Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Theophany

This is the hymn that is sung after the reading of the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy (Holy Qurbana) on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In Syriac this feast is called Danaha (meaning: Dawn). This feast is celeberated on Jan 6th. It is also called Theophany or Epiphany.




This is the hymn that is sung after the reading of the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy (Holy Qurbana) on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In Syriac this feast is called Danaha (meaning: Dawn). This feast is celeberated on Jan 6th. It is also called Theophany or Epiphany. Rough traslation is :
John mixed the water of baptism,
Which Jesus sanctified when he went down into the river to be baptized in it,
At that moment when He came out of the water, heaven and earth paid Him honor,
The sun submitted its dazzling light and the stars bowed for Him,
Who sanctified all the rivers and springs, halleluiah, halleluiah



Theophany (meaning appearance of God) is celeberated on January 6th. In Syriac this feast is called Danaha (meaning Dawn). On this day we celeberate the Baptism of our Lord. This feast is also called Theophany because at the Baptism of our Lord, the Holy Trinity clearly appeared to mankind, Father's voice is heard from heaven (represented as the Light from above in the icon), the Son of God is incarnate and standing physically in the river Jordan and the Holy Spirit descends on Him in the form of a dove.

This feast is also sometimes referred to as Epiphany (meaning ; manifestation or sudden appearence). This term is more used in a Western (Roman Catholic) sense as the Western Church commemorates the visit of the Magi (three holy men) on January 6th. So this feast is the manifestation of the God in the human form to the gentiles in the form of the Magi.
The observances of Danaha commemorates Christ's baptims by St. John the forerunner in the river Jordan. To commemorate the baptism, water is taken in a glass jar and a cross is placed at the mouth of the jar touching the water and it is then covered by a white cloth (soshappa). After the morning prayers the Priests and Deacons in all their vestments goes in a procession around the church, going out of the church through the north entrance and entering into the church through the south entrance. In this procession, they take along with them the above mentioned jar covered by a white cloth, the Holy Bible, and the Holy Cross. After re-entering into the church through the south entrance, they place the jar in a table before the altar with two lighted candles on either side. The prayers for the day begin after that.
Hymns sung during the procession: (Lyrics of the hymns are attached at the end of this page)
From the Blessing of the Water
6. Sagarame Enthinu Nee Paanjoo (Psalm 114:3; the sea is represented as the old man and Jordan as the young one in the icon above)
Towards the end of the prayers, the Priest takes the jar of water with the cross in it and exalts it in all the four directions: east, west, north and south. This is similar to the sleeba aghosham of Good Friday. After this that jar is taken to the baptismal tub and a drop is poured on the east side, one on the west side and another one drop poured from the north side to the south side. While the priest is dropping theses three drops on the baptismal tub, the congregation recites Psalm 51. After this the jar is taken to the altar and the concluding prayers for the blessing of the water is done. After the concluding prayers the Holy Qurbana (Divine Liturgy) is celeberated. At the end of the Holy Qurbana, everyone drinks the water that was blessed.
Readings
source: http://sites.google.com/site/syrianorthodox/feasts-of-our-lord/theophany

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