Theophany vs. Epiphany

Re sharing this from 2013…

Praying With My Feet

In the East, today we celebrate (if we’re on the new calendar – 13 days later for the old calendar); the feast of Theophany, the baptism of the Lord. In the West they celebrate Epiphany, the arrival of the three wise men bearing gifts. There is usually some confusion here, especially for new converts to Orthodoxy from traditions that celebrated Epiphany. It’s an understandable thing. The words sound alike and they’re on the same day. I’m not going to go into this huge discourse on the differences between the two, but here it is in a nutshell:

Theophany is, as I mentioned, the celebration of the baptism of Christ. Some people will wonder why Christ had to be baptized. After all, He is God, right? Right. When Christ entered the waters of the Jordan the water was sanctified.* This is stated in the troparion of the afterfeast. So what…

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