20 January 2015

Theophany 2015

I was beginning to switch from various liturgical calendars quite regularly. While switching between the Ordinary Form of the Roman Liturgies and the Extraordinary Form does become a bit too much, once you throw in an Eastern liturgical calendar or two and then switch between the Old (i.e. Julian) and New (i.e. Gregorian) calendars, it becomes even more "too much." Although this will allow you to celebrate a feast two or three (or even four) times, it is easier to maintain a less chaotic prayer life by just following one calendar. Thus, my New Year's resolution for 2015 was to only follow the liturgical calendar of my home parish.

Well... January is not even over, and I've already broken my New Year's resolution. I celebrated the Great Feast of Theophany on a calendar other than that of my home parish.

Theophany 2013
I actually celebrated the Great Blessing of Waters at Theophany four times this year. I stayed at a monastic skete, which is on the same calendar as my home parish, from the Feast of Venerable Saint Seraphim of Sarov, Wonderworker, until the Sunday after Theophany. The hieromonk (priest-monk) at this skete is very busy because the bishop has now asked him to care for two parishes in addition to the skete. I was a little disappointed there was no time to celebrated the Cross Procession with Great Blessing of Waters outdoors as I've never done this before. (Does anyone else do this in Canada?) Although, carrying the кадило (kadelo, i.e. thurible or metal censer) all around the property of the skete behind Father the day after Theophany as he blessed every building, a good number of trees, and even a couple of neighbor kids who were out on a walk down the wintery country road, was a great experience. (We ate Theophany ice afterwards. Those unfortunate people who don't have freezing whether during Theophany.) However, I did celebrated the Great Blessing of Waters at the skete on the Vigil of Theophany, the next morning at one of the parishes, and again on the following Sunday at the other parish. However, the discussions at the skete inspired me to break my New Year's resolution.

I decided to celebrate Theophany again on the Julian calendar, beginning with Holy Theophany Supper, Vespers and Matins, and then Holy Theophany Divine Liturgy with the blessing of water the next morning. However, I did not simply do this to celebrate the feast again (although I can now sing the festal troparion for the next week), I did it due to my desire for Church unity.

It seems that perhaps I was also thinking a little too creatively as I drove home that day with half a container of more Theophany water. The hieromonk that filled it said I'd have to go to the main line to fill the other half as his contain was empty. I said half was good because I have half a container of Theophany water at home from Theophany on the New Calendar.

The quality of this video is not all that good (I think due to the light), but I couldn't redo this video unless I wait until next year. However, some inspirations are best done only once in the heat of the moment. I mean no disrespect and I hope this is not interpreted as political. Although I did hear that there was more bloodshed the day before Theophany. Господи, помилуй. Господи, помилуй. Господи, помилуй.

What's so significant about Theophany water? Here's a quote to explain:

On the Feast of Theophany, that is the Day of the Lord's Baptism, every year a great miracle is performed. The Holy Spirit, coming down upon the water, changes its natural properties. It becomes incorrupt, that is, it doe s not spoil, remains transparent and fresh for many years, receives the grace to heal illnesses, to drive away demons and every evil power, to preserve people and their dwellings from every danger, to sanctify various objects whether for church or home use.

Therefore, Orthodox Christians with reverence drink Holy Water--a great Agiasma (holy thing), as the Greeks call it. One should have at home enough Theophany water so that it will last the whole year, and make use of it at every need: in cases of illness, leaving on a journey, whenever one is upset, students when going to examinations. They do well who daily, before eating any kind of food, drink a little Holy Water. It strengthens the powers of the soul--if it is done, of course, with prayer and reverence, and one does not merely expect from it a mechanical result.

From the writings of St. John Maximovitch