As is the custom of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Great Blessing of Waters served during the Divine Services of the Theophany (Baptism) of Christ traditionally include not only the blessing of water in the Temple during the services themselves, but also the blessing of nearby natural bodies of water — be they lakes, rivers or oceans — in order to invoke God's blessing upon the waters that He fashioned; for on this day He entered into the water, sanctifying it and all creation with it.
This year, during the Archpastoral visit of His Grace Bishop Irenei during the seaon of the Feast, the waters of both the Thames and the Mersey will be blessed in Theophany Services. On the day of the Feast itself, Friday, 19th January 2018, the Divine Services of the Feast at the Diocesan Cathedral in London will be followed by a procession to the Thames, where the waters will be blessed there.
The followoing weekend, on Sunday, 21st January, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Church of St Elizabeth the New Martyr in Wallasey (near Liverpool) will be followed by a procession to the River Mersey, which will be blessed as well.
These services of blessing the waters of creation are a beautiful part of our Orthodox heritage, involving the casting of the Lord's Precious Cross into the waters, just as Christ himself entered into the waters of the River Jordan, and the sanctifcation of that which is 'ordinary' into that which bears the grace of the Incarnate Saviour, Whose nativity in the flesh we have so recently celebrated.
All are invited to join us for these celebratory events at the waters' edge.
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