Monday, January 16, 2017

For some, Christmas just ended, with the Blessing of the Waters

Bless the waters (photo by Erasmia Smith)
     This could easily have been twice as long. The subject called for some background on the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lt. Hostetler said some interesting things about being a military "chap" and having to keep up with service members 20 years his junior. But the column is limited to 700 words in the paper, and it's no good if it doesn't fit. I will point out that the two photos below were taken by his 16-year-old son. I'd say the boy had a bright future in journalism if only, you know, people had bright futures in journalism.

Lt. David Hostetler blessing the waters (photo by Isaac Hostetler)
     The sky was overcast and rainy. But before sundown, when David Hostetler, a Navy lieutenant and Greek Orthodox priest, began his service at a beach on an island in the East China Sea, the sun broke through the clouds.
     “Just as we started our prayers,” Hostetler said over the telephone last Monday from Okinawa, Japan, where he is stationed.
     Christmas is a fading memory for most by mid-January, its farewell marked by secular ceremonies: the Dragging of the Tree to the Curb, the Boxing of the Lights.
     Eastern Orthodox Christianity extends Christmas through Epiphany, which ended over the weekend, including a ceremony called the Outdoor Blessing of the Waters, commemorating Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River. One was held Sunday on the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with others earlier this month on the banks of the Illinois River in Peoria, the Rock River in Rockford and the Mississippi at St. Paul, Minnesota.
     Though the ceremony that caught my eye was performed by a former Chicagoan living with his family on a military base abroad. As befitting a former resident of the Windy City, Hostetler had to deal with a strong wind that battered his vestments....

To continue reading, click here.
Racing for the cross (photo by Isaac Hostetler)


  1. First thing upon visiting the site this morning was thinking WOW, what a great picture! It relates well to the Rockwell photo from the previous posting.

  2. Funny, I grew up Greek Orthodox, and none of this stuff was ever part of my life. I thought we were pretty traditional (my parents were among the founding families of our church and were both Sunday School teachers), but I guess we weren't that traditional.

    Bitter Scribe

  3. Twice as much fun reading it here as compared to the newspaper, which I suppose also casts a pall on the "bright future in journalism."



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