UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
"At Your Baptism in the Jordan, Lord, the Worship of the Trinity was Made Manifest...."
Nearly 200 faithful and visitors to St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL gathered at their parish temple to celebrate the feast day of Theophany of our Lord! The services of the feast day were led by His Grace Bishop Daniel, a ruling hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, who returned to the cathedral for his first service, following recent illness and hospitalization.
In his sermon Vladyka Daniel reflected on the feast of Theophany, explaining to the faithful that Christ’s baptism in the Jordan was “theophany,” a manifestation of God to the world, because it was the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry. It was also a “theophany” in that the world was granted a revelation of the Holy Trinity. All three Persons were made manifest together: the Father testified from on high to the divine Sonship of Jesus; the Son received His Father’s testimony; and the Spirit was seen in the form of a dove, descending from the Father and resting upon the Son. The theme of “manifestation” or “revelation” is also expressed in Scripture with the symbolism of light. In the hymn of the Feast we sing, “Christ has appeared and enlightened the world.” Thus, January 19th is also known as the Feast of Lights. The Church celebrates on this day the illumination of the world by the light of Christ.
In addition, the bishop reflected upon his personal faith journey, letting people know about his own baptism in (Soviet) Ukraine, by a priest in a basement of his house. Then bishop connected his reflection to the very first baptism he conducted as a young priest - in one of the orphanages sponsored by the Church, calling upon the faithful to recall the meaning of their own baptism and Christian vocation.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the bishop, assisted by Archimandrite Pankratij, pastor of the cathedral parish family, Very Rev. Fr. Andriy Shelvakh and Rev. Fr. Taras Maximtsiv blessed the water. The Great Blessing of Water is perhaps the most memorable part of the Theophany services. Water, as a symbol of purification and cleansing connected explicitly with the blessing of the Jordan River which occurred at the baptism of the Lord.