Friday, 8 January 2010

St Jordan Day In Bulgaria

Last year I witnessed the throwing of the cross into the iced up waters of the River Tundzha to be chased into the waters by mainly young Bulgarians. A great event that attracts many crowds and the media of course. This year I am lucky enough to be working unlike over 10% of the work force in Bulgaria so I missed it. It is so heart warming to know that these traditions remain firm in Bulgaria and long may it remain so.

St Jordan Day In Bulgaria
On January 6, in Eastern Orthodox churches the emphasis is on the shining forth and revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Second Person of the Trinity at the time of his baptism. It is also celebrated because, according to tradition, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist marked one of only two occasions when all three Persons of the Trinity manifested themselves simultaneously to humanity.

On St. Jordan's Day (Epiphany), the Orthodox Churches perform the Great Blessing of Waters. The blessing is normally done on the day of the feast, outdoors at a body of water. Following the Divine Liturgy, the clergy and people go in a procession with the cross to the nearest body of water. At the end of the ceremony the priest will bless the waters by casting a cross into them. If swimming is feasible on the spot, any number of volunteers may brave the cold winter and try to recover the cross. The person who gets the cross first swims back and returns it to the priest, who then delivers a special blessing to the swimmer and their household.

In Sofia, the traditional release of the cross will be held at the lake in the Sofia "Druzhba" district.