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Long Island's Great South Bay - 01/06/11

On the feast-day of Theophany (January 6) Orthodox Christians from across Long Island gathered at Alhambra Beach at Great South Bay to celebrate the blessing of the waters. This event is part of Theophany/Epiphany celebrations by Orthodox Christians around the world.

“We’re blessing the waters as a physical reminder of the responsibility we have to care for the earth,” said Father  Martin Kraus, rector of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (East Meadow NY). “Each year, we place a cross into the waters asking Jesus Christ to send down the Holy Spirit for the cleansing and sanctification of the waters which surround Long Island.”

The Orthodox Church annually celebrates the blessing of the waters on January 6th during services in their local parishes. With last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and recent reports about the quality of drinking water in Suffolk County, members of Holy Trinity parish in East Meadow are committed to doing their part to care for the environment.

“Praying over the waters of Long Island is not just symbolic,” Father Kraus continued, “We all make use of water, through fishing, research, recreation, and drinking it. We pray that God will bless not only the waters, but all residents of Long Island with good health.”

The Orthodox Church teaches that the renewal of creation began with the baptism of Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture. Traditionally, rivers, streams, and lakes are blessed because these bodies of water have an impact on all aspects of life. “Living in 21st century America, it’s important we remember we have limited supplies of natural resources,” Father Kraus said. “Having clean and potable water is critical to life and a gift, which we need to ask that God continues to provide for all of us.”

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