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Local Orthodox Church celebrates Blessing of the Waters

Archangel Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church in Traverse City celebrated the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River with the Blessing of the Waters.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- More than 250 million Orthodox people around the world celebrated the anniversary of the baptism of Jesus Christ with the Blessing of the Waters.

Among those were members of the Archangel Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church in Traverse City.

The pastor blessed Grand Traverse Bay Sunday afternoon at the Clinch Park Marina.

The ceremony featured the throwing of the Holy Cross into the water to commemorate the anniversary of Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River.

"The actual blessing is the descent of the holy cross into the waters. In warmer climates, there's a tradition when the young men of the parish jump to retrieve the cross," said Father Streza. "If you go to Tarpon Spring, Florida, you have tens and tens of young guys jumping to retrieve the cross. Here, we decided not to do it this year."

Father Streza said that the Blessing of the Waters has been celebrated by the Orthodox Church since the early days of Christianity.

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