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Sanctifying Elk Lake’s waters

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.oakbaynews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=23&cat=43&id=804001&more= Sanctifying Elk Lake’s waters By Amy Dove Oak Bay News (Victoria, B.C.,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2007
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      http://www.oakbaynews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=23&cat=43&id=804001&more=

      Sanctifying Elk Lake’s waters

      By Amy Dove
      Oak Bay News (Victoria, B.C., Canada)
      Jan 03 2007

      Orthodox churches gather to renew faith through traditional feast

      The symbolism of plunging a cross into the waters
      of Elk Lake extends far beyond ripples and religious connections.

      The annual blessing of water, which coincides
      with the feast of Theophany, is a reminder to
      orthodox parishioners that water is a precious
      natural resource, said Father John Hainsworth
      with the All Saints of Alaska Orthodox Church.

      “They remember they are God’s stewards. This
      creation is theirs to take care of – not exploit, use and discard,” he said.

      Orthodox Christians have been ecologically aware
      for centuries, Hainsworth added.

      “There is no room for ecological
      irresponsibility,” he noted. “We cannot discard
      creation as if it were nothing.”

      The feast is linked to the Old Testment.

      Theophany means the manifestation in the flesh of God.

      It states that the creation of the world came from water, Hainsworth explained.

      Orthodox Christians believe Christ was born Dec. 25 and baptized Jan. 6.

      Baptism by water is meant to reaffirm one’s
      connection to Christ and show repentance.

      The feast is celebrated every year in two parts.

      A ceremony held in the church blesses water in
      large basins by plunging a cross into the liquid.

      That water is then distributed to church members for their personal use.

      The water is used in baking, around the home and
      as a refreshment, among other uses.

      “In doing (the ceremony) we renew God’s
      sanctification of the world,” Hainsworth said.

      From there the congregation moves to the nearest
      body of water, in this case, Elk Lake.

      Depending on where churches are located, the
      blessed water ranges from small creeks to lakes and oceans.

      While studying in New York, Hainsworth partook in
      blessing a city stream – something he said could
      have benefited from a daily blessing.

      Natural bodies of water are blessed in the same
      manner as the church ceremony, with a cross
      plunged beneath the surface while prayers are said.

      This year, members of the Greek Orthodox church,
      St. George’s Ukrainian Orthodox church and the
      Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox church will be in attendance.

      The ceremony takes place Jan. 7, at 1 p.m., near
      the Hamsterley Beach side of Elk Lake.

      The ceremony is open to the public.
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