Dorm rooms get a blessing
Dorm rooms get a blessing
By Jomay Steen, Journal staff Monday, February 04, 2008
As a way to keep their religious ties strong and
provide a little bit of home while away at
school, two engineering students asked a local
priest to bless their dormitory rooms at South
Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
Last Saturday, Alexandra Prisjatschew and Nathan
Priegnitz opened their doors to the Rev. Thomas
Williams for a Theophany House Blessing in
Palmerton Hall at the School of Mines.
The blessings of the two dormitory rooms were a
first for Williams of St. John Orthodox Church.
Im blessing homes from now until mid-February,
he said. This is the first time that Ive blessed dormitory rooms.
Priegnitz, 19, of Pauls Valley, Okla., initially
had investigated the idea of the blessing being
allowed on campus. Once the sophomore mining
engineer major found out that it could be done, he contacted Williams.
It started as a curiosity. Could we get our dorm
rooms blessed? It then evolved, Priegnitz said.
He said the religious ceremony was almost another
way of bringing his family and their home life
back to the area. Standing in front of his
third-floor closet, next to his refrigerator and
bureau at the foot of his bed, Priegnitz recited
prayers as Williams prayed and shook holy water about the room.
Its a peace-of-mind thing, Priegnitz added.
Its also another way of keeping the church going for us.
Downstairs, Prisjatschew, a 21-year-old senior
geological engineering major of Strasburg, Colo.,
was looking for ways to feel the familiar comfort
of Christ in her college life while living so far
away from her family. Traditionally this blessing
would take place at her familys home in
Colorado. It was only natural that she wanted to
participate in that same religious ceremony in her own room.
It is our home when were away from home. Every
year, we do this at home. Its hard to integrate
those home traditions. This is one way to do that, she said.
It helps in our everyday lives, she added.
Tied to the baptism of Christ in the Jordan
River, holy water is taken to the home in a
golden aspergillum to bless the home, Williams said.
Its a very strong tradition with the Eastern Orthodox Church, he said.
The water sprinkled throughout the home
represents the water Christ was baptized in,
Williams said. It is a way of recalling the
presence of God and blessing the home.
In a typical home blessing, incense would be
burned, candles lit and the priest would be led
throughout the home by a child or household
member carrying a candle. All the while, Williams
chants a hymn as he sprinkles holy water within
the rooms and on the lintel of the door. However,
for the dorm rooms, he altered the ritual
somewhat by simply saying the words rather than
chanting them and standing in one position in the 9-foot by 13-foot dorm rooms.
There is a definite connection between the home
and church, and this will reinforce it, Williams said of the ritual.
As Williams concluded his prayers at the
ceremony, he teased Priegnitz and Prisjatschew
that it would be traditional for the homeowners
to invite the priest to dinner. Prisjatschew
promptly offered to share a snack of crackers and
cheese, but Williams declined.
Youre all set for the year, Williams said as he left the room.
Contact Jomay Steen at 394-8418 or jomay.steen@....