Albanian Orthodox Church
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan,
the veneration of the Trinity was revealed.
For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved,
and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words.
Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.
These were the words that filled the air on the 6th of January in all the Orthodox Churches of Albania. Early in the morning on the 6th of January, thousands of believers all around Albania, went to their Orthodox Churches to celebrate the feast of the Blessing of the Water, or as we Orthodox believers know it differently, the feast of Theophany.
In the four Dioceses of Albania (Tirana, Berati, Korҫa and Gjirokastra) this feast was celebrated in every church with great solemnity.
In Tirana, after the Divine Liturgy, the Blessing of the Water was led by Archbishop Anastasios, who reminded the present believers at the ceremony to keep the Light of the Holy Trinity in their hearts and to take it to the places where they live as hope for the present and for the future. In order to provide believers with blessed water, 50 water faucets were set up around the Cathedral of Tirana and were available until late in the afternoon. In all Orthodox Churches of this Diocese all the believers had the possibility to be part of the ceremony of this great feast and to learn more about its meaning.
Also in the Diocese of Berati this feast was celebrated with great joy. Many, many believers gathered in the morning of this day in their Orthodox Churches to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, as they do every year, and afterwards to participate in the Blessing of the Water. In the City of Berati, the Bishop of this Diocese, His Eminence Ignati, officiated at the ceremony of this day. After the Divine Liturgy they went to the river to throw the cross, together with the believers, especially the young people who were ready to go into the very cold waters of the river and to catch the cross, as a sign of their deep faith. In all Orthodox Churches of this Diocese, this ceremony was filled with enthusiasm and many faithful people were present.
In the Diocese of Korҫa, early in the morning of the 6th of January, thousands of believers gathered in their Orthodox Churches to celebrate this feast. In the City of Korҫa the Blessing of the Water was headed by the Bishop of the Diocese, His eminence Joan Pelushi. According to an ancient annual tradition of this city, all the believers had kept an icon from the Church in their home for a period of 40 days, and they returned the icon to the church on the day of Theophany, together with a contribution of money. After completing the ceremony of the Blessing of the Water in the “The Resurrection of Christ” Cathedral of Korҫa, the priests returned to their cities or villages to offer the ceremony also to the believers. After this, the believers of Korҫa and Pogradeci went to the lake of this region together with the Bishop of this Diocese, Joan Pelushi to throw the cross in the waters. After putting some of the holy water in the lake and sprinkling some on the believers, the Bishop threw the cross in the water. A young boy picked up the cross while the believers sang together the troparion of the feast.
In the Diocese of Gjirokastra, thousands of believers gathered to celebrate this great feast. The Bishop of this Diocese, His Eminence Dhimitri celebrated the Divine Liturgy on this day in the City of Saranda. Many people were presentand among them also many public officials. After the Divine Liturgy, the believers all together led by Bishop Dhimitri went to the sea and there they performed the ceremony of the Blessing of the Water, and they threw the cross in the waters of the sea. Many young people dove into the water to pick up the cross, but only one of them was the winner. Also in the City of Gjirokastra, after the Divine Liturgy, this ceremony was held at the River of Drini.
Theophany is a feast that is known by Orthodox people as the Feast of the Lights. The Light of the World is revealed. On that day, during the Baptism of Christ, the Holy Trinity was manifest among people. This day is the beginning of the mission of Christ on earth. This great feast brings joy and blessings for all the believers.
Edited by Anastasia Pamela Barksdale