Beautiful Garden of Scripture

European Robin Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

All who ask receive, those who seek find, and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet, and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry, and fill us with everlasting joy. ~ St. John of Damascus

After the ancient feasts of Theophany and the upcoming Meeting of the Lord in the Temple (Candlemas), we notice the days growing longer. Although we know spring is just around the corner, sometimes February tosses us a few surprises. One moment we’re relaxed and relieved to see crocus and snow drop flowers blooming in glorious patches of dappled sunshine, and the next moment – heavy gray overcast skies compete with our weariness of winter and the happiness of blossoming silver catkins. While there’s almost always one last and brief farewell blast of snow or a crisp, cold snap, February has the last laugh! Robins return from their wintery travels to herald hope of the coming spring. Hearing their birdsong comforts and captures my heart anew… making me smile with joy! Thank you dear Lord for creating the saucy robins!

In the Form of a Dove

Beautiful Dome Painting on round canvas, by Marie Proe ~ Niagara Falls, New York

January 19/6

Greetings on Holy Theophany!

Christ is Baptised! In the Jordan!

Today’s Great Feast commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. Today the Heavens are opened. Today the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove. Today God the Father’s Voice from heaven declares Jesus Christ is His beloved Son. Today the Illuminating Light and Mystery of the Holy Trinity appears to the inhabited earth!

May blessings abound
With God’s gracious Love,
So let our hearts soar
On wings like a dove!

Good Day and Good Feast to you!

Epiphany Carol from Patmos, Greece.

Then Will Come the 2nd Feast!

Detail of Parish Mosaic Icon – St. Bail the Great

…that will be St. Basil’s Feast; rejoice!

One of my favourite quotes from St. Basil the Great ~ A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

May we all plant a Perennial Crop of Kindness and Share the Harvest from the Garden of God’s Love!

Happy St. Basil’s Day – January 14/1

Greetings on the Feast – with St. Basil the Great Quotes

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe

Sharing our parish choir’s (a cappella) 2014 recording of the Christmastide Carol – We Wish You Good Evening. We sing of the coming 3 feasts! Holy Nativity, St. Basil the Great’s Day, and Holy Theophany.

O rejoice all the world, the Son of God is born!

Past Nativity Posts’ Resource

Church Bells in Ayia Napa, Cypress – Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

May the Light of Bethlehem’s Star illuminate and warm our hearts on this coming Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity!

National Public Radio NPR Broadcast with Blisswood on Orthodox Christmas Published January 6, 2023

Our Little Nativity Creche Published by issuu magazine 2022

Re-Gift Boomerang Published by issuu magazine 2022

Christ is Born! Posted January 6, 2022

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Posted January 7, 2021

Happy 2nd Day of Christmas Posted January 8, 2022

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas Posted January 9, 2022

4th Day of Nativity Posted January 10, 2022

5th Day of Nativity – the Holy Innocents Posted January 11, 2022

6th Day of Nativity Posted January 12, 2022

Apodosis of Nativity Posted January 13, 2022

St. Basil’s Feast Day Posted January 14, 2022

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe Posted January 14, 2021

Greetings on St. Basil’s Day Posted January 14, 2021

Holy Theophany Posted January 19, 2022

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Concert 2020

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Tropar 2020

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing the 16th Century Coventry Carol – 2014 Concert (In Honour of the Holy Innocents)

It’s Nativity Poem/Song

Little Pine Tree Poem/Song

The Holly Poem

The Candy Cane Poem/Song

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing Little Pine Tree – 2014 Concert

Prayerfully wishing you God’s Blessings of good health, strength of spirit, and peaceful joy!

With Love in Christ.

Holy Theophany

Along the River Jordan image by Bcrawford92, English Wikipedia Public Domain

Greeting: Christ is Baptised!

Response: In the Jordan!

January 19/6

Today is the end of Christmastide and we celebrate the ancient, Great Feast of Holy Theophany… the Baptism of our Lord in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist.

Theophany comes from the Greek word theophania, which means appearance of Godrevealing the manifestation of the Most Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of Christ, the Son of God. (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).

As we joyfully celebrate Holy Theophany, and the additional Great Blessing of the Water service for Holy Water, we are reminded of the Great Sacrament and Mystery of our own baptism.

The Father was revealed to the sense of hearing; the Spirit was revealed to the sense of sight, and in addition to these, the Son was revealed to the sense of touch. The Father uttered His witness about the Son, the Son was baptized in the water, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovered above the water. When John the Baptist witnessed and said about Christ, “Behold, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29), and when John immersed and baptized the Lord in the Jordan, the mission of Christ in the world and the path of our salvation was shown. That is to say: The Lord took upon Himself the sins of mankind and died under them [immersion] and became alive again [the coming out of the water]; and we must die as the old sinful man and become alive again as cleansed, renewed and regenerated. This is the Saviour and this is the path of salvation. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Theophany Troparion (Hymn); (Tone 1 Melody)

When Thou, O Lord, was baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; for the voice of the Father bore witness unto Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth as steadfast and sure. O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world, glory to Thee.

Theophany Kontakion (Hymn); (Tone 4 Melody)

Thou hast appeared today to the inhabited world, and Thy light, O Lord, hath been signed upon us, who sing Thy praises and chant with gladness: Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared, O Light unapproachable.

A Sermon on Holy Water by St. John Maximovitch

Christ is Baptised!

In the Jordan!

Apodosis of Nativity

Festive Nativity Morning Breakfast – by Melania

January 13 / December 31

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

The last day of an Afterfeast is called the Apodosis (Ancient Greek for leave-taking, literally giving-back) of the Feast. Although today is the Apodosis of Nativity, this period of Sviatki (light and holiness) continues its 12 days of Christmastide – preparing our hearts to celebrate Holy Theophany; the Baptism of the Lord – on January 19 /6.

Today is also the feast of St. Melania. Congratulations to a dear friend, blessed to have this patron saint. Happy Saint’s Day Melania! God grant you many years!

Tomorrow is St. Basil’s Feast Day (January 14/1). Celebrations for this special saint include many traditions… And there’s still time to bake a traditional, festive St. Basil’s Day Cake!

With love in Christ.

Theophany Greetings!

The Feast of the Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated January 19/6. After Pascha and Pentecost, this is the next greatest Feast Day of the Orthodox Church.

Theophany means Manifestation of God, as Jesus Christ is God the Word, Incarnate.

When our Lord Jesus Christ is baptized by John in the River Jordan, Christ comes up from the water, the heavens open, and the Spirit of God descends like a dove upon Him. God’s voice from heaven proclaims, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” The Holy Trinity is revealed. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit shine forth...

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 3, verses 1-6, and 11; and verses 13-17, we stand on the banks of the River Jordan and watch this miracle occur.

In the Gospel of St. John, chapter 1: verses 32-34, we see St. John the Baptist bearing witness that Christ is the Son of God.

Theophany reminds us of our own Baptism, for “As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, Alleluia!” In the waters of Baptism, we are washed clean from our old life, and we put on the new life in Jesus Christ.

Today is also the Blessing of the Waters.

The feature picture reminds me of a family hike around some back lakes, many years ago on Theophany. Music from the service remained with me… in particular… “The Voice of the Lord is upon the waters, the God of Glory thundered, the Lord is upon many waters.” Upon rounding a bend in the trail, we encountered the lake shrouded in a blanket of dense mist. A sudden shaft of sunlight pierced through illuminating everything. The swirling fog dissolved as if blown away by a great breath. This exquisite memory remains close to my heart. Each year when hearing said phrase at service, for a moment, I return to that peaceful place.

I believe all bodies of water are particularly blessed with a special beauty upon this feast day! 

Troparion of the Feast (Tone 1)

When Thou, O Lord, wast baptised in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness unto Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son! And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed His word as steadfast and sure. O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and enlightened the world, glory to Thee!

Kontakion of the Feast (Tone 4)

Thou hast appeared today to the inhabited earth, and Thy Light, O Lord, hath been signed upon us, who hymn Thee with understanding: Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared, O Light Unapproachable!

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