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Water blessing ceremony in Bulgarian churches on the day before Epiphany

Photo: BGNES-archive

On the eve of the great Christian Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Yordanovden, a great water blessing ceremony was served in all Bulgarian Orthodox churches. The ritual refers to The Baptism of Christ in the sacred River Jordan by John the Baptist. 

This is one of the most solemn sacraments of the Church's ordinances and is celebrated after the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil. The Great Epiphany Blessing takes plave twice a year - on Epiphany and on the eve of Epiphany itself. The first Christians performed water-blessing rituals on the night before the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Since then, Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria have been praying at midnight before the Epiphany. It is believed that this is the time when the skies open and the Lord hears their sincere prayers. 

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