djr-2018-10-06-rel-orthodox-churchp1 (copy)

Father David Bibeau, right, priest at St. Paul Eastern Orthodox Church in Tupelo, is joined by Paul Sudduth, center, and Tim Albers.

TUPELO • The Orthodox Christian community at St. Paul Eastern Orthodox Church in Tupelo will be celebrating Theophany, also known as the day in which Jesus was baptized, this Thursday, Jan. 6.

To commemorate this holy day, St. Paul Eastern Orthodox Church will have a blessing of the waters at Veterans Park on Sunday, Jan. 9. 

For many Christian denominations, this day symbolizes Epiphany which is recognized as the day the Magi arrived to the Christ Child. However, Orthodox Christians observe this January day differently.

This special Thursday will see Orthodox Christians commemorating Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist as referenced in chapter three of the book Matthew.

Theophany is also the official end of the Christmas season for Orthodox Christians.

Many Christians and others who celebrate Christmas ring in the season well before Dec. 25, but for the Orthodox community, Christmastime begins on Christmas Day and ends in January.

"Orthodox Christians fast for 40 days up until Dec. 25 which is when we break the fast. Then Christmas begins and goes until Jan. 6.," said Father David Bibeau.

St. Paul Eastern Orthodox Church is located at 1008 East Main Street in Tupelo. The church building is currently undergoing renovations since the church recently purchased the property.

"We roughly have about 120 to 130 members. They come from all over north Mississippi."

Fr. David Bibeau said that although Orthodox Christianity is not widespread throughout Mississippi, the congregation at St. Paul remains small but mighty.

As one of the oldest religions in the world, Eastern Orthodox Christianity traces its beginnings back to nearly 2,000 years ago. 

There are more than 200 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. Although Mississippi's Christian population is less than 1% Orthodox, the state is home to nine Orthodox Christian churches. 

BROOKE BULLOCK BURLESON is a digital producer for the Daily Journal. Contact her at brooke.burleson@djournal.com.

Recommended for you

comments powered by Disqus