Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Epiphany - Denho Special, John The Baptist
Volume 6 No. 323 January 5, 2015
The Christmas season ends in the church on January 7 with the Baptism of Jesus Christ - Denho. Actually, one more feast is scheduled on February 2 called Mayaltho. It falls exactly 40 days from Christmas. That is when Mary, Joseph and Jesus went to the temple for the traditional purification ceremonies and meet Simeon and Anna. We get the privilege to hear the last of the beautiful poems in the infant narratives of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke on this occasion.

With the Baptism of Jesus, His Public Ministry is kicked off. John The Baptist slowly fades from the stage and Jesus gets more prominence. On January 8, we remember the beheading of John the Baptist.

This year, the Easter comes early. So, the Nineveh Lent (3 day Lent) starts on January 18! That is early!! And fifty Day Lent begins on February 8.

In Orthodox Tradition, Epiphany and Denho are celebrated together. (We actually read the Gospel passage of the arrival of Magi during our Christmas Liturgy. But these are two separate events, but there are many commonalities too. In western tradition, the Epiphany is celebrated on January 7th (12th Day of Christmas) and Denho is celebrated on the following Sunday.

Articles in today's Journal explain the difference. Epiphany is when the Magi, the three Kings, came to see Jesus from the East. They may have visited Jesus when He was a toddler. (It may be pointed out that we really do not know the exact number of Magi. We assume it is 3 because there were three gifts presented to Jesus. Knowing the hard travel conditions, most probably they came in a big caravan with servants tending their camel etc. It was a very expensive and time consuming trip.) Angels told shepherds about the birth of the savior; but the Magi learned it from the star. When the Magi kneels down and worship Jesus, the Jesus' role has expended considerably. Instead of just saving Israelites, Jesus' mission expands to saving all the humankind - both Israel and Gentiles. So, this is an important feast for us-Gentiles. We became sons and daughters of God as a result.

Denho is also a very important feast. This is where Holy Spirit anoints Jesus to prepare Him for His Public Ministry. The Father, from heaven, declares that Jesus is His Son, the one whom He is well pleased. This is one occasion when the three persons of Trinity are together in earth - Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Please read the articles in today's journal to understand the significance of Jesus' baptism. People wonder why Jesus needed baptism as he was sinless. Today's journal and the previous journals go into this topic in detail. Please take your time and read them. Understanding this will help you to understand our sacraments better.

Hope you all had a Great Christmas and New Year. Holidays are over. In Northern part of USA, it is getting really cold. Still very little snow. All the precipitation is on the south mid-west and western part of the US and in Chennai, India.

Lastly, we frequently get emails from people telling us how Malankara World is helping them. We are glad that we are of help. I don't publish them because some people may think it as self-promotion or blowing our own horns, or whatever. Like John the Baptist, we think our role is to increase the status of the publication so that it can help you and diminish the role of us, as we are nothing. Why did I say all these things? My good friend Philip Scaria, a founding member of the Malankara World Board and a very strong supporter of the MW has sent an email for publication. I am going to reproduce it because of my high respect for him. And not doing so, I feel, will be taken as lack of gratitude on my part. Plus this message is directed to the audience. Here it is:

To all readers and Jacob Saar:

It is great appreciation and prayers that I wish "HAPPY NEW YEAR" to you all. Let me, further, extend my renewed appreciation for Dr. Jacob Mathew for all his tireless work for this publication and all associated projects. May Lord bless him with good health and happiness throughout the new year and beyond.

Philip Scaria, Chicago

Like St. Mary, at the time of annunciation, I am humbled by the love and support showered on us by our team members like Philip Scaria Saar. Like St. Mary, I wonder what have I done to deserve such recognition. Thank you Philip. We all wish you and other members of the Board a Happy New Year too.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


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