Great Blessing of the Waters

by , under church, services

Time: about an hour and a half, including the procession (partly by river ferry)
Congregation: 17 or 18 counting the crew; neither the woman with the ferry tickets nor I was completely sure. On the way back, in fact two more because a couple were so interested that they came back to the church with us.
Crew: Altar: Fr W, two adult acolytes Choir: 1 soprano and 1 alto (me). Also, several parishioners conscripted to carry the processional cross, the icon, the Gospel book, various useful objects, and buckets of water.
Coordination: all right, except at the end when I expected Fr W to say something and he said something else, so we kept waiting for each other, not helped by the wind that blew most of our words away. But that was cleared up soon enough.

Watch out, demons! The river IJssel, and by extension all the waters of the world, is now holy water. (And in 13 days when the old-calendrists have the Theophany, it will be blessed again.) The river was very high, though not so high that we could stay on the town side and bless it from the quay, and someone said “if it floods now, the whole town will be blessed!” We were in sight of the ferry, because the only place where we could stand without sinking ankle-deep into mud was the road that leads to the place where the ferry moors when the river is not so high (i.e. in summer). This meant that every boatload of people got a good view of us. One man from the parish was taking pictures from the ferry pier and answering questions, and he noticed that people got quiet and interested.

Here is a very good article on the Theophany.

In other news: count of people who called me asking when the Christmas service was: two, and one apparent. (Not counting the people who came on Saturday, who I will be blogging about separately.) One man was angry that we didn’t have a midnight service on “Russian Christmas”, one woman understood it when I explained that we have the Greek calendar and may come on Sunday after all. One intermittent choir-mate called to ask “we do have a service tonight, don’t we?” but realised his mistake when I said “of course not, silly!” — he didn’t think it was Christmas but had miscalculated the date of the Theophany (or thought the 6th was Saturday, not Friday).


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