Theophany of Our Lord
The Feast of the Theophany of Our Lord is a major feast in Eastern Christianity, with only Pascha (Easter) and Pentecost considered greater on the liturgical calendar. The importance of Christ's baptism is described in the Gospels of apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and is the first manifestation of the Holy Trinity to mankind. Theophany comes from the Greek word "theophania," which means "appearance of God" or "manifestation of God." The V. Rev. Bazyl Zawierucha, Rector of ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH , Northampton, celebrated the feast day Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m. As usual. Deacon Dc. Mychail Sawarynski assisted at the services. An important part of the feast is the blessing of holy water called "Jordan Water," which signifies Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River. "Our Heavenly Father Himself, with His mighty voice and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, said of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, with these words, 'This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.' God said these words while Jesus was standing in the Jordan River. And most of the people who gathered on the banks of the Jordan to hear the sermons of St. John the Baptist heard and observed this unique presentation, thus making this feast the first feast in the Christian church before Christmas was introduced as a separate feast, according to St. John Chrysostom."
At that time, St. John the Baptist referred the people to receive the Son of God. Today the church does it, "Through baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we become the children of God and heirs of the heavenly kingdom. Only Holy Baptism can liberate us from the bondage of Original Sin, and the holy water possesses the power that washes away the evil." In addition to Jesus' baptism, Theophany traditionally included the Nativity, the wedding feast at Cana, the visit by the Magi and the presentation of Jesus in the Temple as a child, all of which indicate in some way the manifestation of God on Earth.
Father Bazyl conducted the "Great Blessing of Jordan Water" service near the end of the Divine Liturgy. The large font had been placed before the iconostasis and filled with water for the blessing.
Three parishioners – John Hnatow Jr, Michael Hnatow, and Nicholas Parchomenko - each held one of three trikiri, which is three candles joined together. Each trikiri was lit and after reading prayers and scripture, Father Bazyl took each trikiri, one at a time, made the sign of the cross with them over the water three times, and then immersed the lighted ends into the water. The extinguished candles were handed back to the candle bearers. After another prayer, Father Bazyl leaned over the font and blew upon the water three times in the form of a cross. He later immersed his hand into the water three times, after which he made the sign of the cross with an ornate cross, held the cross above his head with both hands and then plunged it into the water three times.
When the blessing was completed, Father Bazyl dipped a glass into the water font and then drank three sips of the Jordan Water. He then walked through the church to bless the congregation with the holy water. As the service ended, the faithful walked to the front of the church, kissed the cross and were anointed with holy oil, and went to the baptismal font with containers to take some blessed water home. In some cases, people drank some water as they left the church, a common tradition, as is getting some of the candle wax floating the font in their containers.
NEW! Vigil Lights (Lampadas)
We thank the following donors of VIGIL LIGHTS/LAMPADAS for the icon screen:
Martha Dowling, in loving memory of +Richard Dowling.
M/M John Vitushinsky, in honor of their grandchildren, Lily, Luke, Kylee and Taylor
M/M Howard Winters, in loving memory of +Gregory Winters
M/M Nicholas Parchomenko, in loving memory of +Olga and +Fedir Parchomenko, and +Jack and +Lorraine Holland.
Thanks are extended to Mr. Taras Pypiuk for constructing the method of hanging the lamps.
The Enthronement of Metropolitan Antony
(Note: Father Bazyl makes a cameo appearance!)
Click here to read Metropolitan Antony's biography.
Read about the triumph of Orthodoxy by Fr. Silouan Rolando HERE.
From the Department of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America:
On Sunday, September 30, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of our parish and church, and we greeted in our midst our Spiritual Father and Hierarch, His Eminence The Most Reverend Archbishop, Locum-Tenens and Acting Metropolitan, Ruling Hierarch of the Eastern Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A., Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, ANTONY! See Pictures Tab for photos at our DIvine Liturgy and the Banquet at St Peter and Paul's Fellowship Hall!
Pictures above (CLICK to enlarge pictures):
See Pictures Tab for:
1) Children receiving their certificates
2) Pictures from the Paschal Service 2013
4) Photos of the Holy Supper on the Eve of the Nativity in the AVM Church Hall
5) 90th Anniversary Liturgy and Banquet
6) His Emminence Archbishop Antony's Heirarchical Service at our church on 9/25/2011
7) Pre-Sanctified Liturgy photos from 2012
8) Wine Event fund-raiser
9) Miscellaneous pictures
Read Father Bazyl's pastoral reflections from the UOC website at http://ukrainianorthodoxchurchusa.org/news_110825_1.html
From the archives! Listen to original recordings of The Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom performed by the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church Choir. Go to the Tab on the left labeled The Divine Liturgy .