St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church in North Spokane celebrated the Eve of Theophany on Sunday, Jan. 5, with an outdoor water blessing at Bear Lake.
Theophany in the Eastern Orthodox Church parallels what is known as Epiphany in the Catholic and some Protestant churches, but instead of remembering the arrival of the three Kings at the manger of Jesus, it commemorates Christ’s baptism in the Jordan river by John the Baptist, and the beginning of His earthly ministry.
According to a press release, about 30 church members gathered for the outdoor service, which included the singing of Psalms, Scripture readings, and the casting of a wooden cross three times into the lake. Each time the cross was thrown into the icy lake, it was retrieved by one of the young men of the parish, who jumped into the water with enthusiasm.
“Christ’s baptism is referred to as Theophany, which means the appearance or manifestation of God to humanity, wherein God reveals Himself as the Holy Trinity,” said the Rev. Timothy Wilkinson, the rector of St. Luke. “The Father’s voice is heard from Heaven, the Son of God is incarnate and standing in the Jordan, and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove.”
The Eastern Orthodox Church throughout the world participates in outdoor blessings of lakes, rivers, and oceans at this time of year.
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