Epiphany, Christmas, and the March for Life
Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines the week of January 13, 2017
* The Twelve days of Christmas conclude with Epiphany celebrations from around the world
* Orthodox observing the Julian Calendar celebrated Christmas
*And the March for Life in Washington DC will have an Orthodox presence once again
Epiphany celebrations from around the world
First Up, Orthodox Christians celebrated Epiphany worldwide last week on January 6 concluding the Nativity season and Twelve Days of Christmas. Also called Theophani, this is the day Jesus was Baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist.
In the United States, The largest Epiphany celebration happens in Tarpon Springs, FL where this year Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church welcomed thousands for the 111th celebration with Archbishop Demetrios presiding over the festivities. Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the Archbishop led the faithful in a procession to the Spring Bayou where the service of the Great Agiasmos took place, the sanctification of the waters and the blessing of the faithful with holy water. Dozens of young men anxiously awaited the Archbishop’s tossing of the Cross into the water so that one can emerge with it and receive abundant blessings for the year. That blessed young man was 18 year old Joseph Cooley, a senior at Tarpon Springs High School .
In Istanbul, Patriarch Bartholomew led the Epiphany celebrations at the historic Hagia Yorgi Church near the Patriarchate followed by the procession to Golden Horn, the primary inlet of the Bosphorus, where young men dove into the extremely frigid waters to retrieve the cross.
Throughout the world, Celebrations and traditions vary from country to country depending on their weather and culture…in Russia Thousands have taken a dip in the icy waters to celebrate Epiphany.
Once the Bodies of Water have been blessed Russians take to “bathing” in them for the healing powers.
In Moscow, authorities set up official bathing sites for believers from open air pools to holes in ponds & lakes. Temperatures can range from 14 degrees Fahrenheit to below zero at times.
In the town of Kalofer, Bulgaria, men break the ice as they wade in the icy waters of the Tundzha river, with others who are dancing and singing during a celebration to commemorate Epiphany Day.
Orthodox observing the Julian Calendar celebrated Christmas
For the many Orthodox Christian who follow the Old Julian Calendar, Christmas is observed on January 7th, making the 6th Christmas Eve. Christmas on the Julian calendar, actually falls on January 7 on the Gregorian calendar. So strictly speaking, Christmas is still kept on December 25, which just happens to fall 13 days later on the Julian calendar.
Fair to say that throughout Orthodox Christian Churches and communities worldwide last weekend marked many many monumental celebrations, parades, liturgical services,
and blessed feast days for all.
March for Life in Washington DC
And Finally, Orthodox Christians from across the US will take part of the annual March for Life gathering in Washington, DC on Friday, January 27. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will join other Orthodox Christian hierarchs, seminarians, and clergy and faithful from around the country in the annual March, which will conclude with the celebration of Memorial Prayers for the victims of abortion near the US Capital.
The theme of this year’s March is “The Power of One.” [Due to the Presidential inauguration this year’s March will be held one week later than usual. Sanctity of Life Sunday, however, will still be observed on January 15. General information on the March and the banquet—including details on making reservations—is available on the marchforlife.org
as well as oca.org
And from OCN
Happy New Year!!! It’s hard to believe another year has gone by and that only a year ago OCN launched two apps that revolutionized accessibility for Orthodox Christians worldwide: Spark and The Orthodox Prayer Book Apps. Now most of you know that Spark is an Orthodox Christian News Portal, that allows you to access information about events going on in the Orthodox Christian World, and makes it easy to share them with friends,
But did you know that The Orthodox Prayer Book allows you to personalize your prayers, making it the ultimate prayer assistant supporting you in your daily faith walk.
Now given how easily we can access information on our mobile devices, imagine what it would be like, to not be able to.
Our two OCN apps have been downloaded 12,000 times since January of last year. That’s 50 downloads per day! App users have left us great messages about how there’s finally an app that can bring them news from all over the Orthodox world. How they can check it daily; and they can easily share the news stories with friends.
However some of our followers have been left out, because our apps are currently only available to ios users making up about 14% of smart phone users… Vasile commented about this gap: “This is great! Hats off to all of you! Unfortunately, I as well as the many other Android users will not be able to utilize this incredible tool. Please build an android app (as well) soon.”
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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close.
Wishing you a Happy New Year and Blessed Week, for everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.
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