Παρασκευή 5 Ιανουαρίου 2024

Epiphany (also known as "Theophany"),

On the sixth of January, the Christmas holidays in Greece officially come to an end with the ‘festival of light’ (‘ton foton’ in Greek), also known as Epiphany.
This feast day in the Greek Orthodox Church is known as ‘Theophania’ which means ‘a vision of God’ or ‘Christ shining through’. It is considered a very important day for The Greek Orthodox Church. January 6th is also known as ‘Three Kings Day’ in the Western Church, a celebration of  the three magi visiting the Christ child.
Epiphany (/əˈpɪfəni/ ə-PIF-ə-nee), also known as "Theophany" in Eastern Christian tradition, is a Christian feast day commemorating the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the wedding at Cana.[2]

In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus Christ's physical manifestation to the Gentiles. It is sometimes called Three Kings' Day, and in some traditions celebrated as Little Christmas. Moreover, the feast of the Epiphany, in some denominations, also initiates the liturgical season of Epiphanytide.

Eastern Christians, on the other hand, commemorate the baptism of Jesus (but it is also called Epiphany) in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. The spot marked by Al-Maghtas in Jordan, adjacent to Qasr al-Yahud in the West Bank, is considered to be the original site of the baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist.

The traditional date for the feast is January 6. However, since 1970, the celebration is held in some countries on the Sunday after January 1. Those Eastern Churches which are still following the Julian calendar observe the feast on what, according to the internationally used Gregorian calendar, is January 19, because of the current 13-day difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

In many Western Churches, the eve of the feast is celebrated as Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve) on January 5.The Monday after Epiphany is known as Plough Monday.

Popular Epiphany customs include Epiphany singing, chalking the door, having one's house blessed, consuming Three Kings Cake, winter swimming, as well as attending church services. It is customary for Christians in many localities to remove their Christmas decorations on Epiphany Eve (Twelfth Night), although those in other Christian countries historically remove them on Candlemas, the conclusion of Epiphanytide. According to the first tradition, those who fail to remember to remove their Christmas decorations on Epiphany Eve must leave them untouched until Candlemas, the second opportunity to remove them; failure to observe this custom is considered inauspicious.

Etymology and original word usage
The word Epiphany is from Koine Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epipháneia, meaning manifestation or appearance. It is derived from the verb φαίνειν, phainein, meaning "to appear". In classical Greek it was used for the appearance of dawn, of an enemy in war, but especially of a manifestation of a deity to a worshiper (a theophany). In the Septuagint the word is used of a manifestation of the God of Israel (2 Maccabees 15:27). In the New Testament the word is used in 2 Timothy 1:10 to refer either to the birth of Christ or to his appearance after his resurrection, and five times to refer to his Second Coming.

Alternative names for the feast in Greek include τα Θεοφάνεια, ta Theopháneia "Theophany" (a neuter plural rather than feminine singular), η Ημέρα των Φώτων, i Iméra ton Fóton (modern Greek pronunciation), "The Day of the Lights", and τα Φώτα, ta Fóta, "The Lights".
Βυζαντινή εικόνα των Θεοφανίων.

History
Epiphany may have originated in the Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire as a feast to honor the baptism of Jesus. Around 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote:
"But the followers of [the early Christian Gnostic religious teacher] Basilides celebrate the day of His Baptism too, spending the previous night in readings. And they say that it was the 15th of the month Tybi of the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. And some say that it was observed the 11th of the same month."

— Clement of Alexandria (ca 200 CE)
The Egyptian dates given correspond to January 6 and 10. The Basilides were a Gnostic sect.
The reference to "readings" suggests that the Basilides were reading the Gospels. In ancient gospel manuscripts, the text is arranged to indicate passages for liturgical readings. If a congregation began reading Mark at the beginning of the year, it might arrive at the story of the Baptism on January 6, thus explaining the date of the feast.[25][26] If Christians read Mark in the same format the Basilides did, the two groups could have arrived at the January 6 date independently.

The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in AD 361, by Ammianus Marcellinus. The holiday is listed twice, which suggests a double feast of baptism and birth. The baptism of Jesus was originally assigned to the same date as the birth because Luke 3:23 was read to mean that Jesus was exactly 30 when he was baptized; it is said by many Church Fathers that Jesus was the age of 30, although not necessarily exactly that age.

Epiphanius of Salamis says that January 6 is Christ's "Birthday; that is, His Epiphany" (hemera genethlion toutestin epiphanion). He also asserts that the Miracle at Cana occurred on the same calendar day. Epiphanius assigns the Baptism to November 6.

The scope to Epiphany expanded to include the commemoration of his birth; the visit of the magi, all of Jesus' childhood events, up to and including the Baptism by John the Baptist; and even the miracle at the wedding at Cana in Galilee
In the Latin-speaking West, the holiday emphasized the visit of the magi. The magi represented the non-Jewish peoples of the world, so this was considered a "revelation to the gentiles". In this event, Christian writers also inferred a revelation to the Children of Israel. John Chrysostom identified the significance of the meeting between the magi and Herod's court:
"The star had been hidden from them so that, on finding themselves without their guide, they would have no alternative but to consult the Jews. In this way the birth of Jesus would be made known to all."

In 385, the pilgrim Egeria (also known as Silvia) described a celebration in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which she called "Epiphany" that commemorated the Nativity. Even at this early date, there was an octave associated with the feast. The Georgian Chantbook of Jerusalem compiled in the mid 6th century contains hymns for this feast[36] that were likely written between the time of Egeria and the turn of the 6th century.

In a sermon delivered on December 25, 380, St. Gregory of Nazianzus referred to the day as "the Theophany" (ta theophania, formerly the name of a pagan festival at Delphi), saying expressly that it is a day commemorating "the holy nativity of Christ" and told his listeners that they would soon be celebrating the baptism of Christ.[39] Then, on January 6 and 7, he preached two more sermons, in which he declared that the celebration of the birth of Christ and the visitation of the Magi had already taken place, and that they would now commemorate his Baptism. At this time, celebration of the two events was beginning to be observed on separate occasions, at least in Cappadocia.[citation needed]

Saint John Cassian says that even in his time (beginning of the 5th century), Egyptian monasteries celebrated the Nativity and the Baptism together on January 6. The Armenian Apostolic Church continues to celebrate January 6 as the only commemoration of the Nativity.[citation needed]

Music
Classical
Johann Sebastian Bach composed in Leipzig two cantatas for the feast which concluded Christmastide:

Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65, (1724)
Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen, BWV 123, (1725)
Part VI of his Christmas Oratorio, Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben, was also designated to be performed during the service for Epiphany.

In Ottorino Respighi's symphonic tone poem Roman Festivals, the final movement is subtitled "Bofana" and takes place during Epiphany.

Carols and hymns
"Nun liebe Seel, nun ist es Zeit" is a German Epiphany hymn by Georg Weissel, first printed in 1642.

Two very familiar Christmas carols are associated with the Epiphany holiday: "As with gladness, men of old", written by William Chatterton Dix in 1860 as a response to the many legends which had grown up surrounding the Magi; and "We Three Kings of Orient Are", written by the Reverend John Henry Hopkins Jr. – then an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church – who was instrumental in organizing an elaborate holiday pageant (which featured this hymn) for the students of the General Theological Seminary in New York City in 1857 while serving as the seminary's music director.

Another popular hymn, less known culturally as a carol, is "Songs of thankfulness and praise", with words written by Christopher Wordsworth and commonly sung to the tune "St. Edmund" by Charles Steggall.

A carol used as an anthem for the Epiphany holiday is "The Three Kings".

Date of the celebration
Until 1955, when Pope Pius XII abolished all but three liturgical octaves, the Latin Church celebrated Epiphany as an eight-day feast, known as the Octave of Epiphany, beginning on January 6 and ending on January 13. The Sunday within that octave had been since 1893 the feast of the Holy Family, and Christmastide was reckoned as the twelve days ending on January 5, followed by the January 6–13 octave. The 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar made the date variable to some extent, stating: "The Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on 6 January, unless, where it is not observed as a holy day of obligation, it has been assigned to the Sunday occurring between 2 and 8 January." It also made the Feast of the Epiphany part of Christmas Time, which it defined as extending from the First Vespers of Christmas (the evening of December 24) up to and including the Sunday after Epiphany (the Sunday after January 6).

Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist and United Protestant congregations, along with those of other denominations, may celebrate Epiphany on January 6, on the following Sunday within the Epiphany week (octave), or at another time (Epiphany Eve January 5, the nearest Sunday, etc.) as local custom dictates. Prior to 1976, Anglican churches observed an eight-day octave, beginning on January 6. Today, The Epiphany of our Lord, classified as a Principal Feast, is observed in some Anglican provinces on January 6 exclusively (e.g., the Anglican Church of Canada) but in the Church of England the celebration is "on 6 January or transferred to the Sunday falling between 2 and 8 January".

Eastern churches celebrate Epiphany (Theophany) on January 6. Some, as in Greece, employ the modern Revised Julian calendar, which until 2800 coincides with the Gregorian calendar, the one in use for civil purposes in most countries. Other Eastern churches, as in Russia, hold to the older Julian calendar for reckoning church dates. In these old-calendar churches Epiphany falls at present on Gregorian January 19 – which is January 6 in the Julian calendar.

The Indian Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of Epiphany, Denaha [Syriac term which means rising] on January 6, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrates on January 19 as the Timkath festival, which was included in the UNESCO heritage list of festivals.

Epiphany season
In some Churches, the feast of the Epiphany initiates the Epiphany season, also known as Epiphanytide.

In Advent 2000, the Church of England, Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, introduced into its liturgy an optional Epiphany season by approving the Common Worship series of services as an alternative to those in the Book of Common Prayer, which remains the Church's normative liturgy and in which no such liturgical season appears. An official publication of the Church of England states: "The Christmas season is often celebrated for twelve days, ending with the Epiphany. Contemporary use has sought to express an alternative tradition, in which Christmas lasts for a full forty days, ending with the Feast of the Presentation on 2 February." It presents the latter part of this period as the Epiphany season, comprising the Sundays of Epiphany and ending "only with the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas)".

Another interpretation of "Epiphany season" applies the term to the period from Epiphany to the day before Ash Wednesday. Some Methodists in the United States and Singapore follow these liturgies.Lutherans celebrate the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday as the Transfiguration of our Lord, and it has been said that they call the whole period from Epiphany to then as Epiphany season. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America used the terms "Time after Epiphany" to refer to this period. The expression with "after" has been interpreted as making the period in question correspond to that of Ordinary Time.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does not celebrate Epiphany or Pentecost as seasons; for this Church, expressions such as "Fifth Sunday after Epiphany" indicate the passing of time, rather than a liturgical season. It instead uses the term "Ordinary Time".

In the Catholic Church, "Christmas Time runs from First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of the Nativity of the Lord up to and including the Sunday after Epiphany or after 6 January"; and "Ordinary Time begins on the Monday which follows the Sunday occurring after 6 January". Before the 1969 revision of its liturgy, the Sundays following the Octave of Epiphany or, when this was abolished, following the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which was instituted to take the place of the Octave Day of Epiphany were named as the "Second (etc., up to Sixth) Sunday after Epiphany", as the at least 24 Sundays following Pentecost Sunday and Trinity Sunday were known as the "Second (etc.) Sunday after Pentecost". (If a year had more than 24 Sundays after Pentecost, up to four unused post-Epiphany Sundays were inserted between the 23rd and the 24th Sunday after Pentecost.) The Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices, which has received the imprimatur of John Michael D'Arcy, with reference to Epiphanytide, thus states that "The Epiphany season extends from January 6 to Septuagesima Sunday, and has from one to six Sundays, according to the date of Easter. White is the color for the octave; green is the liturgical color for the season."

Epiphany by Christian tradition
Epiphany is celebrated by both the Eastern and Western Churches, but a major difference between them is precisely which events the feast commemorates. For Western Christians, the feast primarily commemorates the coming of the Magi, with only a minor reference to the baptism of Jesus and the miracle at the Wedding at Cana. Eastern churches celebrate the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan. In both traditions, the essence of the feast is the same: the manifestation of Christ to the world (whether as an infant or in the Jordan), and the Mystery of the Incarnation. The miracle at the Wedding at Cana is also celebrated during Epiphany as a first manifestation of Christ's public life.

Western churches
Even before 354,[66] the Western Church had separated the celebration of the Nativity of Christ as the feast of Christmas and set its date as December 25; it reserved January 6 as a commemoration of the manifestation of Christ, especially to the Magi, but also at his baptism and at the wedding feast of Cana.[67] In 1955 a separate feast of the Baptism of the Lord was instituted, thus weakening further the connection in the West between the feast of the Epiphany and the commemoration of the baptism of Christ. However, Hungarians, in an apparent reference to baptism, refer to the January 6 celebration as Vízkereszt, a term that recalls the words "víz" (water) and "kereszt, kereszt-ség" (baptism).

Liturgical practice in Western churches
Many in the West, such as adherents of the Anglican Communion, Lutheran Churches and Methodist Churches, observe a twelve-day festival, starting on December 25, and ending on January 5, known as Christmastide or The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar of the Roman Catholic Church determine since 1969 that "Christmas Time runs from First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of the Nativity of the Lord up to and including the Sunday after Epiphany or after January 6". Some regions and especially some communities celebrating the Tridentine Mass extend the season to as many as forty days, ending Christmastide traditionally on Candlemas (February 2).

On the Feast of the Epiphany in some parts of central Europe the priest, wearing white vestments, blesses Epiphany water, frankincense, gold, and chalk. The chalk is used to write the initials of the three magi (traditionally, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar), over the doors of churches and homes. The initials may also be interpreted as the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat (may Christ bless the house).

According to ancient custom, the priest announced the date of Easter on the feast of Epiphany. This tradition dated from a time when calendars were not readily available, and the church needed to publicize the date of Easter, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on it.[68] The proclamation may be sung or proclaimed at the ambo by a deacon, cantor, or reader either after the reading of the Gospel or after the postcommunion prayer.

The Roman Missal thus provides a formula with appropriate chant (in the tone of the Exsultet) for proclaiming on Epiphany, wherever it is customary to do so, the dates in the calendar for the celebration of Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday, Ascension of Jesus Christ, Pentecost, the Body and Blood of Christ, and the First Sunday of Advent that will mark the following liturgical year.

Some western rite churches, such as the Anglican and Lutheran churches, will follow practises similar to the Catholic Church. Church cantatas for the Feast of Epiphany were written by Protestant composers such as Georg Philipp Telemann, Christoph Graupner, Johann Sebastian Bach and Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel.

Eastern Orthodox churches
The name of the feast as celebrated in the Orthodox churches may be rendered in English as the Theophany, as closer in form to the Greek Θεοφάνεια ("God shining forth" or "divine manifestation"). Here it is one of the Great Feasts of the liturgical year, being third in rank, behind only Paskha (Easter) and Pentecost in importance. It is celebrated on January 6 of the calendar that a particular Church uses. On the Julian calendar, which some of the Orthodox churches follow, that date corresponds, during the present century, to January 19 on the Gregorian or Revised Julian calendar. The earliest reference to the feast in the Eastern Church is a remark by St. Clement of Alexandria in Stromateis, I, xxi, 45:

And there are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day… And the followers of Basilides hold the day of his baptism as a festival, spending the night before in readings. And they say that it was the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, the fifteenth day of the month of Tubi; and some that it was the eleventh of the same month.

(11 and 15 of Tubi are January 6 and 10, respectively.)

If this is a reference to a celebration of Christ's birth, as well as of his baptism, on January 6, it corresponds to what continues to be the custom of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which celebrates the birth of Jesus on January 6 of the calendar used, calling the feast that of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord.

Origen's list of festivals (in Contra Celsum, VIII, xxii) omits any reference to Epiphany. The first reference to an ecclesiastical feast of the Epiphany, in Ammianus Marcellinus (XXI:ii), is in 361.

In parts of the Eastern Church, January 6 continued for some time as a composite feast that included the Nativity of Jesus: though Constantinople adopted December 25 to commemorate Jesus' birth in the fourth century, in other parts the Nativity of Jesus continued to be celebrated on January 6, a date later devoted exclusively to commemorating his Baptism.

Today in Eastern Orthodox churches, the emphasis at this feast is on the shining forth and revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Second Person of the Trinity at the time of his baptism. It is also celebrated because, according to tradition, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist marked one of only two occasions when all three Persons of the Trinity manifested themselves simultaneously to humanity: God the Father by speaking through the clouds, God the Son being baptized in the river, and God the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove descending from heaven (the other occasion was the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor). Thus the holy day is considered to be a Trinitarian feast.

The Orthodox consider Jesus' Baptism to be the first step towards the Crucifixion, and there are some parallels in the hymnography used on this day and the hymns chanted on Good Friday.

Liturgical practice in Eastern churches
Forefeast: The liturgical Forefeast of Theophany begins on January 2 and concludes with the Paramony on January 5.

Paramony: The Eve of the Feast is called Paramony (Greek: παραμονή, Slavonic: navechérie). Paramony is observed as a strict fast day, on which those faithful who are physically able, refrain from food until the first star is observed in the evening, when a meal with wine and oil may be taken. On this day the Royal Hours are celebrated, thus tying together this feast with Nativity and Good Friday. The Royal Hours are followed by the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil which combines Vespers with the Divine Liturgy. During the Vespers, fifteen Old Testament lections which foreshadow the Baptism of Christ are read, and special antiphons are chanted. If the Feast of the Theophany falls on a Sunday or Monday, the Royal Hours are chanted on the previous Friday, and on the Paramony the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated in the morning. The fasting is lessened to some degree in this case.

Blessing of Waters: The Orthodox Churches perform the Great Blessing of Waters on Theophany. The blessing is normally done twice: once on the Eve of the Feast – usually at a Baptismal font inside the church – and then again on the day of the feast, outdoors at a body of water. Following the Divine Liturgy, the clergy and people go in a Crucession (procession with the cross) to the nearest body of water, be it a beach, harbor, quay, river, lake, swimming pool, water depot, etc. (ideally, it should be a body of "living water"). At the end of the ceremony the priest will bless the waters. In the Greek practice, he does this by casting a cross into the water. If swimming is feasible on the spot, any number of volunteers may try to recover the cross. The person who gets the cross first swims back and returns it to the priest, who then delivers a special blessing to the swimmer and their household. Certain such ceremonies have achieved particular prominence, such as the one held annually at Tarpon Springs, Florida. In Russia, where the winters are severe, a hole will be cut into the ice so that the waters may be blessed. In such conditions, the cross is not cast into the water, but is held securely by the priest and dipped three times into the water.

The water that is blessed on this day is sometimes known as "Theophany Water", though usually just "holy water", and is taken home by the faithful, and used with prayer as a blessing. People will not only bless themselves and their homes by sprinkling with holy water, but will also drink it. The Orthodox Church teaches that holy water differs from ordinary water by virtue of the incorruptibility bestowed upon it by a blessing that transforms its very nature. a miracle attested to as early as St. John Chrysostom.

Theophany is a traditional day for performing Baptisms, and this is reflected in the Divine Liturgy by singing the baptismal hymn, "As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia," in place of the Trisagion.

House Blessings: On Theophany the priest will begin making the round of the parishioner's homes to bless them. He will perform a short prayer service in each home, and then go through the entire house, gardens and outside-buildings, blessing them with the newly blessed Theophany Water, while all sing the Troparion and Kontakion of the feast. This is normally done on Theophany, or at least during the Afterfeast, but if the parishioners are numerous, and especially if many live far away from the church, it may take some time to bless each house. Traditionally, these blessings should all be finished before the beginning of Great Lent.

Afterfeast: The Feast of Theophany is followed by an eight-day Afterfeast on which the normal fasting laws are suspended. The Saturday and Sunday after Theophany have special readings assigned to them, which relate to the Temptation of Christ and to penance and perseverance in the Christian struggle. There is thus a liturgical continuum between the Feast of Theophany and the beginning of Great Lent.

Oriental Orthodox
In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the feast is known as Timkat and is celebrated on the day that the Gregorian calendar calls January 19, but on January 20 in years when Enkutatash in the Ethiopian calendar falls on Gregorian September 12 (i.e. when the following February in the Gregorian calendar will have 29 days). The celebration of this feast features blessing of water and solemn processions with the sacred tabot. A priest carries this to a body of water where it stays overnight, with the Metsehafe Qeddassie celebrated in the early morning. Later in the morning, the water is blessed to the accompaniment of the reading of the four Gospel accounts of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and the people are sprinkled with or go into the water. The tabot returns in procession to the church.

Among the Syriac Christians the feast is called denho (up-going), a name to be connected with the notion of rising light expressed in Luke 1:78. In the East Syriac rite, the season of Epiphany (Epiphanytide) is known as Denha.

In the Armenian Apostolic Church, January 6 is celebrated as the Nativity (Soorp Tsnund) and Theophany of Christ. The feast is preceded by a seven-day fast. On the eve of the feast, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated. This liturgy is referred to as the Chragaluytsi Patarag (the Eucharist of the lighting of the lamps) in honor of the manifestation of Jesus as the Son of God. Both the Armenian Apostolic Church's and Assyrian Church of the East's liturgy is followed by a blessing of water, during which the cross is immersed in the water, symbolizing Jesus' descent into the Jordan, and holy myron (chrism) is poured in, symbolic of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus. The next morning, after the Liturgy, the cross is removed from the vessel of holy water and all come forward to kiss the cross and partake of the blessed water.

National and local customs
In Greece, Cyprus and the Greek diaspora throughout the world, the feast is called the Theophany,[citation needed] or colloquially Phōta (Greek: Φώτα, "Lights"). It is the "Great Celebration" or Theotromi. In some regions of Macedonia (West) it is the biggest festival of the year. The Baptism of Christ symbolizes the rebirth of man, its importance is such that until the fourth century Christians celebrated New Year on this day. Customs revolve around the Great Blessing of the Waters. It marks the end of the traditional ban on sailing, as the tumultuous winter seas are cleansed of the mischief-prone kalikántzaroi, the goblins that try to torment God-fearing Christians through the festive season. During this ceremony, a cross is thrown into the water, and the men compete to retrieve it for good luck. The Phota form the middle of another festive triduum, together with Epiphany Eve, when children sing the Epiphany carols, and the great feast of St. John the Baptist (January 7 and eve), when the numerous Johns and Joans celebrate their name-day.

It is a time for sanctification, which in Greece means expiation, purification of the people and protection against the influence of demons. This concept is certainly not strictly Christian, but has roots in ancient worship. In most parts of Greece a ritual called "small sanctification", Protagiasi or "Enlightment" is practiced on the eve of Epiphany. The priest goes door to door with the cross and a branch of basil to "sanctify" or "brighten" the rooms by sprinkling them with holy water. The protagiasi casts away the goblins ; bonfires are also lit in some places for that purpose. The "Great Blessing" happens in church on the day of the Epiphany. In the Churches in a special rig embellished upon which brought large pot full of water[clarify]. Then the "Dive of the Cross" is performed: a cross is throwned by the priest in the sea, a nearby river, a lake or an ancient Roman cistern (as in Athens). According to popular belief, this ritual gives the water the power to cleanse and sanitize. In many places, after the dive of the cross, the locals run to the beaches or the shores of rivers or lakes to wash their agricultural tools and even icons. Indeed, according common folk belief, icons lose their original strength and power with the passage of time, but they can be restored by dipping the icons in the water cleansed by the cross. This may be a survival of ancient beliefs. Athenians held a ceremony called "washing": the statue of Athena was carried in procession to the coast of Faliro where it was washed with salt water to cleanse it and renew its sacred powers. Today, women in many parts repeating this ancient custom of washing the images but combined with other instruments of medieval and ancient magic. As the plate of Mytilene while the divers dive to catch the Cross women at the same time "getting a detaining (= pumpkin) water from 40 waves and then with cotton dipped it clean icons without talking to throughout this process ("dumb water") and then the water is thrown out of the not pressed (in the crucible of the church).

Ἀπολυτίκιον  (Κατέβασμα)
Ἦχος α’.
Ἐν Ἰορδάνῃ βαπτιζομένου σου Κύριε, ἡ τῆς Τριάδος ἐφανερώθη προσκύνησις· τοῦ γάρ Γεννήτορος ἡ φωνή προσεμαρτύρει σοι, ἀγαπητόν σε Υἱόν ὀνομάζουσα· καί τό Πνεῦμα ἐν εἴδει περιστερᾶς, ἐβεβαίου τοῦ λόγου τό ἀσφαλές. Ὁ ἐπιφανείς Χριστέ ὁ Θεός, καί τόν κόσμον φωτίσας δόξα σοι.
Ἕτερον Ἀπολυτίκιον
Ἦχος β’.
Ὅτε τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ σου ἐφώτισας τὰ σύμπαντα, τότε ἡ ἀλμυρὰ τῆς ἀπιστίας θάλασσα ἔφυγε, καὶ Ἰορδάνης κάτω ῥέων ἐστράφη, πρὸς οὐρανὸν ἀνυψῶν ἡμᾶς. Ἀλλὰ τῷ ὕψει τῶν θείων ἐντολῶν σου, συντήρησον Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, πρεσβείες τῆς Θεοτόκου, καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς.
Κοντάκιον
Ἦχος δ’. Αὐτόμελον.
Ἐπεφάνης σήμερον τῇ οἰκουμένῃ, καί τὸ φῶς σου Κύριε, ἐσημειώθη ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς, ἐν ἐπιγνώσει ὑμνούντάς σε· Ἦλθες, ἐφάνης, τό Φῶς τὸ ἀπρόσιτον.
Μεγαλυνάριον
Ἄφεσιν πηγάζων τοῖς ἐξ Ἀδάμ, ὁ τῆς ἀφθαρσίας, ἀνεξάντλητος ποταμὸς, ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ, βαπτίζεται θελήσει· ἀντλήσωμεν οὖν πάντες, ὕδωρ σωτήριον.