Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Blessing of Waters

Lord Jesus Christ, only-begotten Son, who are in the bosom of the Father, true God, source of life and immortality, Light from Light, who came into the world to enlighten it, flood our mind with light by your Holy Spirit and accept us as we bring you praise and thanksgiving for your wondrous mighty works from every age, and for your saving dispensation in these last times. By it you clothe yourself in our weak and beggared matter and coming down to the measure of our servitude, King of all, you accepted also to be baptized in the Jordan by the hand of a servant, so that, having sanctified the nature of the waters, you, the sinless one, might make a way for our rebirth through water and Spirit and re-establish us in our original freedom. As we celebrate the memory of this divine Mystery, we entreat you, Master, lover of mankind: Sprinkle on us, your unworthy servants, cleansing water, in accordance with your divine promise, the gift of your compassion, that the request of us sinners over this water may become acceptable by your goodness and that through it your blessing to be granted to us and to all your faithful people, to the glory of your holy, venerated Name. For to you belong all glory, honor and worship, with your Father who is without beginning, with you all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen. (from the liturgy for the Blessing of Waters)

Jesus Christ, our God, transformed the water when He entered the Jordan at His Baptism.  This is recognized and ritualized when the Orthodox worldwide go to the waters on the feast of Theophany.  The photos show two such ceremonies.

The photo at shows a Russian Orthodox blessing the waters at Bering Island 2009.

The photo  at right was taken at the blessing of the waters at the Kennebec River in Maine on Theophany 2010.

As in the beginning, when God subdued the watery chaos in the creation of the world, so Christ our God restores them to perfect health for the sake of the world.

Related reading: The Blessing of Waters; Epiphany Joy


Anonymous said...

Ms. Linsley,
Your website and comments are endlessly fascinating to me. Reading it is pure joy. Best and blessings, Brent

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks, Brent. I particularly like these photos.

The one in black and white comes from an Orthodox friend in Maine, formerly an Episcopal priest (like myself). We came to Orthodoxy around the same time.

Georgia said...

Alice, I am puzzled that one photo is summer and the other is icy winter...are there two days for blessing the waters in Orthodoxy?

Alice C. Linsley said...

There is only one feast day of the Theophany. Don't know why the waters at Bering Island aren't frozen. Global climate change? :)