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Videos of 2017 Blessing of the Water Services

VIDEOS OF 2017 BLESSING OF THE WATER SERVICES

FEATURING SERVICES HELD THROUGHOUT THE METROPOLIS OF CHICAGO

CHICAGO, IL: A video review has been released of the 2017 Outdoor Blessing of the Water Services held in numerous parishes of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago.  Each January 6, Eastern Orthodox Christians throughout the world celebrate Theophany, which in Greek mean “manifestation of God.” The feast day commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the revelation of the Holy Trinity.

One element of the feast’s observance is the Blessing of the Waters (Greek: Aghiasmos, “sanctification”).  Traditionally, is celebrated twice: once within the festal celebration within the church in a specially prepared font and, where possible, outdoors at a natural body of water. At each, a Crucifix is plunged into the water. For the outdoor blessing it is customary, in warmer climates, for the Cross to be retrieved by swimmers. 

The outdoor Blessing of the Water service at a major waterway is rare in this part of the United States due to our climate. This year the Metropolis of Chicago witnessed nine outdoor services within the six Midwest states we oversee:

A)    Des Plaines, Illinois, blessing the Des Plaines River,
B)    Peoria, Illinois, blessing the Illinois River
C)    Cedar Rapids, Iowa, blessing the Cedar River
D)    Sioux City, Iowa, blessing the Missouri River
E)    St Louis, Missouri, blessing the Mississippi River
F)    Dubuque, Iowa, blessing the Mississippi River
G)    Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota, blessing the Mississippi River
H)    Rockford, Illinois, blessing the Rock River

Featured in this video compilation is Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos who attended several of these events.  He serves as the Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, under the leadership of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago. In his position, he travels throughout the Metropolis of Chicago to visit most of the parishes annually. He has received nationwide recognition for his human rights activities and interfaith outreach, including his leadership in ending the death penalty in Illinois, state resolutions calling for Religious Freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and just recently last year for the official recognition by the United States of the Genocide by ISIS against the Christian minority population of Syria and Iraq.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second largest Christian denomination worldwide. The Metropolis of Chicago oversees all Greek Orthodox Parishes within Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, as well as large portions of Missouri and Indiana. You can find more information on His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago on our website at www.Chicago.GoArch.org or our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/MetropolisofChicago.

Olive Oil from Viannos Village

His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia and Laureotiki of our Ecumenical Patriarchate in Greece (Dodecanese Islands) has brought to the attention of our spiritual father, His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago an informational and fund-raising project to benefit awareness of increased Turkish attempts to claim the island of Stongyli Megistis, the most south-eastern territory of Greece.

Blessing of the Waters in Rockford, IL

On January 29th, Christ the Savior Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church, Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church and Holy Ascension Serbian Orthodox Church, all of Rockford, gathered together for an outdoor Blessing of the Water Service for the Rock River…

March for Life 2017

His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, was honored to be in Washington DC on January 26 and 27 for the 44th Annual March for Life.

Blessing of the Waters in Des Plaines, Illinois

DES PLAINES, IL: On Sunday, January 22 along the Des Plaines River Trail in Des Plaines, St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church of Des Plaines held their 1st ever service blessing the Des Plaines River. Over 180 clergy and parishioners attended this highly successful event, including several Alderman of the City of Des Plaines and Illinois State Representative Marty Moylan. The service ended with local priest Father John Rallis of St John the Baptist tossing into, and retrieving from, the Des Plaines River a blessed cross, symbolic of Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan.

Each January 6, Eastern Orthodox Christians throughout the world celebrate Theophany, which in Greek means “manifestation of God.” The day commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the Divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. On the historic Julian Calendar, or "Old Style Calendar", which some Eastern Orthodox Churches still use for liturgical services, January 6th is this Thursday.

Part of Theophany in many locations with a major waterway includes the outdoor Blessing of the Waters service. As a sign of blessing as Christ blessed the Jordan, holy water is poured into the body of water. An associated tradition has been the tossing of a cross into the water to be retrieved, in warmer climates by divers. Holy water is also given to the faithful to consume and to use in blessing their homes. In the weeks following the service, clergy visit the homes of parishioners and conduct a service of blessing using the holy water that was blessed in church on the holiday.

Eastern Orthodox Christians are the second largest Christian denomination worldwide. The Metropolis of Chicago oversees all Greek Orthodox Parishes within Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, as well as large portions of Missouri and Indiana. While all parishes hold an in-church Blessing of the Water Service, this outdoor Blessing of the Water service along a major waterway is rare in this part of the United States. In addition to this outdoor Blessing of the Water service taking place in Des Plaines for the Des Plaines River, outdoor services will also be held within the Metropolis of Chicago this year in:

A) St Paul, Minnesota, blessing the Mississippi River
B)    Peoria, Illinois, blessing the Illinois River
C)    Cedar Rapids, Iowa, blessing the Cedar River
D)    Sioux City, Iowa, blessing the Missouri River
E)    St Louis, Missouri, blessing the Mississippi River
F)    Rockford, Illinois, blessing the Rock River
G) Dubuque, Iowa, blessing the Mississippi River
H) Des Moines, Iowa, blessing the Des Moines River

Blessing of the Waters at Gray Lake, Iowa

DES MOINES, IOWA: On Saturday, January 21 at the peninsula on the northern side of Gray's Lake in Des Moines, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, St. John the Wonderworker Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and St. Demetrius Serbian Orthodox Church, all of Des Moines, held their annual service blessing Gray's Lake. The service ended with local priests Father Basil Hickman of St George, Father Lev Smith of St John and Father Zoran Milinkovic of St Demetrius tossing into, and retrieving from, Gray's Lake a blessed cross, symbolic of Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan.

Job Opening - Program Director for Retreat Center

The St. Iakovos Retreat Center is looking for a full time Program Director to create, staff, fill, and execute programs that will run out of the Center. This position requires knowledge and practical application of Orthodox Theology, as well as experience in writing and directing various types of orthodox programs for all ages.

Blessing of the Waters in Cedar Rapids

On Saturday, January 14, St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church held their outdoor Blessing of the Water Service for the Cedar River in Downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The service took place on the 1st Avenue Bridge in Downtown Cedar Rapids, on a overlook platform above the middle of the river. St John Greek Orthodox Church of Cedar Rapids, St George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cedar Rapids, St. Raphael Antiochian Orthodox Church of Iowa City, and St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church of Cedar Rapids participated in what is now the 12th year of this annual event.

Father Peter Andronache of St John was joined at this service by Father Fred Shaheen of St George, Father Ignatius Valentine of St Raphael, and Father Elias Khoury of St Nicholas.

 

Anniversary Banquet Held in Chicago

His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, was honored at a banquet held to recognize the 10th Anniversary of his consecration as a Hierarch of the Church.