Annual Blessing of the Susquehanna River
Sunday, February 10
Nesbitt Park, Kingston, Pennsylvania
The annual blessing of our local river that flows through the Wyoming Valley will take place pending suitable conditions. More details will be posted here closer to this event.
Last year, our area experienced a historic ice jam on the river and the annual blessing had to be canceled for safety reasons. If conditions allow, this year’s event marks the 15th time our local Byzantine churches join in prayer to follow this special tradition. Everyone of faith in our local community is welcome to attend.
Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic and Orthodox churches bless water in their churches on the Vigil or the Feast of Theophany following the liturgical cycle of the Church. The blessing takes place after Divine Liturgy and the elaborate and poetic prayers recited by the priest invoke the Holy Spirit to sanctify and purify the water. Afterwards the priest blesses all the faithful present and the entire church. The faithful are encouraged to take some of the blessed water home with them for reverent use, and it’s traditional even for everyone to drink some. A custom during the time after Theophany is for the parish priest to visit and bless the homes of parishioners.
It is traditional in the Carpatho-Rusyn tradition to bless any nearby river or stream as Christ blessed the water of the Jordan with his baptism. [See photos and article about our own local river blessing: CLICK HERE].