This morning Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II will serve a Divine Liturgy and perform the Solemn Blessing of the Water in the Epiphany Cathedral, said the external church relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate.
On Epiphany Day believers commemorate Jesus' baptism. At the age of 30 Jesus traveled from Galilee to the Jordan River to receive Baptism from St. John the Baptist.
According to St. Mark's Gospel, Heaven opened over the Jordan and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as a dove. There was the voice of the Heavenly Father: "This is My Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased".
Thus the Blessed Trinity was revealed to the world - Son who was unknown before that, Holy Spirit who descended upon Christ in the form of a dove and Father who told about Christ from Heaven. That is why this holiday is also called Teophany (the manifestation of God to men).
Christians have been celebrating this day since the Apostolic times. St. Clement of Alexandria wrote about the Epiphany vigil in the 2nd century. From the 3rd century St. Gregory the Wonderworker, Martyr Hyppolytus and all the great Fathers of the Church met with their people on this holiday to explain its essence.
According to John Chrysostom, Jesus Christ was baptized in the Jordan not for repentance (He was sinless) and not for getting the gift of Holy Spirit (He had this gift from His birth). Jesus Christ was baptized to make Himself known to thousands of people who gathered on the banks of the Jordan and "to reveal the entire truth", i.e. the obedience to God who sent St. John to baptize people with water.
According to the Russian tradition, everyone wants to bathe in a water-hole in spite of usual ringing frosts. On Epiphany night and day people are lining up for holy water by the churches.
Believers keep it all the year and drink it little by little for body and soul health. It should be done in the morning on an empty stomach. Epiphany water is also used to besprinkle houses to call upon the grace of God.