20 + C + M + B + 13.
It has been my custom in recent years to celebrate the Feast of the Theophany (or Epiphany) of the Lord with a special post on this blog. For this year's incarnation of the annual Theophany/Epiphany post, I would like to focus on the tradition of marking the entrance to homes with chalk blessed on this feast. If you have been to more heavily Roman Catholic parts of Central and Eastern Europe, you may have seen evidence of this practice. During my two summers in Austria, I saw many doors and thresholds marked with Epiphany chalk; the chalked door seen here leads to the refectory of the Jesuit residence that I stayed in during my language studies in Vienna. I have previously posted photographic evidence of similar markings spotted in Bavaria, and I'm told that the custom of marking doors with Epiphany chalk is also kept in Poland; I wouldn't be surprised if it also appears in places like Hungary and Slovakia, but I can't say for sure.
You can learn more about the custom of chalking doors on Epiphany by clicking here and here. Some readers might also consider adopting this custom themselves even if they haven't kept it before; those who are parents of small children might find this to be a particularly good way of teaching the next generation about one of the oldest and most important feasts in the life of the Church.
Continued prayers and good wishes to all in this bright season, whether you're celebrating Theophany today or preparing to celebrate the Nativity of Christ according to the Old Calendar. Special prayers also for those who, like me and my cohorts here in Toronto, must return to school tomorrow after a too-brief winter break. AMDG.