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It is Epiphany!

06 January 2010 / 17:01:44  GRReporter
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Festive sound of bells since early morning and empty streets in the neighborhood.

The central church in the north Athens suburb Marusi is full of people. Hundreds came here to honor Epiphany and listen to the mass. The entire family is visiting, as the tradition decrees. Many children with their parents and of course elderly couples. Epiphany is one of the greatest Orthodox Christian holidays. This is the third and last holiday of the twelve days starting at Christmas. Its importance in the Church calendar ranked it as one of the official holidays in Greece.

Mrs. Areti shares how important is this day to her. “This is one of the greatest Christian holidays. I am very excited. I feel tenderness. When I watch the throwing of the cross in the water I always have tears in my eyes”.

28 years old Andonis also says that this is one of the most important days for the Orthodox calendar. Young man shares that he doesn’t always go to the mass on January 6th unlike in August 15th – Virgin Mary’s day, when he always goes to church together with his family. “I do it often before church holidays and every time I learn something new. I like this.”, adds Andonis.

According to a Biblical legend this day in the waters of Jordan river, John the Baptist has baptized Jesus Christ. At the moment of his baptism the sky “opens” and The Holly Ghost comes down to Jesus as a dove. A voice comes from the sky saying: “This is My beloved Son, who has My Goodwill”. This is where the name of the holiday Epiphany comes from. In Greek this holiday is called Teophany or Fota. It is not clear exactly when the celebration of the holiday starts. John Chrysostom describes it as an ancient celebration in Antakya. Since the fourth century Epiphany is a church holiday celebrating the sanctification of humanity through the Holly Baptism.

After the mass in the church, the priest throws the cross in the water and men have to take it out. The one who takes the cross out of the water will be healthy and happy. In Bulgaria it is believed that if the cross freezes in the water, the year will be healthy and fruitful.

Today in Greece are celebrating all who have the names Fotini, Fotis, Teofanis, Fani, Jordanis and in Bulgaria – Jordan, Jordanka, Dancho, Danka, Bogoliub, Bogoliuba, Bozhan, Bozhana, Dana, Boyan, Bogdan, Bogdana. Happy holiday!

Tags: Epiphany cross News
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