The seminary community recently held the Blessing of the Waters out on the pond, and for the first time in a few years, we were on the pond instead of beside the pond. We had already completed the Blessing of the Waters which immediately follows the Theophany Liturgy, of course, but had decided to wait for everybody to return from the winter break before holding the blessing of the pond and seminary buildings with the whole community. What better day than a feast day? So, following liturgy for the Meeting of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple, the seminary community met for a brunch provided by our wonderful cook, Ginger Smith, before filing out to the pond for the Blessing of the Waters.Our beloved Father Ignatius Gauvain cut the cross in the ice for us. The ice blocks he pulled out were about a foot and a half thick. He fashioned a cross to the east so the sun's rays would have a chance to refract through the ice. With some leftover ice, he even set up a small ice altar for the priest to use during the blessing the next morning.
Our dean, Father John Parker, lead the service for us the next morning after the liturgy and the brunch. After blessing the water in the pond, our procession aimed toward the seminary buildings. Dozens of seminarians, wives, children, faculty, and staff wound through the halls, rooms, and even closets of the seminary, singing the festal troparion, before walking up the hill to the dorm, to bless its every crevice as well. And as that hymn says:
O Christ, our God, who hast revealed thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to thee!
By Priest Ignatius Strange, STOTS Class 2022