Weeks of Denha

The weeks centred on the great solemnity of Denha, Epiphany, Jesus’ Baptism in Jordan, pro-vides the faithful an occasion for meditating deeper on the Trinitarian economy of human salvation.  Baptism in Jordan was the first historical event when the Holy Trinity is revealed to humans in the huma-nity of Jesus Christ. Every human being is destined to be transfigured to the person of Jesus Christ and thus to the Holy Trinity according to Christian faith. The Son, sent by the Father, accomplished the human salvation, and it becomes realised in every human being (and through the humans the whole creation) by the work of the Holy Spirit. This funda-mental article of faith is what we meditate and celeb-rate during the weeks of Denha, Epiphany.  Through the solemn celebration of Jesus’ baptism, we are also introduced to His public life. We the believers are, therefore, invited to renew our baptismal com-mitment, lead an authentic Christian life and grow mature to the personality of Jesus by celebrating His memorial, participating His Risen Body and being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

According to Syriac sources, the weeks of Denha begins on the Sunday nearest to January 6, the solemnity of Denha, Epiphany and runs to the beginning of Great Fast.  The Fridays of this period are set apart to celebrate the reflection of Divine Epiphany in humans in the Church. On the first Friday the Church celebrates Mar John the Baptist who in person bore witness to the first Trinitarian manifestation in Jordan.  The second is dedicated for the Apostles Peter and Paul, representing the whole apostolic community on which the Church is built up.  On the third is celebrated the four Evangelists who gave a documentary form to this Epiphany. Then comes Mar Esthappanos, the protomartyr, who shed his blood and offered his life for this Divine mani-festation. The fathers and doctors of the Church who authentically interpreted and taught it, bearing wit-ness to it in their own lives, are celebrated on the following Fridays. The Friday just before the last is set apart for celebrating the Patron Saint of the Church, who is a constant inspiration to the believing community for following Jesus Christ. And on the last Friday we celebrate all our dear departed ones who are in deed the forerunners for bearing witness to the Trinitarian manifestation and economy of salvation.  Moreover, this celebration of our dear departed ones is a most becoming help to enter the period of Great Fast, where we keep up an intense memory of them.

Since the Syro-Malabar Church is proclaiming and celebrating the most Holy Trinity in a special way in the whole liturgical period of Denha, it is rather meaningless and against the mind of Second Vatican Council to hold Trinity Sunday after Pente-cost, merely imitating the Latin tradition. It was, in fact, a colonial enforcement during the European missionary period without considering the liturgical genius of this Church.


Credits: Fr. Varghese Pathikulangara, CMI, from the book "A moment with the Jesus"


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