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Image by Greg Rosenke

    The Holy Epiphany


          In a momentous encounter by the Jordan River, Lord Jesus met Saint John the Baptist, marking a fulfillment of prophecy. Saint John, recognizing Jesus, declared Him as the one to erase sin, highlighting His divine purpose. Jesus’ baptism by John was pivotal; despite John’s initial reluctance, Jesus insisted, on emphasizing righteousness. This act opened the heavens, signifying divine approval and revealing the Holy Trinity, a moment both spiritual and transformative. 

          The baptism symbolizes humanity’s redemption from original sin, with Epiphany marking this divine revelation. Christians, particularly in Ethiopia, commemorate this event on January 20, known as Timket. The celebration spans two days, encapsulating deep spiritual rituals and traditions, reflecting the profound reverence and enduring faith within the Ethiopian Christian community.

         The Ethiopian celebration is a vivid, collective expression of faith, merging historical reverence with solemn rituals. On Ketera, the eve, congregations carry Arcs of the Covenant to water bodies, symbolizing Jesus' journey to baptism. The night is spent in prayer and psalms, echoing Jesus' humility and anticipation before His baptism, a powerful lesson for the faithful.

Timket morning is marked by the Divine Liturgy, where waters are sanctified, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus. This rite deeply resonates with the faithful, reenacting the sacred event, and seeking blessings. The subsequent procession of the Holy Arcs back to churches is a festive, communal celebration, reflecting the joy and unity of the faithful.


            This Ethiopian tradition is a testament to a rich Christian heritage, a vibrant, living expression of faith and community. Through this enduring practice, Ethiopians not only honor the baptism of Jesus but also reinforce their spiritual bonds, carrying this sacred tradition forward through generations.


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