Great Blessing of Water Ceremony by the Ottawa River

January 13, 2006

Great Blessing of Water Ceremony by the Ottawa River

Gatineau, Quebec, January 13, 2006 — For a fifth consecutive year, the public is welcome to celebrate the Feast of the Theophany in traditional Ukrainian Catholic style on Thursday January 19 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. At 7 p.m., members of the Ukrainian community and local clergy will celebrate a Great Blessing of the Water service outside the Museum, overlooking the Ottawa River, under a three-meter ice cross. The service will be led by Reverend Andrew T. Onuferko, Acting Director of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at Saint Paul University, Ottawa.

In the Ukrainian Catholic Church, as well as in other churches of the Byzantine tradition, a Great Blessing of Water service is celebrated annually on the Feast of the Theophany, January 6 (January 19 in the Old Calendar). At the conclusion of the service, the blessed water is distributed among the faithful, who drink it and take it to their homes. The Theophany of Our Lord commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The Feast is called the Theophany (meaning “the manifestation of God”) because this is the first time that the Holy Trinity is revealed, and that Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by the Father and the Holy Spirit. This feast is also popularly referred to as the Feast of Jordan.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization houses St. Onuphrius Church, the former home of the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Smoky Lake, Alberta. In regular use from 1915 until 1963, the twelve by seven metre building was maintained by the parish until the 1990s, when members of the community disassembled it piece by piece and helped in its meticulous reconstruction inside the Museum’s Canada Hall. Over the years, the St. Onuphrius parish community celebrated Theophany many times. In June 2005, a number of former parishioners came to Ottawa to celebrate the Feast of St. Onuphrius in their old parish building.

Presented in partnership with The Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Saint Paul University.

More information is available by calling (819) 776-7000 or 1 800 555-5621.

Members of the media are invited to cover this event and to take photographs.

Media Information:

Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Tel.: (819) 776-7167

Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Tel.: (819) 776-7169

Fax: (819) 776-7187

2006-01-13 00:00:00.000