THE FOREFEAST OF THEOPHANY AT THE PATRIARCHATE
On Wednesday, the 5th/18th of January 2023, the Patriarchate celebrated the Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, in accordance with the ecclesiastical and institutional (Status Quo) formality.
On the morning of this day, after the Service of Matins in the monastic Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, the Royal Hours of Epiphany I, III, VI and IX were read, with the participation of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.
After the reading of the Hours, the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great was celebrated, and after its Dismissal, the service of the Sanctification of the Water was held by His Beatitude, with the co-prayer of the High Priests and other Hagiotaphite Fathers and pilgrims, who drank from the holy water and were sprinkled with it.
Then, after the chanting of “When Thou was baptized in the Jordan”, the ascension to the Patriarchate took place and prayers were offered. Then, after a little while, the Episcopal entourage arrived under the Most Reverend Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa, after the service of the Sanctification of the Water at the Cathedral of Saint James the Brother of God.
Then at about 9.00 a.m., H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos departed to the Jordan River, passing through the Holy Monastery of the Holy Prophet Elisha and through the Prefecture of Jericho.
His Beatitude arrived at the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner, was dressed in a red cloak and in the presence of Scouts and accompanied by High Priests and many Priests and some thousands of pilgrims marched to the Jordan River and on a platform performed the service of the Sanctification of the water.
Then His Beatitude went down to the bank of the Jordan and while floating on a boat, he immersed the holy Cross into the waters, in which everyone chanted “when Thou wast baptized in the Jordan” in joy and rejoicing and from the other side of the East Bank of the Jordan River.
Finally, His Beatitude returned to the nearby Monastery of the Holy Forerunner, where its restorer, Hegoumen Archimandrite Bartholomew hosted a fasting meal.
After this, His Beatitude departed for Jerusalem, passing from the Holy Monastery of Abba Gerasimos of the Jordan for veneration.