Blessing of the Arkansas River–Orthodox Christian custom

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Ss. George and Alexandra Orthodox Church of the Orthodox Church in America will celebrate the annual blessing of the Arkansas River, Sunday, January 11 at 12 noon, at Harry Kelly Park. It is the custom of Orthodox Christians worldwide to bless water in their church which is then used to bless the church, the homes of members of the congregation and a major body of water serving the community.
Ss. George and Alexandra will ask God’s blessings upon the Arkansas River on the Sunday following the Feast of Theophany. This blessing signifies that Christ came to redeem and renew all of creation. When He was baptized the waters did not cleanse Him. He cleansed them. All citizens of the area are welcome and invited to attend. At the conclusion of the commemoration service a frozen cross will be blessed by the priest, Fr. John Maxwell, and will be thrown into river. This symbolizes Jesus Christ’s cleansing of the waters with His baptism.