The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Valley

January 2, 2013

Orthodox Christian Chapel to hold annual Blessing Of The Waters in Beaver Springs

BEAVER SPRINGS — The Orthodox Christian Chapel of the Holy Spirit will hold a traditional outdoor blessing of the waters for Theophany or Epiphany on Sunday, Jan. 6, around noon, in a procession and ceremony by the covered bridge at Beaver Springs, at the ball park off Route 522, led by Fr. Basil Biberdorf, of State College.

The ancient outdoor ritual, involving icons, incense, and traditional chanting, will occur following Sunday’s Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. at the Chapel, 350 Old Orchard Dr., Beavertown, and an indoor blessing of the waters at Saturday Vespers the night before, also at the Chapel. All are welcome to attend and participate in the procession in Beaver Springs or the services in Beavertown.

The Chapel is the first Orthodox Christian community in Snyder and Union counties, founded in 2008 as a mission of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in State College. It includes a number of Snyder and Union County families, who have converted to Orthodoxy and worship together in centuries-old traditions of the Orthodox Church. Sometimes called “Eastern Orthodox,” the Orthodox Church originates from the first Christian churches in the Holy Land and Eastern Mediterranean, and in modern times has been especially prevalent in Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox lands, but is now spreading in America. Orthodox Christian immigrants to coal region of the Susquehanna Valley founded earlier parishes elsewhere in the region.

Theophany commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, when traditional Christians believe the divinity of Christ in the Trinity was revealed.

The Chapel recently bought land on Kern Street in Beavertown, where it plans to erect a church building in the near future.

Fr. Biberdorf will be assisted in the outdoor procession and blessing of the waters by Reader David Smith, of Beavertown, and members of the congregation.

In case of sleet, heavy snow, or extremely cold weather, the outdoor procession will not be held.

For more information or to double-check on any weather-related changes in the service plans, call 658-7403 or 541-8895. For background information on the Chapel and its services, see its webpage, http://holyspirit-oca.org/

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