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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:

  1.   Des Plaines, Illinois, blessing the Des Plaines River,
  2. Peoria, Illinois, blessing the Illinois River
  3. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, blessing the Cedar River
  4. Sioux City, Iowa, blessing the Missouri River
  5. St Louis, Missouri, blessing the Mississippi River
  6. Dubuque, Iowa, blessing the Mississippi River
  7. Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota, blessing the Mississippi River
  8. 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 or our Facebook page at