The Epiphany

On this day we celebrate the holy Epiphany of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.

In all the holy churches of God we celebrate today the holy Epiphany of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ and from evening onwards we keep a vigil because when the Lord completed His thirtieth year on earth He wanted to make Himself known to people that He is God in body. When the Lord was being baptized by John, he was revealed in voice by God the Father from above and by the coming of the Holy Spirit to be true God and consubstantial with the Father. From that time onwards it was made known to all through miracles and His excellent teaching that He certainly is the God who was openly preached by the prophets.

He came to baptism for such a reason: When the Lord became man for us, he fulfilled the whole law throughout His whole life. John on the other hand came from the desert and was baptizing in river Jordan according to what God had told him and to the order and law of God, as Luke the evangelist says (Luke 3,2). That is why the Lord wishing to fulfil even this word as divine law, after he completed thirty years of age, He went to John the Baptist to be baptized as the rest of men did, although he had no need of baptism being sinless. John respecting the Lord and thinking of his own worthlessness said: "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" But the Lord encourages and moves John to baptize Him, showing that what he thinks to be improper is most proper, i.e. the Lord to be baptized by the servant. That is why He told him: "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness". According to the divine Chrysostomos righteousness is here called by the Lord the perfection of all the commandments (in his homily on baptism), i.e. it is as if He says: because I have perfected all the commandments of divine law, this is the only one that is left, that is why I have to perfect it, too.

This is when John gave up his objections. So, when the Lord was baptized by him, he immediately rose from the water and behold! The heavens opened and John saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and going to Jesus. But even a voice from heavens above was heard saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". From this it was made obvious to the Jews that John was not greater than Jesus, according to the false conviction held by many, but that he was incomparably lower than Him and that he was His servant and stooge. that is why the Spirit descending addressed the Father's voice to Jesus and obviously showed as if pointing
out with the finger that "This is my beloved Son" was not said about John the Baptist, although he was glorified and accepted by many, but it was said about Jesus who was being baptized. When the Lord had completed this legal commandment of baptism as well, He broke the curse which had been put on Adam because he had broken the Divine law and, delivering us from condemnation, he brought every ceremonial law to and end from that time onwards lifting them up to a more spiritual and perfect level. Following this He discontinued the Jewish baptism and gave to us, the faithful, the commandment to be baptized with the baptism of the three immersions and immersions, which has the grace of the Holy Spirit that was absent from John's baptism. Because, when the Lord had been baptized in that same river, he completed the shadowy and imperfect baptism and opened the gates of the spiritual and divine baptism of the Church. This baptism we, who were baptized, need from that time onwards to keep pure and immaculate from sin by carrying out the life-giving commandments so that we may reach the kingdom of heavens.

Glory be to God forever. Amen.