On Thursday the 18th and Friday the 19th of January, the great feast of the Baptism of the Lord – Theophany, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan led the festal divine services in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. On Thursday morning – Theophany Eve – His Grace celebrated the Hierarchal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, and performed the Great Blessing of Water.
The following morning, on the very day of the feast of Theophany, Bishop Nicholas celebrated the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, co-served by cathedral clergy and, as on the day before, blessed water. Singing all of the Theophany divine services was the Synodal choir under the direction of conductor Peter Fekula. Parishioners communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Bishop Nicholas greeted the clergy and faithful with the great feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and addressed those gathered with a sermon, in which he, in part, noted the fact that Christ came to earth, taking on human flesh and become like man in all things, save sin. Entering the waters of the Jordan, He received baptism from St. John the Forerunner, thus showing all of mankind the path to repentance and salvation, the path to redemption from sin and become the new man. His Grace called on the faithful to recuse themselves from the old man: a sinful life, pride, disobedience, in order to become renewed children of Christ’s Church and to save their souls. Bishop Nicholas also reminded the Orthodox Christians how they should properly treat holy water.
A multitude of parishioners, collecting holy water, joyously headed home, in order to bless their residences, and in pious manner to partake of it every morning on an empty stomach.