Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holy Days Ancient Rite of Epiphany Brings Orthodox Faithful to Follow Tradition Here

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holy Days Ancient Rite of Epiphany Brings Orthodox Faithful to Follow Tradition Here

Article excerpt

With the downtown skyline as a backdrop, five bearded priests led about 50 Orthodox faithful Monday in the riverfront debut of an ancient rite.

Eastern Orthodox Christians from both sides of the Mississippi River met below the Arch for the Blessing of the Waters, an Epiphany service to mark the baptism of Jesus Christ in the river Jordan.

"The tradition is to go to a large body of water," said Father Emmanuel Hatzidakis, pastor of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Swansea. "Where I grew up in Crete, we would go down to the sea." In St. Louis, the faithful followed the priest to a cobblestone wharf at the edge of the Mississippi. Three times, Hatzidakis dipped a wooden cross on a string into the river as priests chanted in English and Greek. The procession then returned to the concrete overlook next to Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard. Worshipers, including grandmothers bundled in shawls and kerchiefs, then sipped blessed water - from a clear glass bowl, not the river - and kissed an icon depicting Jesus Christ's baptism. …

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