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Orthodox Christian Community to Celebrate ‘Blessing of the Waters’ at Santa Barbara Harbor

Pastors Nicholas Speier and Bob Fox lead a “Blessing of the Waters” ceremony.
Pastors Nicholas Speier and Bob Fox lead a “Blessing of the Waters” ceremony. (Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church photo)

In keeping with ancient tradition, members of Santa Barbara’s Orthodox Christian community will celebrate Epiphany or “Blessing of the Waters” at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Barbara Harbor, in front of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

Congregants from Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church and St. Athanasius Antiochian Orthodox Church will join in the tradition of seaside communities worldwide — by throwing a cross into the ocean and inviting youth to dive in to retrieve it.

The one who finds the wave-tossed cross receives a special blessing.

Each participant will receive a warm sweatshirt for their efforts, and all who witness the ceremony are invited to share in fellowship with a clam chowder meal following the ceremony.

This observance commemorates Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, and the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry.

— Fr. Bob Fox represents Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church.


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