VATICAN CITY — Christians around the globe on Thursday marked Epiphany, generally known as Three Kings Day for Catholics and the Baptism of Christ for the Orthodox, with a collection of celebrations.
Pope Francis used a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to decry consumerism, parades had been held in Spain the evening earlier than, and Orthodox believers watched swimmers plunge into icy waters regardless of the pandemic to retrieve crosses.
Francis inspired folks to shake off consumeristic “tyranny” and crises of religion in lives and societies and as an alternative discover the braveness to work for justice and brotherhood in societies dominated by what he known as the “sinister logic of energy.”
The Catholic feast day of Epiphany remembers the go to of three Magi, or clever males, to the toddler Jesus, and their sense of surprise on the encounter.
In his homily, Francis urged folks to maneuver previous the “boundaries of behavior, past banal consumerism, past a colorless and dreary religion, past the worry of changing into concerned and serving others and the widespread good.”
He mentioned that “we discover ourselves residing in communities that crave every part, have every part, but all too typically really feel nothing however vacancy of their hearts.”
Decrying what he outlined as “the tyranny of wants,” Francis mentioned: “Allow us to not give apathy and resignation the facility to drive us right into a cheerless and banal existence.”
In remarks from an Apostolic Palace window overlooking St. Peter’s Sq., Francis later additionally famous vacation celebrations by different Christians and praised numerous Epiphany traditions.
“At the moment ideas go to the brothers and the sisters of the Jap church buildings, each Catholic and Orthodox, who tomorrow rejoice the birthday of the Lord,’’ the pontiff mentioned.
In Istanbul, the non secular chief of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, held an Epiphany Mass earlier than main a conventional Blessing of the Waters ceremony throughout which swimmers competed to retrieve a floating cross thrown into the ocean.
Bartholomew, who not too long ago recovered from COVID-19 and underwent coronary heart surgical procedure in November, threw a picket cross into the Golden Horn, earlier than 10 males jumped into the waterway to retrieve it. Members of Istanbul’s small Greek Orthodox neighborhood, sporting masks, appeared on.
This yr, the cross was recovered by 36-year-old Galip Yavuz, who mentioned it was his fifth try at retrieving it.
Bartholomew is taken into account first amongst equals amongst Orthodox patriarchs, though just a few thousand Greeks now dwell in Turkey. He additionally instantly controls a number of Greek Orthodox church buildings around the globe, together with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
His patriarchate in Istanbul dates from the Orthodox Greek Byzantine Empire, which collapsed when the Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, as we speak’s Istanbul, in 1453.
Related blessing of the waters ceremonies had been held in predominantly Orthodox Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, with swimmers competing in opposition to one another to understand a floating cross thrown into seas, rivers or lakes.
Hundreds of Orthodox Christian worshippers in Bulgaria uncared for restrictions on mass gatherings because of the pandemic and caught to their centuries-old Epiphany traditions, plunging into icy rivers and lakes.
Celebrations had been canceled or scaled again in lots of components of Greece because the nation struggles with an enormous surge in COVID-19 infections pushed by the omicron variant.
In Cyprus, spectators had been saved off the pier, in step with coronavirus restrictions, as a few dozen hearty souls dived into the chilly waters of Larnaca Bay on the island nation’s southern coast to retrieve the cross thrown by the chief of the Greek Orthodox Church Archbishop Chrysostomos II. Most individuals watched the normal blessing of the waters ceremony from close by vantage factors.
In Spain, a navy band performed the nationwide anthem exterior the royal palace in Madrid and King Felipe VI watched a 21-gun salute earlier than reviewing troops on a wintry day. Indoors, within the Throne Room, the monarch handed medals to 16 members of the armed forces, in a ceremony that dates from 1782. Attendance on the occasion was restricted for the second straight yr as a result of pandemic restrictions on gatherings. Royal household, dignitaries and troops all wore face masks.
The nation historically holds “cabalgata” parades the day earlier than Epiphany during which the “Reyes Magos,” or Three Clever Males, journey on floats by main cities and cities throughout Spain. Youngsters and adults alike depart their sneakers out the evening earlier than and obtain presents from the three kings on Jan. 6.
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