A READING FROM THE ORATIONS OF ST PROCLUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Christ appeared to the world, and putting order into the disordered world he made it resplendent. He took upon himself the sin of the world and cast down the enemy of the world. He sanctified the founts of water, and enlightened the souls of men. He surrounded miracles with still greater miracles.
For today both earth and sea have shared between them the grace of the Saviour, and over the whole world joy is spread, and today’s feast manifests a greater increase of miracles than the festival we held before.
For in the former festival day of the Saviour’s nativity the earth was joining in the gladness, because she carried the Lord in a crib; but on this present day of the Epiphany the sea leaped with the highest joy and danced with delight – delighting indeed that it had received the blessing of sanctification in the midst of Jordan.
In the former celebration an imperfect infant was exhibited witnessing to our imperfection, but on the present festival day a full-grown man is to be seen, in obscure fashion pointing to him who being perfect proceeds from the perfect God. There the King puts on the purple robe of a body; here the fount forms round him a river as if to clothe him.
Come then and see new and overwhelming miracles: the sun of righteousness bathing in Jordan, the fire immersed in water and God being sanctified by human ministry.
Today all creation resounding with hymns cries: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is he who comes at all times: for this is not the first time that he has come.
And now who is this? Speak more clearly, I pray, blessed David. God is the Lord, and he has given us light. Nor does David alone as prophet speak thus, but in fact Paul the Apostle, agreeing with him in his own testimony, says the following words: There has appeared the grace of God, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us. Not to some men, but to all – to all, that is, both Jews and Greeks equally, he pours out salvation through baptism, offering to all men a common blessing in baptism.
Come, see the strange and new flood, greater and more excellent than that in the days of Noah. There the water of the flood destroyed the human race; but here the water of the baptism, by the power of him who is baptized in it, has called back the dead to life. There the dove carrying the olive branch in its beak denotes the fragrance of the sweet-smelling savour of the Lord Christ, but here the Holy Spirit coming in the form of a dove reveals to us our merciful God.
St Proclus of Constantinople, Or. 7, Theophany, from The Divine Office Vol. I