Jordan the Great Water Blessing

ONE OF THE MORE COLORFUL TRADITIONS STILL OBSERVED IN POLAND IS "JORDAN" THE GREAT WATER BLESSING AT EPIPHANY/THEOPHANY, THE FINAL HOLYDAY OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. IT COMMEMORATES CHRIST'S BAPTISM IN THE JORDAN, BY ST. JOHN THE FORERUNNER, WHICH WAS A MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY TRINITY. IT IS OBSERVED ON JAN. 19TH ON THE CIVIL CALANDER (JAN. 6TH ON THE JULIAN CALENDAR). IT IS CELEBRATED TODAY BY ORTHODOX AND BYZANTINE CATHOLICS OF POLAND AND IS A RELIC OF ITS FIRST SLAVONIC-RITE BAPTISM BY THE CYRILO-METHODIAN MISSION, APPROXIMATELY 1150 YEARS AGO WHEN IT EVANGELIZED NASCENT POLISH TERRITORIES OF LITTLE POLAND, THE VISTULAN STATE, AND SILESIA.

AT THIS TIME, A PROCESSION WITH CROSS, ICONS, BANNERS, AND LIT TAPERS MOVES TO THE NEAREST FROZEN BODY OF WATER, WHERE A CROSS-SHAPED HOLE IS CUT IN THE ICE, ALONG WITH THE ERECTION OF A CROSS AND ALTAR, BOTH OF ICE. THE PRIEST BLESSES THE WATERS THRICE BY: CRUCIFORMLY DIPPING A LIT TRIPLE CANDLESTICK IN THE WATERS; NEXT BY BREATHING ON IT CROSSWISE 3X; BLESSING IT THRICE BY A DIPPED HAND; AND FINALLY BY THE THREE-FOLD DIPPING OF THE HOLY CROSS, WHILE SAYING THE PRAYER OF ST. SOPHRONIUS OF JERUSALEM.

THIS BLESSED VERY POWERFUL SACRAMENTAL JORDAN WATER IS TAKEN HOME BY THE FAITHFUL, WHO DRINK OF IT, SPRINKLE WITH IT, AND CROSS THEMSELVES WITH IT FOR BLESSING, HEALTH, AND THE REPELLING OF EVIL. IN POLAND AND SLAVIC COUNTRIES, HARDY INDIVIDUALS TAKE A DIP IN THE ICY WATERS FOR BLESSING, WHILE IN GREECE YOUNG MEN DIVE INTO THE OCEAN TO RECOVER A CROSS THROWN INTO THE WATER BY THE BISHOP. AFTER THIS, THE PRIEST "CHODZI PO KOLEDZIE," MEANING DOES THE ANNUAL HOME BLESSING WITH JORDAN WATER. THE JORDAN WATER BLESSING IS PROMINENTLY FEATURED IN THE BOOKS, "MISTERIA" AND "JOURNEYS TO GLORY" BY ADAM BUJAK, POLAND'S PREMIER PHOTOGRAPHER.


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