Catholics in Kyiv Celebrate Epiphany
They commemorated the visit of the "wise men" to newborn baby Jesus
On this day, people commemorate the visit of the “wise men” to newborn baby Jesus. Our correspondent went to a traditional Dominican mass in Kyiv to find out more.
A traditional Latin mass was led by a Dominican priest in a Catholic chapel.
This small Catholic community in Kyiv keeps tradition alive through modern means. Almost all the members met on Facebook. They congregate for Tridentine mass in Latin, in a small chapel located in the Institute of Religious Sciences.
“As far as I remember, I was always inspired by the classical heritage of Latin tradition, and several years ago, I started practicing in Latin tradition, but I was baptized in Orthodox as many people here in Kyiv, Then, I started to do some research and study at this institute. The knowledge of the tradition was extremely important to me, and it was a dream to get acquainted with traditional and especially Dominican rite,” a parishioner Halyna said.
Before the Dominican priest Father Ihor Gnius arrived in October 2018, no one celebrated this traditional holiday in Kyiv. Now, these believers gather for mass twice a month and also for Catholic holidays like Epiphany, which has a different meaning in the Orthodox tradition.
“Well, first of all, I’m not very familiar with the Greek tradition, but in the Latin tradition, Epiphany is quite an important holiday. It was established as a holiday in 336, even before they began celebrating the birth of Christ,” Gnius said.
In Western Christianity, Epiphany commemorates principally the visit of the “wise men” to Jesus. Inspired by the star, they traveled to Bethlehem and found Christ.
“But the holiday of Epiphany suggests that he came not just to Israel, but to the pagans, the non-Jews. The whole world was waiting for a savior and the wise men from the east witnessed this, and this star brought them to the savior. So, not just the people of Israel, but all other people had to see their savior in Jesus,” Gnius said.
For the moment, only 15 worshippers regularly attend the parish. Most of them have an Orthodox background, but decided to convert to Catholicism for different personal reasons. Meanwhile, some parishioners like Halyna will also celebrate Eastern Orthodox Christmas with their family.