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12. The Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ.
During the time that John the Forerunner preached on the
banks of the Jordan River and baptized people, Jesus Christ reached thirty years of
age. He also went from Nazareth to the Jordan
River to John to receive baptism
John did not consider himself worthy to baptize
Jesus Christ and began to shrink back from Him saying, "I have need to be
baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?"
But Jesus answering said to Him, "Suffer it
to be so now," — that is, do not hold back from me now, "for thus it
becometh us to fulfil all righteousness," — to fulfil everything in the
Law of God and to set an example for people. Then, John obeyed and baptized
Upon completion of the baptism, when Jesus Christ
came out of the water, suddenly the heavens were opened over Him; and John saw
the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him and heard the
voice of God the Father from Heaven saying, "This is My
beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."
Then, John was finally convinced that Jesus was
the expected Messiah, Son of God, Saviour of the
The Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated
in the Holy Orthodox Church as one of the great feasts on January 6th
(January 19 NS). The celebration of the Baptism of the Lord is also called Theophany
or the Manifestation of God because at the time of baptism God revealed Himself
to people as the Holy Trinity in this way: God the Father spoke from
Heaven, the incarnate Son of God was baptized, and the Holy Spirit
descended in as a dove. Also, at the time of baptism for the first time, people
could see that in the person of Jesus Christ there appeared not only man but also
The day before the feast is an established fast
day. The same strict fast is observed and the same types of services are
celebrated as on the Eve of Christ’s Nativity (Christmas). Because the Saviour
by His own baptism sanctified the water, on this feast there is a blessing of
water. On the day before, water is blessed in church and on the feast itself —
under the open sky, in rivers, lakes, pools and wells. This Blessing of the
Waters is often called "The Procession to the Jordan."
the Gospels of Matthew, -17; Mark,
1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34.
Troparion of the Feast.
When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the
Trinity was made manifest; for the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee,
calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed
the certainty of the word. O Christ our God Who hast appeared and hast
enlightened the world, glory be to Thee!