As the sharp edge of winter cuts across February and early March with its long shadows and long cold nights, Orthodox Christians know that this time of year is the herald of Great Lent, that solemn but beautiful 40-day journey to the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With anticipation we look forward to that Lenten journey and what awaits us at the end of our spiritual travels — the “feast of feasts,” that great day of Pascha in which we proclaim, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death.” We celebrate that Christ has transformed death from a horrible finality to a wonderful passage into eternal life. Great Lent is that great gift given to us by the Church to help us prepare ourselves, to make ready, for the joy which is to come.
Replies Archimandrite Markell (Pavuk), spiritual father of the Kiev Theological Schools:
It is very joyful that a lot of people come to the church on the feast of Christ’s Baptism. This can also happen only on Easter and Palm Sunday. On other holidays and Sundays, there are significantly fewer people. Maybe this is because the majority of people does not know why they need to go to church, and those who go do not know how to correctly explain this to others.
The feast of Theophany explains the essence of our faith best of all.
When the Lord was baptized in the Jordan River by St. John, at that moment the Holy Spirit came upon him in the form of a dove and a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1: 9–11). So for the first time three Persons of the Holy Trinity were revealed in the New Testament: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It was in honor of the Holy Trinity that we, dear brothers and sisters, received holy Baptism in childhood.