The Great Sanctification of Water on the Feast of the Theophany

The Great feasts of the Eastern Catholic Churches are all observed with special hymns, special icons, and often, special rites. We may think immediately of the blessing of palms on Palm Sunday, the blessing of foods on Pascha, the exaltation of the Holy Cross on that feast or the blessing of grapes on the feast of the Transfiguration. The most solemn of these festal blessings, however, is the Great Sanctification of Water on the Feast of the Theophany. The Feast of Theophany is a liturgical event that is celebrated every year  on January 6th at the Assumptiin Ukrainian Catholic Church in Perth Amboy, NJ. Over the course of 2000 years, it has evolved to commemorate one of the most significant events in Christendom – the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. During Theophany, people traditionally attend a prayer service where the priest blesses regular water into holy water at the “Blessing of the Water” ceremony. This year,  after the blessing of the water ceremony in the church, Fr. Ivan  walked around the school with a small group of students and blessed each room with holy water and offered a classroom blessing to students and staff.