At the end of the Great Blessing of Waters on Saturday, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel told the faithful that the feast of the Theophany ‘reveals the renewal or the update of Christ’s Baptism, but also the renewal of the Baptism of each and every one of us.’ Speaking about the rite of the Great Blessing of Waters, the Patriarch reminded that the Holy Fathers of the Church called the service a ‘Holy Mystery’, not because it adds to the seven Sacraments of the Church, but because it is ‘the renewal of the Mystery of Baptism.’
Linking the prayer of St Sophrony of Jerusalem read during the Great Blessing of Waters with the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Daniel noted that there are two moments when the Holy Spirit is invoked thrice ‘because not only the humanity of Jesus entered the waters of Jordan River, but also His divinity.’
‘As the festive hymns cite, Christ entered Jordan with the fire of His divinity and with his human nature, which He took upon Himself through the conception of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and through his human birth,’ Patriarch Daniel said Jan. 6.
The Patriarch explained the difference between the Great Blessing and the Lesser Blessing of Waters. Referring to the Theophany Water, His Beatitude said that it is ‘a Holy Water, filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, full of sanctifying, healing power that casts away demonic powers.’
‘The Theophany Water is sanctification to bodies and souls,’ the patriarch said, and that is why it is given to sick persons and to those who are not admitted to Holy Communion for a period of repentance.
The Romanian Patriarch also recalled the Christianization of the Romanian people and pointed to Saint Andrew who transmitted the ‘apostolic faith’ and ‘baptised our first ancestors.’ His Beatitude added that ‘the Baptism of the Romanian people, their Christianization, was a slow and profound process so that they might resist many trials in history.’
Ending his speech, Patriarch Daniel referred to the Solemn and Commemorative Year 2018 urging everyone ‘to remember all those who have fought with strong faith and many sacrifices so that Romanians be assembled in a unitary state.’
On the feast of the Theophany of the Lord, 6 January 2018, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral, following which he performed the Great Blessing of Waters at the entrance of the patriarchal residence. Concelebrating hierarchs included Antiochian Bishop Qais of Erzurum, Auxiliary Patriarchal Bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti, Auxiliary Patriarchal Bishop Ieronim of Sinaia and Bucharest Archdiocese Assistant Bishop Timotei of Prahova.
Photo courtesy of Robert Nicolae/Basilica.ro