Monday, January 08, 2007

January 8: The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Cutting a hole in the ice for baptism at Ishim, Russia
Blessing the river at Epiphany
Baptism at the Neva River at Saint Petersburg
The Feast of the Jordan as an Epiphany of the Divine.

Today's pictures

“At St. Petersburg, on Epiphany, the feast of the Jordan is celebrated with great solemnity on the Neva River, in front of the Czar’s Palace. A richly decorated chapel, open on all sides, is built, with a hole in the center of the flooring and down through the thick ice. At ten in the morning, the metropolitan bishop of St. Petersburg celebrates a solemn Mass in this tiny temporary chapel, at which all the dignitaries of the church and the troops of the Imperial Guard are present. After the divine liturgy, the emperor arrives with the court. Then the bishop blesses the Neva by lowering a cross through the hole, whilst cannon are fired and the troops, kneeling and bareheaded, present arms. Everyone then tries to wet his lips with some
of the water that has just been blessed, and to get some for himself by making holes in the ice. In the provinces, the peasants plunge into the water themselves, while elsewhere, people are content to gather the water into containers themselves.”

The History of the Liturgical Year, Adrian Nocent