Theophany Eve occurs on January 5th – that is, the twelveth day of Christmas. It is also a day of Fast in preparation. Unlike Christmas, Easter, and The Dormition, the preparation for Theophany is limited to a single day. This is because it occurs during the Nativity festal season. Traditionally this day is observed as a strict fast, with the only allowable foods being raw, steamed, or boiled vegetables. Nowadays, it is sometimes observed with the same meatless meal as on the eve of Nativity. (Which you can read about here).
Vespers… and another St. Basil’s Divine Liturgy
In our article on the circumcision of Christ, we talked a little bit about St. Basil’s Divine Liturgy. On the Eve of Theophany, we pray Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. The liturgy starts with the priest saying “Blessed be the kingdom..” followed by the full usual beginning prayers. Then, the people/choir intone Psalm 103 (Bless the Lord, O my soul). Next, instead of the Great Litany, the priest says a special prayer regarding the 103rd Psalm and Theophany. After this is Psalm 104 and another prayer tied to Theophany.
Up next in the liturgy is my favourite prayer “O Joyful Light.”
There are a lot of scripture readings in the coming moments. Here are the readings for the Vespers and Divine Liturgy
- Genesis 1:1-13
- Exodus 14:15-18, 21-23, 27-19
- Exodus 15:22-16:1
- Joshua 3: 7-8, 15-17
- 2 Kings 2: 6-14
- 2 Kings 5: 9-14
- Isaiah 1: 16-20
- Genesis 32: 1-10
- Exodus 2: 5-10
- Judges 6: 36-40
- 1 Kings 18: 30-39
- 2 Kings 2: 19-22
- Isaiah 49: 8-15
Way up on our usual two readings, eh?
More On Theophany
If you are interested in reading more about Theophany, check out last years article on the feast day here! It contains more information about the celebration of Theophany. As well as theophany traditions in the East and West. I also wrote about the Great Water Blessing!
Right after Theophany is the Synaxis of John the Baptist. Check out our article on John the Baptist’s Synaxis here.
The Byzantine Life
Thank you for checking out this week’s article. Let me know in the comments what you are doing this year to celebrate Theophany!
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