Epiphany, the observance of the baptism of Jesus Christ, has arrived in the Eastern world. Tonight at midnight and all through tomorrow until sundown, millions of Christians across Asia and Eastern Europe will renew their baptismal vows by plunging into icy waters.
In Moscow Orthodox Christians will begin to assemble at churches, monasteries, and parks just past midnight. Had you asked about the first time, prior to taking part, this writer was expecting nothing more than a freezing ice bath. In reality, at least for personal experience, it triggers a flood of emotions, including sorrow for sin and a resolve to take up one’s cross and follow the Master.
With city rescue workers standing by, a priest blesses the water and the tradition is to lower yourself into the water, and dunk three times, making the sign of the cross each time.
If you observe Epiphany, we wish for you a joyful and fulfilling time of spiritual growth and reflection. Amen.