Eastern Rite Christians Celebrate Epiphany on 19 January
The Feast of Epiphany, which is observed on January 19 according to the Julian Calendar (January 6 according to the Gregorian Calendar), completes the cycle of Christmas holidays. The feast commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River during which Christ declared Himself as the Messiah and Savior.
According to the Gospel, the Heavenly Father Himself testified that during the baptism with a voice from Heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11), and the Holy Spirit which descends upon Him in the form of a dove and John the Baptist who pointed to Him: “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
Epiphany is closely connected with the Great or Jordan Consecration of Water.
In the Eastern Church, there are two ways of consecrating water: the great and small Consecration of water. The small consecration is used on various occasions, especially, on the day of a Church’s Patron Saint.
The Great or Jordan Consecration of water is observed twice a year: on Christmas Eve and on the day of Epiphany.
The church has from ancient times considered the consecrated Epiphany water a great holy thing and ascribes it miraculous power for the soul and body.
In a sermon on Epiphany, St. John Chrysostom writes “On that feast, everyone draws water, brings it home and keep it for the whole year…And a strange phenomenon takes place: the water in its essence does not get spoiled in the course of time.”
Often, the water is consecrated in a river; if the frost is strong on that day, an ice hole in the form of a cross is made. The faithful can bathe in the consecrated water of the river.
On the eve of the Epiphany, according to tradition, families gather at table for supper, which is popularly called “Hungry kutia.”