Annual River Blessing in Fairmont

Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Mission in Fairmont, West Virginia is a parish of the Eastern American Diocese. The Rt. Reverend Dr. Mitrophan , Diocesan Bishop, blessed the opening of the mission on April 15, 2000.

Each year at the time of the Feast of Theophany, parishioners and friends of Holy Trinity Mission gather at the river at nearby Palatine Park for the blessing of the Monongahela River.

A prayer service with designated Scripture readings is held on the river bank referencing the continuous relevance of Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan. An ice cross prepared by Sonia Janson and blessed water are placed in the river. 

Orthodox Churches around the world celebrate the Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Jordan as a major feast. Followers of the Julian Calendar celebrate the feast on January 19 and continue the celebration until January 26.

This year the river blessing occurred late afternoon on January 20, 2016.

On January 20 each year, St. John the Baptist is commemorated in the Holy Orthodox Church in conjunction with the Feast of Theophany.

The celebration of Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan each year signifies Christ’s renewal of Creation.  Newness in Christ is always possible for believers. In addition to the blessing of the river, homes are commonly blessed as well.

Water is blessed in the churches at Theophany and is regularly used in services of the Orthodox Church. The cleansing and renewing power of blessed water strengthens believers. The Monongahela River deserves blessed attention.

This year parishioners Wayne Kirby and John Ice participated in the readings at the river. Reverend D.D.Meighen of Fairmont Council of Churches,  Joyce Kirby and Dennis Elliot were present for the service.

Article by Father Rodney Torbic, Mission Administrator

Source: Eastern American Diocese