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The Theophany Poem of Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem

image Trinity above being, above goodness, above divinity, all-powerful, all-seeing, invisible, incomprehensible, creator of all spiritual beings and rational natures; goodness itself, the inaccessible light enlightening all who come into the world, shine in me, Your unworthy servant, and enlighten the eyes of my understanding, that I may make bold to praise Your infinite benevolence and power. May my prayer for the people here present be well-pleasing; may my offenses not impede the coming of the Holy Spirit among us, but judge me uncondemned as I cry to You now and say of Your surpassing goodness:

We glorify You, loving Master, almighty, king from everlasting. We glorify You, creator and author of all.

We glorify You, only begotten Son of God, born of the Father without a mother, and of a mother without father. For in the previous feast we saw You an infant; in this present one we see You complete, perfect, manifested from the perfect God. For today the time for feasting has come and the choir of the saints holds assembly with us, and angels celebrate with men.

Today the grace of the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, came upon the waters. Today the unwaning sun has dawned, and the world is lit up with the light of the Lord. Today the moon with its brilliant rays shares its light with the earth. Today the luminous stars embellish the universe with their joyous luster. Today the clouds refresh humanity with a rain of justice from above.

Today the uncreated One is by His own will touched by the creature. Today the prophet and forerunner approaches the Master, but pauses in awe, seeing God's condescension towards us.

Today the waters of the Jordan are turned into healing by the presence of the Lord. Today all creation is watered by mystical waters. Today men's sins are washed away in the waters of the Jordan. Today Paradise is thrown open to humankind, and the sun of righteousness shines upon us. Today the water that the people under Moses found bitter, is turned into sweetness at the Lord's presence.

Today we are free of the ancient grief, and like a new Israel have been redeemed. Today we are delivered from the darkness and are bathed in the light of the knowledge of God. Today the world's gloom is dispersed in the epiphany of our God. Today the entire universe is lit as by a heavenly torch. Today error is abolished and the coming of the Lord opens the way to salvation.

Today the heavenly joins the earthly in celebration, and that which is below holds discourse with that which is above. Today the holy and vibrant assembly of the Orthodox rejoices. Today the Master hastens towards baptism so as to raise humankind to the heights. Today He Who bends to none, bows before His own servant, so as to free us from bondage. Today heaven has been deeded to us, for of the Lord's kingdom there shall be no end. Today the earth and the sky have divided the world's joy, and the world is filled with gladness.

The waters saw You, O God, the waters saw You and were afraid. The Jordan reversed its flow when it saw the fire of divinity descending bodily and entering it. The Jordan turned back seeing the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove and hovering about You. The Jordan turned back seeing the invisible become visible, the creator made flesh, the Master in the form of servant.

The Jordan turned back and the mountains leapt, seeing God in the flesh, and the clouds gave voice, marveling at the One present, light of light, true God of true God, Who submerged in the Jordan the death of disobedience and the sting of error and the bond of Hades, giving to the world a baptism of salvation.

Wherefore I your sinful and unworthy servant, recounting the greatness of Your wonders, seized with dread, in deepest awe cry out to You:

Great are You, O Lord, and marvelous are Your works, and no word will suffice to praise Your wonders.

Great are You, O Lord, and marvelous are Your works, and no word will suffice to praise Your wonders.

Great are You, O Lord, and marvelous are Your works, and no word will suffice to praise Your wonders.

For by Your will You brought all things into being out of nothingness, and in Your might You sustain creation, and in Your providence govern the universe. Once You had shaped creation out of four elements, You crowned the cycle of the year with four seasons. All intelligent life trembles before You. The Sun praises You. The moon sings Your glory. The stars come together around You. The light heeds Your command. The deeps quiver at Your presence. The wellsprings are at Your service. You have stretched out the heavens like a tent; You have made the earth firm upon the waters; You have contained the seas with sands; You have poured forth the air for breathing. The Angelic Powers minister to You; the Choirs of the Archangels pay You homage; the Cherubim of many eyes and the six-winged Seraphim circling and hovering about You, veil themselves in awe of Your surpassing glory.

For though You are God, without beginning, beyond describing or expressing, You came to earth, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. For in the tenderness of Your mercy, You could not endure to see humankind under the devil's sway, but came and saved us. We confess Your grace. We proclaim Your mercy. We do not conceal the great kindness. You have set free the generations of our race, You hallowed the Virgin womb by Your birth. All creation magnified Your appearing. For You our God were seen on earth and dwelt among men. You also sanctified the streams of the Jordan, sending down upon them from heaven Your Holy Spirit, crushing the heads of dragons that lurked there.

Will You also now, Loving King, be present through the descent of Your Holy Spirit and sanctify this water.

Will You also now, Loving King, be present through the descent of Your Holy Spirit and sanctify this water.

Will You also now, Loving King, be present through the descent of Your Holy Spirit and sanctify this water.

And give to it the grace of redemption, the blessing of Jordan. Make it a fountain of immortality, a gift of sanctification, for the remission of sins, protection against infirmities, destructive to evil forces, inaccessible to opposing powers, filled with angelic might.

That all who draw from it or partake of it may find in it purification of souls and bodies, healing of infirmities, sanctification of houses, every fit benefit. For You are our God, Who through water and the Spirit renewed our nature corrupted by sin. You are our God, Who in the time of Noah washed away sin in the waters.

You are our God, Who at the hand of Moses brought the Hebrew nation to freedom by the sea. You are our God, Who split the rock in the wilderness and waters flowed and streams were filled and You satisfied Your thirsting people. You are our God, Who at the time of Elijah by water and fire delivered Israel from the falsehood of Baal.

Will You now, Master, sanctify this water by Your Holy Spirit.

Will You now, Master, sanctify this water by Your Holy Spirit.

Will You now, Master, sanctify this water by Your Holy Spirit.

And grant to all, whether they touch it or are anointed by or partake of it, sanctification, blessing, cleansing, health.

This prayer is often a part of traditional Orthodox Christian services for the Epiphany Blessing of the Waters. This translation is excerpted from that used by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during his visit to Tarpon Springs, Florida, in 2006 where he presided over the 100th Theophany Celebration of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral.