Thousands attend Epiphany at Baptism Site

Thousands attend Epiphany at Baptism Site

AMMAN — More than 5,000 Catholic pilgrims on Friday attended a mass held at the Baptism Site to mark Epiphany, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The ceremony, led by Latin Patriarch of Jordan and Jerusalem Fouad Twal, was also attended by various religious figures and members of diplomatic missions in Jordan.

In his address to the congregants, Twal called for solidarity among the different segments of Jordanian society and prayed for peace and stability.

Epiphany marks the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the second person of the Holy Trinity — along with God and the Holy Spirit — which Christians believe took place at the time of his baptism by John the Baptist.

Epiphany is celebrated in Western churches, while Eastern churches observe a similar feast known as Theophany later in the month.

The Baptism Site Commission (BSC) and tourism officials have been working over the past several years to make Epiphany and Theophany bigger events, as part of a broader effort to encourage religious tourism to the site where Jesus was baptised.

Friday’s festivities marked the 12th year since the BSC and various church representatives in the Kingdom began organising Epiphany celebrations at the site in 2000.

The Baptism Site is also known as Bethany Beyond the Jordan and Al Maghtas in Arabic.

This point on the eastern bank of the Jordan River is considered one of the most significant religious discoveries in biblical archaeology.

Excavations have already uncovered more than 20 churches, caves and baptismal pools dating from the Roman and Byzantine periods.