Archive for the ‘Theophany (Baptism of the Lord’ Category

Theophany house blessings.

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Theophany is Wednesday, next week. Here are some things about house blessings, a Theophany tradition.

Theophany House blessings : 10 Things[1]

 http://www.orthodox.net/10things/theophany-house-blessings.html

1. Houses are traditionally blessed with "Theophany water" each year. A house can be blessed at any time, but the usual season for yearly blessings is from Theophany until the beginning of the Lenten Triodion, which begins four Sundays before Great Lent begins. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a good rule of thumb.

 

2. Some people place great importance on "Theophany water". This is just water that has been blessed with the Great Blessing of the Waters service on Theophany. Another name for this water is simply "Holy Water". We can bless water any time of the year that there is a need for it. In Moscow, for example, there is a huge vat of holy water that the faithful partake of regularly. On  regular basis, the vat is refilled with water when it becomes empty, and this new water is blessed. The water blessed in for instance, August is no more and no less "holy" than the water blessed on Theophany.

 

3. Water is blessed using the “Great Blessing of the Waters” service two distinct times during Theophany: after Vespers on the Eve of Theophany and after the Divine Liturgy on Theophany. The blessings are identical, and the water is identical. 

 

4. In many places, it is traditional to bless water in lakes or rivers. In Russia, clergy often go to such a place, and bless the cold water after a hole has been cut in the ice. Many people will take a dip in the water after it is blessed.

 

5. When a home is blessed, the priest brings everything needed for the blessing:

  • Holy water
  • A "krupilla" (brush for flinging the holy water),
  • Bowl for the water
  • Candles
  • Theophany icon.

 

Many pious homes supply a bowl, candles and the family Theophany icon.

 

The family should provide the priest with a list of all family members, living and deceased.

 

The bowl and icon should be placed on a clean table with a cloth on it, preferably near the family icon corner. It is good for candles to be lit. The house should be clean, with all radios and televisions off.

 

The priest will bless all rooms of the house except the bathrooms. In homes with children, it is always good for the little ones to carry a candle or a small cross and "lead" the priest throughout the house. An elder member of the house may also do this.

 

6. The basic order for a simple home blessing is as follows.

 

a. The bowl of water, icon and lit candles are placed on a clean table. IF there is a censer, it may be lit.  

 

b. The priest begins the service with a blessing and the Trisagion prayers (O heavenly King through the "Our Father".) It is always preferable that the eldest of another member of the family say the Trisagion prayers.

 

c. After this the entire home is blessed, with the family walking with the priest holding candles and the Theophany icon while the Theophany Troparion is sung over and over:

 

Tone 1:  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.

 

It is a very good idea for the family to sing this troparion, and know it by heart. Otherwise, of the priest has many houses to bless, his voice will get tired!

 

d. Upon finishing blessing the house, the family gathers again at the table, and a short litany is said for the welfare of the family. The priest should have been provided a list of all family members, including those who are ill.

 

e. After this a short prayer, and the service is ended.

 

f. It is entirely appropriate the deceased loved ones of the family be commemorated from a list provided to the priest.

 

g. Sometimes the family wants to give the priest a little something to eat; depending on the time the priest has, he may stay and visit.

 

7. When a priest visits, it is NEVER required that the family gives him money. The scripture tells us "Freely you have received, freely give".

 

It is a pious custom among some to give the priest a donation at this time, but this should never be though of as a requirement. The priest comes to the home because he wants God's blessing to be upon it, and to know those in his flock better and to be available to them.

 

 

 

From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texaswww.orthodox.net

 

This document is at http://www.orthodox.net/theophany-house-blessings.html & http://www.orthodox.net/theophany-house-blessings.doc

 

New 10 things” entries, sermons, journal entries , scripture commentary & more are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

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Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 

.

 



[1] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called  “Redeeming the Time” – http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

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I am come to save Adam, the first-fashioned man. Explanation of Prefestal Theophany Kontakion

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Royal Hours of Theophany

Kontakion of the pre-festival – Tone 4

I am come to save Adam, the first-fashioned man.

 

Baptism of the Lord - detail from Decani Monastery. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/feasts-of-the-lord-theophany-03-detail-decani-monastery.jpg from http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Collections/GreatFeasts/CX4K1728_l.html

 

In the streams of the Jordan today /

the Lord cried to John:  /

Be not afraid to baptize Me, /

for, I am come to save Adam, //

the first-fashioned man.

 

This Kontakion is sung at each of the Royal Hours of Theophany.

 

As in all of our hymns, it has “facts” in it that usually based on the scriptural record, but the meaning is much deeper than facts.  Let us feel the great consolation that this hymn promises.

 

The hymn first refers to John the Baptist’s reticence to baptize our Lord:

 

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.  (14)   But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?  (15 )  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. (Matthew 3:13-15)

 

Here we have a marvelous thing! A man (who is holy, and was praised by the Lord as the greatest born of woman) feels the weight of his mortality, deeply, completely.  Many people met Jesus, but how many showed this kind of humility? The Apostle Peter comes to mind, who, upon seeing the first great catch of fish, felt uneasy in the presence of deity and cried out “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8)

 

We could do with much more humility. Nothing is accomplished without humility. St John’s witness accuses us, and we are guilty! We do not fear God as we should, and because of this, we are blind in many ways.

 

Despite the Baptist’s protests, the Lord prevails upon him to baptize Him, and this is because the humble man, even though he knows that he is nothing, can do anything when he obeys God. If we feel the weight of our sins, and even great shame, we are “not far from the kingdom of God”. 

 

The end of the hymn has the imaginary dialogue where the Savior tells the Baptist:

 

I am come to save Adam, the first-fashioned man.”

 

“Adam” is a kind of “code word” indicating all of humanity. This is the purpose of our Lord’s baptism – to save humanity. Other hymns for Theophany explore the “how” of this process. Everything the Lord did had a purpose – a single. fixed purpose. May we be so fixed on the purpose of our life, which is only possible because of baptism!

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-01-13-royal-hours-of-theophany-kontakion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-for-i-am-come-to-save-adam.html

 

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-01-13-royal-hours-of-theophany-kontakion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-for-i-am-come-to-save-adam.doc

 

A collection of materials about Theophany is at:

 http://www.orthodox.net/theophany/index.html

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

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Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

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Detailed explanation of the troparion and kontakion for the day before and day of Theophany.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Icon of the Baptism of the Lord

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Synopsis: Detailed explanation of the troparion and kontakion for the day before and day of Theophany. There is a lot here!

Prefestal Troparion. Tone 4
The River Jordan was once turned back by the mantle of Elisha / when Elijah had been taken up, /
and the waters were divided hither and thither. /
And for him the watery path became dry, /
Verily as a type of baptism, /
Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life. //
Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

Prefestal Kontakion – Tone 4
In the streams of the Jordan today /
the Lord cried to John: /
Be not afraid to baptize Me, /
for, I am come to save Adam, //
the first-fashioned man.

Troparion of Theophany Tone 1:
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.

Kontakion of Theophany Tone 4:
Thou hast appeared today unto the whole world, /
and Thy light, O Lord, hath been signed upon us /
who with knowledge chant unto Thee: /
Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared, //
O Light Unapproachable!


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Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Royal Hours of Theophany

Troparion of the pre-festival – Tone 4

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.

 

 

The River Jordan was once turned back by the mantle of Elisha /

when Elijah had been taken up, /

and the waters were divided hither and thither.  /

And for him the watery path became dry, /

Verily as a type of baptism, /

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.  //

Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

 

This troparion is sung at each of the Royal Hours of Theophany.

 

It describes an event which is a “type” or foreshadowing of baptism. Many Theophany hymns describe the many types of baptism in the Old Testament. A “type” is an event or thing which foreshadows or “points to” a future event or thing.

 

A good rule of thumb regarding typology is that the more types there are for a given thing, the more important it is. There are many types for baptism, the cross and the resurrection, for example.

 

The dividing of the River Jordan when it was struck by the mantle of Elisha is an obvious type of baptism, since it evokes the memory of the dividing of the Red sea, which is perhaps the quintessential and most important type of baptism in the Old Testament.

 

This event has a nuance to it that the dividing of the Red Sea does not have. We know that when Christ was baptized in the same Jordan waters that were divided by Elisha’s mantle, “the Jordan turned back and fled” from the God man Jesus Christ.

 

If you listen carefully to our hymns you will see that they mix typology, history, dogma and moral instruction quite freely. The most important part of the hymn is at the end, when we sing:

 

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.  //

Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

 

Here is the moral connection that I talk so often about. Our Lord’s baptism “sanctified the waters’, that is, changed the nature of water so that the waters of baptism can enable our nature to live victoriously, and to become perfected. Whatever happens to us — with baptism, we will be able to “cross the flowing stream of life” and find perfect rest. Baptism is not just an event. It is active throughout all of our “flowing stream of life”.

As in the parting of the Red Sea, the parting of the Jordan indicates for us that baptism is active in the beginning of our new life, in the middle (as we cross the flowing stream of life) and at the end, when we reach the other side. The waters are a wall of protection and also of guidance.  

 

When we hear this hymn (and there are many opportunities for the zealous to hear), we should feel the

moral implications of baptism. The God-man Jesus Christ made our humanity capable of perfection, so that we could know perfection – God, and in baptism He provided the means of this change.

 

And Eliu said to him, Stay here, I pray thee, for the Lord has sent me to Jordan. And Elisaie said, As the Lord lives and thy soul lives, I will not leave thee: and they both went on.  (7)  And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went also, and they stood opposite afar off: and both stood on the bank of Jordan.  (8)  And Eliu took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the water: and the water was divided on this side and on that side, and they both went over on dry ground.  (9)  And it came to pass while they were crossing over, that Eliu said to Elisaie, Ask what I shall do for thee before I am taken up from thee. And Elisaie said, Let there be, I pray thee, a double portion of thy spirit upon me.  (10)  And Eliu said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: if thou shalt see me when I am taken up from thee, then shall it be so to thee; and if not, it shall not be so.  (11)  And it came to pass as they were going, they went on talking; and, behold, a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and it separated between them both; and Eliu was taken up in a whirlwind as it were into heaven.  (12)  And Elisaie saw, and cried, Father, father, the chariot of Israel, and the horseman thereof! And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his garments, and rent them into two pieces.  (13)  And Elisaie took up the mantle of Eliu, which fell from off him upon Elisaie; and Elisaie returned, and stood upon the brink of Jordan;  (14)  and he took the mantle of Eliu, which fell from off him, and smote the water, and said, Where is the Lord God of Eliu? and he smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither; and Elisaie went over. (2Ki 2:6-14 Brenton, or 4 Kings, Sept, read during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on the Eve of Theophany

 

 

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/royal-hours-of-theophany-troparion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-whereby-we-cross-the-flowing-stream-of-life.html

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/royal-hours-of-theophany-troparion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-whereby-we-cross-the-flowing-stream-of-life.doc

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

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Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

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We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ! Show us also Thy divine Theophany. Audio.

Monday, January 10th, 2011

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Synopsis: At the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on the Eve of Nativity, a homily about on of the hymns of the Royal Hours. It expresses the connection between Nativity and Theophany, and especially how we must feel and what we must desire as we contemplate the incarnation.

"Today He Who in essence is God intangible and holdeth all creation in His hand is born of the Virgin and creation in His hand is born of the virgin and wrapped in swaddling bands. He lieth in a manger Who established in a manger Who established the heavens by His word in the beginning. He is fed at the breast with milk Who rained down manna upon the people in the wilderness. The Bridegroom of the church summoneth the magi; the Son of the virgin receiveth their gifts.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ!
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ!
Show us also Thy divine Theophany. "



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