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Orthodox community blesses Spokane River


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Fr. Stephen Supica throws a cross into the Spokane River
Fr. Stephen Supica throws a cross into the Spokane River

Members of three local Orthodox churches gathered at mile marker 16 on the Centennial Trail Sunday afternoon, looked toward the frigid waters and prayed for the Spokane River to, “be sanctified by the power and operation and descent of the holy spirit….”

The Rev. Basil Caldaroni of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Post Falls, Idaho said Orthodox Christians bless the waters each year on the Feast of  Theophany (Jan. 6), which commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.

“When he was baptized he blessed the waters by himself entering into the waters and entering into creation,” Caldaroni said. “So the Orthodox Church to this day continues on Theophany to bless water.”

Rev. Stephen Supica, of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, said the annual event is way of extending “the blessing the Lord gave to the Jordan River to our own part of God’s creation.”

Members from Holy Trinity, Christ the Savior and St. John’s Orthodox Churches attended the brief ceremony, which included a holy crucifix being tossed into the river, retrieved, then kissed by worshipers.

On Theophany Orthodox churches also have a blessing of the water during Divine Liturgy.

The Feast of Theophany is also the culmination of the Christmas Season.

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Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of FāVS.News, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.

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David Yonke
David Yonke
11 years ago

Great story, Tracy, and the video is terrific!

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
11 years ago

Thanks so much David!

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