O Lord, worship of the Trinity appeared: For the voice of your parents testified to you, calling your beloved Son, and the Spirit in the form of a dove made your word affirmation. Appear, Christ God, and enlighten the world, glory to Thee.
The great consecration of water takes place after the liturgy. This usually happens at 11-12 noon, and after that you can take water. Epiphany water can be used throughout the year – for example, to sprinkle a house or give a sick person a wash or drink, praying for his healing. However, the acceptance of the shrine must be conscious: you cannot add water to a sick person if he himself does not believe in its power.