The Blessing of Waters and Epiphany: The Eastern Liturgical Tradition, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Blessing of Waters and Epiphany

The Eastern Liturgical Tradition, 1st Edition

By Nicholas E. Denysenko


256 pages

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Paperback: 9781138109643
pub: 2017-07-28
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This book examines the historical development of the blessing of waters and its theology in the East, with an emphasis on the Byzantine tradition. Exploring how Eastern Christians have sought these waters as a source of healing, purification, and communion with God, Denysenko unpacks their euchology and ritual context. The history and theology of the blessing of waters on Epiphany is informative for contemporary theologians, historians, pastors and students. Offering important insights into how Christians renew Baptism in receiving the blessed waters, this book also proposes new perspectives for theologizing Christian stewardship of ecology in the modern era based on a patristic liturgical synthesis. Denysenko presents an alternative framework for understanding the activity of the Trinity, enabling readers to encounter a vision of how participants encounter God in and after ritual.


’One of the finest recent examples of the craft of liturgical theology - historical sources grounding theological insights which have deep resonances for the contemporary church.’ Kevin W. Irwin, The Catholic University of America, USA 'Students of Byzantine liturgy will find this an abundantly informative study of a rite which not only holds a significant place in popular Orthodox piety but also has significant wider theological and pastoral implications.' Journal of Theological Studies 'In his The Blessing of Waters and Epiphany Denysenko gives us one of the finest books of liturgical theology to be published in recent years… Denysenko’s work is invaluable for all who seek to deepen their understanding of the ritual setting of Epiphany, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, ordained and lay, Eastern and Western, alike, offering informative insights into the Christian renewal of Baptism through receiving the blessed waters, and proposing new perspectives of ecological stewardship in the contemporary world, drawing on a synthesis of patristic writing on liturgy.' Heythrop Journal ’…Denysenko is to be congratulated on uncovering the richness of this liturgical tradition. […]Those with an interest in eastern rites of initiation will particularly benefit from Denysenko’s research, not least because of the significant theological connections between rites of blessing the water and of baptism, which Denysenko skilfully identifies and elucidates. …[The] study successfully raises the profile of a rite which is of fundamental theological and devotional significance to the eastern church…’ Anaphora

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Preface; Introduction; Early history of the blessing of waters; History of the blessing of waters: stage 1 (8th-10th centuries); History of the blessing of waters: stage 2 (11th-13th centuries); History of the blessing of waters: stage 3 (14th-16th centuries); The origins of the 'Great are You' prayer; Memory and praise of the Lord's theophany; Epiclesis and the gift of the Holy Spirit; Pastoral considerations; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Nicholas Denysenko is assistant professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, and an ordained deacon of the Orthodox Church in America. He earned his B.S. in business from the University of Minnesota (1994), an M.Div. from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (2000) and a Ph.D. in liturgical studies from The Catholic University of America in 2008. He has published several articles in Studia Liturgica, Worship, St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, and Theological Studies. Current research projects include an analysis of Orthodox architecture in America and the theology of Chrismation in the Byzantine rite.

About the Series

Liturgy, Worship and Society Series

The Liturgy, Worship and Society series provides a library of innovative scholarship in liturgical studies at a time of vital changes in liturgical life and vigorous debates in academia. The series highlights contemporary work in liturgical studies, attuned both to traditional scholarly inquiry and to recent and emerging questions. In particular, the series is committed to exploring the relationship between liturgical life in Christian churches worldwide and the broader cultural and social contexts in which worship takes place. By offering a thorough grounding in the historical and theological foundations of liturgy as well as determined attention to contemporary developments and concerns, the Liturgy, Worship and Society series is set to make a vital contribution not only to scholarship in liturgical studies but also to the practice of Christian worship in the world today.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Theology