Daily Archives: January 19, 2012

January 19: Theophany

People gather to celebrate Timket in Gondor, Ethiopia. Photo by Jialiang Gao

Eastern, Oriental, and Ethiopian Orthodox churches celebrate Theophany, Epiphany, or Timkat on January 19. In this tradition, Theophany (the appearance of God) marks the baptism of Jesus.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, this festival is known as Timkat, which means baptism. During Timkat, a model of the Ark of the Covenant, called a Tabot, is wrapped in cloth and taken to river or pool. The service is celebrated by the river in the early morning, and the day is spent in celebrating with songs, dancing, and feasting.

An Ethiopian Orthodox priest holds a Tabot during a Timket ceremony. Photo by Jialiang Gao

Mark 1:9-11

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”


This January 19 celebration should not be confused with the Epiphany (when the Magi found the child Jesus) celebrated on January 6 by Catholics, Anglicans, and many Protestant traditions.