(WYTV) - Each year, the Orthodox church commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by holding a special Blessing of Water service.
Local Orthodox churches gathered in Hermitage on Sunday to bless the Shenango River in celebration of the Epiphany holiday.
The service dates back to the 6th century, and consists of Scripture readings, hymns and prayers. Orthodox believers throughout the world take part in the celebration.
"The idea is that through Christ's baptism all creation is blessed. That He came not just to save man, to save fallen man, to save sinners, but to re sanctify the whole creation. To give it a new genesis--a new descent of the Holy Spirit.", explained Father Calinic Berger, a priest at the Romanian Orthodox Church.
This is the first time that the Blessing of Water was celebrated for the Shenango River.