19th-21st JANUARY 2018: As part of the ongoing celebrations of the Great Feast of Theophany, the London Cathedral parish in Chiswick and the St Elizabeth parish in Wallasey blessed the central rivers that flow through their respective cities (London and Liverpool). Both the Thames and the Mersey were blessed in small processions made by parishioners after the main festal Divine Services and the rite of the Great Blessing of the Water performed in the churches themselves.
The Thames was blessed first, on the Feastday itself. Following a joyful celebration of the Feast in a full Church, a small group of parishioners, led by Bishop Irenei and Archpriest Vitaly Serapinas, made the short journey on foot through the nearby rural neighbourhoods to the banks of the Thames, not far from the Kew Gardens bridge, where a small sanctification of the waters was performed as the hymns of the Feast were sung.
On the following Sunday, following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St Elizabeth’s Parish in Wallasey and a parish meal laid on by the members of the active community, a group of parishioners braved what was quite ferocious weather to visit the banks of the Mersey, where the full Blessing of Waters was performed by Bishop Irenei and the Diocesan Chancellor, Archpriest Paul Elliott. The winds and rains soaked everyone through, but there was a joyful spirit as this small offering for the community, made in memory of the Lord sanctifying the waters of the Jordan by His holy baptism, was carried out.