The feast of Theophany comes at the end of the holy day season, called “Sviatki,” or “Holy Days.” Originally being one feast of the Theophany, or “Appearance of God” in the early centuries of the Church, in the fourth century, the feast of the Nativity became a feast by itself. The two feasts are like twins in the way they are celebrated.
Theophany, like Nativity, has its Eve celebration. On the Eve, the Royal Hours are celebrated, followed by a Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil. His Grace, Bishop Luke celebrated the liturgy accompanied by monastery clergy. This was immediately followed by the Great Blessing of Water in the baptistry. After this, all of the buildings and living quarters of the monastery and seminary were blessed with Holy Water by monastery clergy. Only then did the monastery serve the one meal of the day, of a strictly lenten nature.
In the evening, the All-Night Vigil, consisting of Great Compline, the Litya and Matins, was served. The following day, Divine Liturgy was served by Vladyka Luke with monastery clergy. During the Hours, a seminary student from Indonesia, Lawrence Cunningham, was tonsured a reader. At present there are three students from Indonesia in our seminary programs. We wish Lawrence much success in his studies, preparing to serve the Holy Church.
Once again, at the end of the liturgy, the clergy processed to the baptistry for another Great Blessing of Water. In the evening, there was served Great Vespers and Matins for the Synaxis of St. John the Baptist, and on the following day, Vladyka once again served the Divine Liturgy along with the monastery clergy.
There is an eight-day afterfeast of Theophany, during which our clergy begin to bless houses with Theophany water. This process goes on right up to the beginning of Great Lent, as there are many homes close by and even far away, whose owners desire our clergy to visit and bless with the grace-filled water of the Jordan.
Interestingly enough, the locality where our monastery is located, Jordanville, received its name from the fact that in the early nineteenth century, many people were baptized in the creek which flows by the hamlet, thus the “ville on the Jordan.”