For nearly 2,000 years, Eve feast of Baptism, the miracle happens from River Jordan where Jesus Christ the Savior was baptized by the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John. River, which naturally flowing smoothly to the Dead Sea, immediately after the prayer holy water Mari after Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem threw the cross into the water, begin to swirl, forming some eddies and water changes its flow direction heading towards springs . Just happened to Epiphany, when Jordan changed course as soon as the Lord came into its waters. Changing the flow direction is by coming upriver salt water of the Dead Sea; salt water comes from below and resurfaces in those eddies that occur when Jordan sanctification. Therefore, holy water Mare this day, that Jordan is often salty. This miracle takes place every year, with more or less intensity, being mentioned exceptional cases when people’s deeds and unbelief, Jordan did not return back.
Prophesied in the Old Testament: sea saw and fled: Jordan was turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs and sheep. How’s it to you, sea, that you run? And you Jordan, that you turned back? (Ps. 113: 3-5), this miracle is one of three great miracles that occur every year in the Holy Land and that only Orthodox come true Orthodox faith. It is the Light of the Holy Saturday in Jerusalem, the Jordan River waters return to Epiphany and lowering clouds Tabor Feast of the Transfiguration.
Lord was baptized where he preached a baptism of repentance at Bethany on the left bank of the river (John 1:28), the same place where the Israelites entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 3: 15-17) crossing marvelously Jordan on dry land. Here and all marvelously prophets Elijah and Elisha went over on dry ground (4 Kings 2: 8; 2:14) and place it near the kidnapping took place in heaven in a chariot of fire Prophet Elias (4 Kings 2 : 11-12).
In the first centuries of Christian service begins at noon with Great Vespers of the feast of Baptism united with the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, after which it was consecration of water, and the moment when the priest was going down the river, the place where was baptized Christ the Savior, waters began to flow back. And they ran back as long as catechumens who were baptized in the Jordan. After the baptism of catechumens whole multitude of Christians stood in vigil all night that take place there, and at dawn we all partook in the Divine Liturgy, including the newly baptized.
After the invasion of the Persians in the year 614 AD and destruction of all churches and monasteries in the Holy Land, followed in the coming 637 Arab Muslims who took over this place and to this day they are the majority in the area called West Bank, meaning “beyond the Jordan”. Gradually, due to persecutions and pressures to which they were subjected, Christians have left the ancient custom to three days to Jordan and were limited to just come for the service of holy water Mari, as happens today.
Since the Six Day War of 1967 until today, at the original baptism of Jesus Christ can visit without restriction only coming through Jordan or Israel, three times a year, twice Orthodox – Epiphany and during Holy Sea Tuesday before Easter – and once for Roman Catholics – the last Thursday in October. Baptism site is located in the border strip between Israel and Jordan, which is enclosed with barbed wire and heavily guarded by the Israeli army.
Year of Our Lord 2012
This year Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrated Epiphany Eve centuries after the order takes place on January 5 according to the old Julian calendar, or 18 January after international civil calendar, known as the Gregorian calendar. Morning at 5:00, the patriarchal church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Jerusalem, was committed Matins Eve, Royal Hours Liturgy of St. Basil the Great and holy water ministry. Around 9:30 was started in procession to Jordan, with the first destination Monastery of the Holy Prophet Elisha in Jericho.
The Ninth hour at St. John Monastery
It is important to note that the road to Jericho runs through the famous desert of Judea, which is a geographic region composed of hills and canyons with altitudes ranging from 421 m below sea level – given that the Dead Sea that borders on the south-eastern the lowest place on Earth – 1000 m altitude in the mountains of Judea. The most important localities are Jews kid Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho and Hebron. Lack of drinking water and access roads, made this region to remain uninhabited, but it became very sought after by hermits. The Lord Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil and the temptations place was built monastery on Mount of Karantania or “Temptation Lord.” The kid Jews in the Byzantine period is stormed by monks. No less than 65 monasteries existed here in the late sixth century, of which survived until today the famous monastery of St. Sabbas the Sanctified, the monastery of St. Theodosius beginner life community, the monastery of St. George on Hozeva, where he lived St. John Jacob the Romanian.
Back: first stop was therefore Monastery Prophet Elisha in Jericho. This is the place where the Lord found him and called him the tax collector Zacchaeus, who climbed the sycamore tree to see Him. Located in the monastery, sycamore and Zacchaeus stands testimony to this wonderful happenings today (Luke 19: 1-10). Here patriarchal procession was greeted by the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Filumen, and the Mayor.
Then they went to Holy Monastery of John the Forerunner and Baptist by the Jordan. Here grăbiseră while dozens of people, scouts aghiotafiţi, Mayor of Jericho, military authorities Abba Gherasim Israelites region and the Jordan River aghiotafiţi parents, Abbot of St. Gerasimos Monastery, Archimandrite Chrysostomos, who made a warm welcome Patriarch. In church, in a state of disrepair after the 1967 war, but also because of repeated attacks of religious fanatics, was read the Ninth Hour feast, followed the procession on foot toward the Jordan River.
Here, the place where according to tradition the Lord was baptized by John, expecting thousands of people, it is estimated that there were around 5000 after a rough calculation of coaches and minibuses. People came from many corners of the Orthodox world and beyond, many Russians, Greeks, Cypriots, many Romanian. Atmosphere was mixed, mastered a tension of waiting, words and gestures betrayed. Each search feverishly for a place to see better, negotiate with police for a half-step forward, explanations, justifications. Some told of how they saw the wonder in other years, those coming for the first time it looked curious to learn more, because of course, it’s one thing to read and quite another to see with your own eyes. Most expected the miracle of miracles prefabricated somewhat resemble the small screen and were looking spectacular. At such wonderful events often manifested a true “miracle hysteria” when practical miracle, a desire to see with bodily eyes, becomes more important than God Himself Who performs the miracle. And those wishing to attend the show miracle, remove God from the equation, and neighbor, very concretely, in the vanity that arises. No national ambitions and rivalries are not just absent from such events, revealing how far we most orthodox ecumenical experience of God’s kingdom, where “there is neither Jew nor celery; there is neither bond nor free (…), for you are all one in Christ Jesus “(Galatians 3, 28).
Watercourse was considering to impress me well in mind the direction of flow. Many wanted to ensure “flowing smoothly right now.” From its israeli shore , Jordan sees really flowing right.
Tension rose to 12.30, approaching procession patriarchal, traditional bagpipes could be heard already aghiotafitis scouts. Flocks of pigeons flying in the sky that people applaud him with joy.
Jordan religious service
On newly designed special events at the site of Baptism, committed bishop’s council Great Vespers of the feast and prayers were read Mari holy water. Abbot of the monastery of St. Gerasimos, Elder Chrysostomos had some wonderful care of white doves during the service that they all sit on the crutch Patriarch as a symbol of the Holy Spirit which showed a dove in Baptism.
Even before lowering the Patriarch to Jordan river somehow breaking up into three parts: the middle next to pop on a length of 3-4 meters, the water stood still, do not move either right or left. Downstream, the water continues to flow to the right and slightly to the left flowed upstream. Meanwhile, light vortices formed here and there, as if somewhere down the bottom, there’s a giant kettle that shake the surface in a gentle boil.
Further Beatitude, together with the clergy and those who accompanied him to the monastery of Saint John, fell to Jordan and threw holy cross in Jordan while the people sing “in Jordan baptizing You, O Lord, … “.
After lowering the Patriarch, boiling it has spread and the river has developed two streams, one flowing to the right and one left, finally merging the two currents. After leaving the council patriarchal shore after Christians began to be baptized in the Jordan, the miracle was complete, the new current flowing strongly to the left.
What rumor swept the crowd alike and those that did and those who did not see! The front began shouting out, each in his own language: “Look at Jordan,” “there by Patriarch eddies seen!” “Thank you, Lord.” It was clear that something is happening. Some were thrown into the water in white shirts, while others filled their bottles and cans with water, that those who had the chance to pass filters policemen and reach even to Jordan. Many testified, some stared, speechless, by far. But others could see nothing, remaining far from Jordan, devoid of insight as to how satisfactory the river water, but one mind, however, the joy of the feast, because a state of euphoria swept everyone up and police Israelites seemed more relaxed and happier. Tension, tensions, rivalries were gone, nobody was sad or stressed. Peace and joy conquered them all.
After this great celebration of Orthodox place where the Lord received Baptism, Patriarchal procession and many believers went to Holy Monastery of St. Gerasimos of the Jordan where the abbot of the Holy Monastery, Archimandrite Chrysostomos, offered a post meal without oil.
Everywhere they encounter bells sounding cheerful rhythm Troparion Baptism …