Throwing Crosses in the Hudson River

12 Jan

I once saw a priest in Brooklyn throw a cross into the muddy waters of the Hudson.  It was a frigid January day, yet a bunch of boys jumped into the river to save the cross.

What would possess a priest to throw a cross into the river?

Theophany; or, as most westerners call it, Epiphany.

The word “Theophany” comes from the Greek “τα Θεοφάνια,” which means “appearance of God,” and January 6 is the feast day that commemorates the incarnation of Jesus.  It celebrates His birth and baptism.

When St. John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, the heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.  God spoke from the heavens, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17, NIV).  It marked one of the very few times that all three characters of the Trinity—Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God—revealed themselves at the same time to man.

Jesus’ baptism marks His first step toward Crucifixion, according to Orthodox theology.

And so, on January 6, Orthodox priests throughout the world throw crosses, symbolic of Jesus’ crucifixion, into bodies of water, symbolic of His baptism.  This is called the Blessing of the Waters.  Volunteers jump into the water to retrieve the cross.  The priest, according to tradition, prays a blessing on the person who gets to the cross first and brings it back to him.

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3 Responses to “Throwing Crosses in the Hudson River”

  1. segmation April 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Nice blog about the Hudson River. Thomas Cole was born in England but moved to the United States as a youth. His talents for painting were soon discovered and his works focused on landscapes and the Hudson River. Please check out my blog and let me know what you think! What a neat way to do Thomas Cole art and fun with it! http://segmation.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/thomas-cole-founder-of-the-hudson-river-school-www-segmation-com/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Blessed Theophany « Stephanie Nikolopoulos - January 7, 2012

    […] case you missed my post from last year and have no idea what I’m talking about, here it is […]

  2. Blessing of the Waters « Stephanie Nikolopoulos - January 6, 2013

    […] of this post were first published on my blog in 2011 and […]

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