On Holy Water At Theophany

by St. John Maximovitch

Our father among the saints John Maximovitch, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco – The Wonderworker (d. 1966), was a diocesan bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) who served widely from China to France to the United States. Countless miracles have been attributed to this holy bishop, both during his lifetime and since his repose. He guided souls in many places across the globe during his earthly sojourn.

On Theophany, the Day of the Lord’s Baptism, every year a great miracle is performed. The Holy Spirit, coming down upon the water, changes its natural properties. It becomes incorrupt, not spoiling, remaining transparent and fresh for many years. This Holy Water receives the grace to heal illnesses, to drive away demons and every evil power, to preserve people and their dwellings from every danger, to sanctify various objects whether for church or home use.

Therefore, Orthodox Christians with reverence drink Holy Water — a great Agiasma (holy thing), as the Greeks call it.

One should always have at home enough Theophany water to last the whole year, and make use of it at every need: in cases of illness, leaving on a journey, whenever one is upset, students prior to examinations, etc. People who drink a little Holy Water daily, before eating any kind of food, do well. It strengthens the powers of our soul—if it is done with prayer and reverence, and one does not merely expect a mechanical result from it.

Every priest should take care to bless a sufficient quantity of water for his church, so that it will be on hand for the course of the whole year for every need and to be given out to those who ask for it; and parishioners should provide themselves at Theophany with Holy Water for the whole year and even so that it can be kept for future years.

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