1. Students should be able to discuss the icon, knowing each character and its role.
  2. Students should know the date of the feast, January 6.
  3. Students should be able to sing the Troparion, since they will need that for their house blessing.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. The icon (Use this to see how much the class already knows and to retell the story.): Christ, the central figure, St. John the Baptist (why is he dressed in brown animal skin?), the angels, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, the river Jordan


  1. Scripture readings:

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-end of chapter, for Vespers Luke 3:1-18

Epistle: Titus 2:11-3:7, Romans 6:3-11

Readings on John the Baptist: his miraculous birth (Luke 1:13-41),  his role as the new Elijah (Matthew 11:14, Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23),

His own prophetic role in announcing Jesus (Mark 1:7-8, John 1:35-39, 3:33-35), his death (Mark 6:24-29)

Old Testament prefigurings: Genesis 1:1-3, Genesis 6:5-8:22 (the Flood (water) and the olive branch (oil)), Isaiah 1:16-18, Moses crossing the Red Sea – not actually a reading from the feast, but referred to in I Cor. 10:1-4, I Kings 18:30-39, II Kings 2:11-13


  1. Songs of the Feast:

Troparion: When thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest.  For the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, and called Thee His beloved Son, and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truthfulness of His words; O Christ Our God who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, Glory to Thee!

Kontakion: Today thou hast appeared to the universe, O Lord, and thy light hath been shed upon us, who praise thee with knowledge, saying, Thou hast come and appeared, O unapproachable Light.


  1. Discussion questions:

 Who was the last and greatest prophet of Israel? (John) How were the Jewish people prepared to be “shown” the Messiah? Did John recognize Jesus when He arrived? In what ways is John the new Elijah? (Elijah’s mantle of prophecy was passed on to Elisha and from him in an uninterrupted chain of prophets, of whom John is the last)

How old was Jesus when He was baptized?  How had He lived up until this time? (as an ordinary working man, a carpenter, in Nazareth) Did Jesus need to be baptized because He was a sinner? Then why was He baptized? (He was fulfilling His responsibility to represent all of creation in being cleansed.)

What does Theophany mean? (Theos meaning “God” and Phanos meaning “to show”) How was the Trinity present at Theophany? Why do we bless the water at Theophany?  What do we use it for through the year? (house blessing, illness, etc.)  The feast is sometimes called “Epiphany”; what does that mean? (“Manifestation”) Why was January 6 chosen for the feast? (to replace the pagan feast of the winter solstice) The Roman Church celebrates the Magi on this date; when do we honor the Magi? (December 25)

In what ways is baptism like the crossing of the Red Sea? (Pharoah, representing Satan, was wiped out just as evil is drowned forever in the waters of baptism; the column of fire protecting the people as the Holy Spirit sanctifies the waters of baptism), John baptized with what? Jesus baptized with what?


  1. Make a felt banner: Choose a background color and buy a piece about 24x36 inches. Turn down the top 1 inch and staple around a dowel or large coat hanger. We also have pre-cut banners for your convenience. Have the students use their knowledge and insight to design a banner to represent the feast. Cut the letters and shapes out of the smaller pieces of felt; let me know if you use up a color so I can replace it. Alternatively, use the pre-cut felt letters with adhesive backs. Glue onto the background and bring it to the Social Hall to hang.  Alternate idea: small icons for each student -- see overview.


7.   Close with prayer.