Monday, February 2, 2009


Water sanctified on the feast of Yordan is still available in many Orthodox churches. It will usually remain for at least several more weeks. The feast of the Theophany (also known as Epiphany or simply, Yordan), is, along with Pascha and Pentecost, one of the most important festivals of the church calendar.

Every year, in the weeks following the feast, it the custom of our church to make this special water very available and accessible to the people. Thus, although the feast has past, the water remains as a reminder of its significance and importance in our spiritual lives. The church wishes that the faithful “embrace and partake of the water with great joy” as the hymn sung following the blessing service states.

Water is blessed by the church at other times of the year, such as during pilgrimages and on the patronal feast of a temple. This is referred to as the “small blessing of water” and the service does not possess the same sense of urgency of intention as does the “great blessing of water" celebrated on the Theophany. The prayer used on this feast day envisions the mystical repetition of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, through the liturgical actions, the references to biblical events and the prayerful remembrance of God’s activity of salvation in the history of the created world.

Unlike other blessed water, the church calls this water, “Jordan Water,” and the prayers ask that the “blessing of Jordan” may descend upon it - the same blessing which effected the waters, as Christ descended into the river to be baptized. Many Orthodox liturgical theologians interpret the water blessed on the feast of the Theophany as “another sacrament” and teach that the “Jordan Water” indeed possesses a “sacramental presence” of the Holy Spirit - the same Spirit who, in the form of a dove, confirmed God’s benediction upon the ministry of Jesus, at the time of his baptism.

The water is blessed with the invocation of the Holy Spirit, to “dispel all evil powers, visible and invisible.” It is our custom to drink the water in times of illness or distress and to sprinkle it in the home during any occasion of spiritual disturbance, unease or anxiety. The people should take as much water home with them as they may need and also, bring some to those who are homebound or in a sanatorium.

Make use of this water, dear friends. For us, it is a comfort in our daily tasks and challenges, a spiritual remedy for the despair brought on by our faults, a source of confirmation upon our good intentions and our efforts towards doing what is right and a living sign of God’s presence with us, in each and every moment.
+Vladyka Mykhayil

1 comment:

gothamayurveda said...

I want to leave a message for Metropolitan Mykhayil. My name is Michael and I was in touch with him years ago..I am Greek/Italian but Greek Orthodox and live in NYC...please email me at