On January 19th the Orthodox Church celebrates great feast of the Theophany, or Baptism of the Lord. Our parish had a beautiful celebration of that holy day headed by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. He served the Divine Liturgy at St. George Church. Following the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily in Russian.
In his homily the Rector preached that incomprehensible and ineffable God came into the world in order to not let mankind to perish and abide in a slavery to sin. The mystery of God’s appearance to the world is incomprehensible for we cannot grasp how an infinite God can be incarnate in what is timely; how eternal can appear in time; and how ineffable can be understood. But the greatness of our God manifests itself when things impossible with men become possible with God, one in the Holy Trinity.
Our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate and became Man. After thirty years He came to the Jordan river to reveal Himself to the world. And as His birth was humble and incomprehensible to those who are accustomed to live in the boundaries of human greatness, so His appearance to the world is incomprehensible for those who measures everything according to the human pride, power and ambition. Jesus Christ comes to the sinners who stand on the bank of Jordan; He comes and stands among them and desires to immerse Himself in the waters of Jordan along with the sinners.
Christ had no sin, but He took upon Himself our sins, thus He comes to the sinners. The sin is awful and disgusting but the Lord does not despise our sins. He becomes one of us, so we won’t perish. This is the mystery of Theophany. It is in the love of our Lord towards everyone of us. For our sake He came into the world, He was born for us and He was baptized for us, so we may know the way of faith. For us to know the true God He reveals Himself in the Holy Trinity: the Son of God staying in the waters of Jordan, the Holy Spirit descending upon Him like a dove, and the voice of the Heavenly Father: “This is My beloved Son” (Mt. 3, 17).
“We have the greatest joy to be children of the Church of Christ, we are in unity with our Savior. Let us glorify Him who accomplish all these things for our salvation,” – concluded his homily Fr. Igor.
The choir prayerfully performed hymns of the feast during preparation for Holy Communion.
After the Prayer behind the Ambo the Rector performed the Great Blessing of water.
Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar servers came before the icon stand and performed the rite of glorification singing the troparion and kontakion of the Theophany.
Our Warden and Choir Director, Olga Roussanow had a speech and greeted the Rector on the occasion of his past birthday. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed. Then Fr. Igor thanked her and parishioners for their greetings and congratulated parishioners on the occasion of the great holy day.