Orthodox Icon of Theophany to Commemorate Christ’s Baptism
The Feast of Theophany is one of the greatest events in the Christian world. Orthodox Christians celebrate it on January 19 to commemorate the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River and the manifestation of the Holy Trinity. The iconography of this feast marks a complex composition, containing multiple symbols. In this blog post, we will tell you about the Orthodox icon of Theophany and its significance for all Christian believers.
The events of Theophany
The Baptism of the Lord is one of the Twelve Great Feasts, which the Orthodox Church celebrates on January 19, new style. A great liturgy is held on this day, dedicated to the Gospel event of the Baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist and the beginning of Christ’s earthly service.
The word “Theophany” means the descent of the Most Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. According to the synoptic Gospels, during Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased,” and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove. Thus, the world witnessed that Christ was the Son of God, as God Himself appeared to mankind.
The event of Theophany and Baptism of the Lord holds a salutary significance for every believer. Christ’s baptism symbolizes the cleansing from sins and the enlightenment of the human soul. God is presented to people as the Founder of the new, pure, and blessed Church, and Baptism is the beginning of its existence in the earthly world.
Orthodox icon of Theophany
Traditionally, Christian icons of Theophany depict both the scene of Christ’s baptism and the revelation to the world of the Holy Trinity. The central figure in the Orthodox icon of Theophany is Jesus Christ, who is standing naked in the waters of the Jordan River. John the Baptist standing on the bank stretches out his hands to Jesus. Angels are depicted on the other bank, waiting to clothe Christ.
The icon also depicts a segment of heaven above the Savior, with a dove – the Holy Spirit – descending on Jesus. One can see three rays emerging from the dove, which signifies the voice of God who was speaking to His Son.
The Feast of Theophany, along with its iconography, occupies a special place in the entire Christian world. The purification of the body and soul by consecrated water, as well as the strengthening of faith and hope that the Orthodox icon of the feast brings, makes this event significant for every believer.