Theophany 2014

Wishing everyone a blessed Feast of Theophany!

“Christ’s Baptism is seen in the Orthodox tradition as possessing a cosmic significance, as embracing the whole created order.  His Baptism is in a sense the reverse of our own.  In our case, Baptism is a purification from sin.  But Christ is sinless; why, then, should He be baptized?  Such precisely is the query posed by St John the Baptist: ‘I need to be baptized by You, and do YOU come to me?’ (Mt 3:14).  The Orthodox answer to this question can best be put in simple picture language.  We are dirty; at Baptism we go down into clean water and we come our cleansed.  At our Baptism, then, we are sanctified by the waters.  But Christ is clean; at His Baptism He goes down into the dirty water and Himself cleanses the waters, making them pure.  As we affirm in the liturgical texts for the feast of Epiphany, ‘Today the Master has come to sanctify the nature of the waters.’  At His Baptism it is not the waters that sanctify Christ, but Christ who imparts holiness to the waters, and so by extension to the entire material creation.”  (Bishop Kallistos Ware, THE INNER KINGDOM, p 70)