07 - Feast of Cana of Galilee
Albair Gamal Mikhail
December 26, 2003
The rite of the Feast of Cana of Galilee (13 Tobe).
The feast of the Wedding of Cana of Galilee is celebrated on the 13th day of the month of Tobe, and it is one of the Seven Minor Feasts of our Lord. At this wedding, water was transformed into unsweetened wine. This was the first miracle of our Lord Christ in His great ministry, as stated in the gospel of St. John: “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (Jn. 2:11). Through this miracle, the divinity of the Lord Christ was revealed in His ability to transform substance. The Church considers this miracle as a forecoming sign of the offering in the sacrament, through which bread and wine are transformed to the Body and Blood of the Lord of Glory. This miracle also reveals Christ’s acceptance of St. Mary’s intercession on the behalf of the human race. For Christ Himself proclaimed to her saying “My hour has not yet come.” However, because of her plead, He immediately answered and performed the miracle. As for Christís presence at the wedding, it is a sign of Christ’s sanctification of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and for this reason the Church refers to this miracle regularly in the Rite of Holy Matrimony. In addition, the church has assigned the passage of the Gospel of St. Matthew 19: 1-19 to be read in the Gospel of the Vespers Prayers of the Feast of the Wedding of Cana of Galilee. Accordingly, this is the same passage that is read in the Rite of Holy Matrimony.
The prayers of the Rite of the Wedding of Cana of Galilee are chanted in the joyous tune with the responses and hymns pertaining to this particular feast. A lengthy hymn referred to as Ni,wra is chanted after the reading of the Synexarium. Through it, the Church affirms that, in truth, water was transformed to wine, and that this was the first miracle performed by the Lord Christ since the start of His ministry and prior to having disciples. For it is through this miracle that His disciples believed in Him. In addition, this hymn reveals the Church’s belief that God does not change, since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God is Himself and will not change forever.
It is also worth noting that the day of the Feast of the Wedding of Cana of Galilee is the same day St. Demiana was martyred. For this reason, the Church has also added appropriate responses to honor her on this day. Moreover, the feast of her martyrdom is celebrated on the 13th of Tobe; the Church celebrates the consecration of her Church on the 12th of Pashons.
May the blessings of these blessed days be with us all. Amen.
Mikhail, Deacon Albair Gamal, The Essentials in the Deacon’s Service, (Shobra, Egypt: Shikolani, 2002), p.289-291. Translated from Arabic by Ragy Sharkawy, edited by Alexander A-Malek.