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CHICAGO, IL: 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 will witness nine outdoor services within the six Midwest states we oversee:

A) Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota, blessing the Mississippi River, January 5th

B) Dubuque, Iowa, blessing the Mississippi River, January 6th

C) St Louis, Missouri, blessing the Mississippi River, January 6th

D) Cedar Rapids, Iowa, blessing the Cedar River, January 6th

E) Sioux City, Iowa, blessing the Missouri River, January 6th

F) St Basil in Chicago, blessing the Chicago River, January 7th

G) Peoria, Illinois, blessing the Illinois River, January 13th

H) Des Moines, Iowa, blessing the Des Moines River, January 20th

I) Des Plaines, Illinois, blessing the Des Plaines River, January 21st

J) Rockford, Illinois, blessing the Rock River, January 27th

***While not within the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, we are very proud Fr David Hostetler, the United States Navy Chaplin at the military bases at Camp Foster, Okinawa, will be hosting for our military servicemen the second ever Blessing of the Water Service for the East China Sea.***

All Blessing of the Water Services are Free and Open to The Public.