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Epiphany is coming, or the end of the "Unclean Days"

Photo: BGNES

On January 6, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates one of the brightest Christian holidays, called Epiphany, Yordanovden or the Baptism of the Lord. This is the day on which John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ in the sacred River Jordan.

According to the Bulgarian folk calendar, Epiphany puts an end to the so-called "dirty/unclean days" beginning with the Nativity of Christ, in which demons and unclean forces roam the earth. But with the coming of the Epiphany, after the Great Blessing of the Water, the world is purified thanks to the life-giving power of the Epiphany water. The consecration of the water takes place during the Great Blessing of Water, also called the Great Epiphany Blessing, which is held only twice a year in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on January 5 and 6. On the eve of Epiphany itself, after the Divine Liturgy, people pray for God's blessing over the water and the purification and sanctification of those who receive it. At the end of the service, the priest sprinkles the holy water on the laity, who then pour it out to sprinkle their home for health and blessings. Epiphany water is stored in the home until the next Great Blessing of the Water to help believers with any pain.

After the waster blessing ceremony on Epiphany, according to church tradition, a liturgical procession is performed, led by the priest, to a nearby river or pond. There, the bravest of lads take part in a symbolic ritual - the reclaiming of the cross from the water, which the priest throws into the water after the common prayer. It is believed that whoever reaches the cross first and takes it out of the icy waters will be very healthy and fortunate all the year. Bulgarians believe that if the cross freezes in the water, the year will be fertile and the people healthy.

According to church tradition, all water sources on earth are consecrated on the day of the Epiphany. Therefore, it is believed that all the water on earth is sanctified on Epiphany and has healing and purifying properties.

You can learn more interesting details in the article About It is Epiphany, May we be healthy and blessed from Radio Bulgaria’s Best Collection:


Compiled by Veneta Nikolova

English version Rositsa Petkova

Photos: BGNES
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