The Very Rev. Archpriest Father George Johnson, pastor of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church, blessed the Little Conemaugh River, as he has done other times in the past, with prayers and incense, on Sunday morning.
He also threw a crucifix into the water three times, while joined by parishioners high atop the river on the Sergeant Michael Strank Memorial Bridge.
“The blessing of the water is where we ask God’s mercy upon us and ask God’s presence upon us because God is holy,”
“Therefore, when God is with us, then that which God created is sanctified by his presence.”
The church, at 427 First St. in East Conemaugh, has been blessing the river since 1979 because, as Johnson explained, it has been a “major presence, so to speak, for our community and the people in our community.”
“By bringing water into the presence of God in a renewed way – by prayer, and by effort and by energy – in that way, we are seeking, once again, to be joined to the presence of God, which is to say to the holiness of God, which is what makes life to be able to be lived by human beings,”