close

  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • PILGRIMAGE TO THE BAPTISM SITE

  • Pilgrimage to the Baptism Site

     On the 11th of January 2008 Jordanian Catholics celebrated Epiphany Day by taking part in the annual pilgrimage to the Baptism Site. The ceremony, attended by approximately four thousand believers, took place at Wadi Kharrar on the East bank of Jordan, where it is believed Jesus Christ was baptized. This time the mass was celebrated by Yasser Ayyash, bishop of the Greek Catholic Church with the participation of Roman Catholic Bishop of Amman Salim Sayegh. Apart from the participation of priests from particular parishes, leading organized groups of believers from different parts of Jordan, there were also clergymen representing other Christian confessions as well as some members of the diplomatic corps including the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Amman H.E. Mr. Andrzej Biera.

     At the place, where the Roman Catholic Church is planned to be built, the crowds of believers prayed together for the future of the Catholic Church in Jordan, for the country and the King and for the peace in the Middle East. Together they sang religious hymns. Later, parts of the Gospel were read and people listened to the homily preached by Bishop Ayyash in which he referred to the baptism as an important factor connecting the earthly life with the heavenly one. Next, the pilgrims went in the procession to the bank of the river, where the bishops blessed the water taken from the Jordan River and sprinkled it on the gathered believers giving them the pastoral blessing.

    Epiphany Day is celebrated in Jordan according to the Gregorian and Julian calendar. The latter ceremony is organized by the Greek Orthodox Church, the Armenian Church and the Coptic Church. During Epiphany Day, believers from Western churches remember the visit of the Three Kings, while the Eastern churches concentrate on baptism of Jesus and God's confession that Christ is His Son (because of that they use the name Teophany). By this celebration Christians commemorate God's manifestation as man to people.

     The Baptism Site is now not only an archeological, tourist and pilgrim site but a gigantic building area. There, on this uninhabited wide piece of land, a few churches are being built, among them the Greek Orthodox Church (already finished), a Roman Catholic Church, which is planned to be one of the biggest catholic places of worship in the Middle East, a stylish Coptic Church and a vast Pilgrim's House (a part of the Russian Orthodox Church). The Jordanian government gave particular churches grounds under their projects near the Jordan River. The government allowed the churches to buy the building materials tax-free. A special commission, taking care of the Baptism Site itself, is monitoring the project (http://www.baptismsite.com/). The end of the building projects is planned in 2009. Then, clergymen and nuns will come there to stay and the site will be open for pilgrims from all over the world 24 hours a day. 

    January 2008
    Karolina Rak, student of the
    Jagellonian University of Cracow

    Print Print Share: