January 19, 2012

Hierarchical Aquatic Ceremony

Earlier today a confrere and I were taking a walk around Jamaica Pond when we saw something unusual ahead. From some distance I could tell someone was vested in some kind of garb or other. It was about twenty degrees out, so I wondered in horror if perhaps someone was being baptized in the pond.

When we got a little closer I could make out a priest in eastern vestments and what I took to be a couple of subdeacons. That's when I took this picture:

As we got closer, we could see that the priest was blessing everyone with water. Arriving on the scene, I made the sign of the Cross in eastern fashion and hoped the priest would offer us a blessing too. Indeed, he did.

"Would you like the special water blessing?"

"Yes, Father, please."

He offered me a crucifix to kiss, invoked the Blessed Trinity, and then smacked me about the face a few times with a leafy branch he had dipped in his holy water. Then he offered me his ring to kiss and that was it.

So tell me, does anyone know what exactly we witnessed and what blessing was received?

Update: A conversation on Twitter reveals the obvious, but for my ignorance and calendrical presumptions : Epiphany!


Pat Joy said...

We are currently living in Ukraine and there was a news item today about it (in Ukrainian unfortunately so couldn't understand it properly), but our kids told us it was 'The Baptism of Christ.'

Brother Charles said...

Thanks! That fits!

Anonymous said...

Its the Orthodox celebration of Baptism of Christ, the Epiphany. Here is a photo-link to how it is done in Russia. Being smacked with the leafy branch dipped in holy water must be the Americanized version:


Padre Paulus said...

It's their equivalent of the RCIA, no? I think you are now Orthodox...!