I love how various feasts involve the blessing of something basic and earthy . . . water on Theophany, palms on Palm Sunday, eggs at Pascha, fruit on the Transfiguration. Irreligious and deracinated Protestants sometimes find such practices to be pagan, but they make manifest the Christian doctrine of Christ’s recapitulation and perfection of all creation. Even the pagans recognize the sacred. Calvinists do not excel in spirituality by dismissing the sacred. They rather lose all sense of transcendence. The logical conquence of Calvinism is indeed the United Church of Christ—faddish politics occasionally wrapped in scriptural swaddling clothes.
Anyway, it is also the birthday of one of America’s finest sons—and a not too distant cousin of mine—Robert E. Lee (“too” being relative in genealogy, of course). According to Google, it is Paul Cézanne’s birthday, as well.
I really appreciate the Greekness of the Greeks, and the new calendar Greeks of Tarpon Springs, Florida celebrated the feast (thirteen days ago) with their typical Hellenic enthusiasm:
Slideshow from the Albany Times Union: “Epiphany celebrations in Russia”
Here is a depiction of the practice in suburban Moscow. It is a bit more raw than the monastic setting in the previous video. Anthropological notes: the Soviet nostalgia clothing items (hat and underwear), the presence of American founding fathers on underwear and towels, and the Russians’ utter disregard of male modesty. Yep, quite familiar . . .
Reuters also has a multinational slideshow: “Epiphany in the water”
And here are the Ukrainians: