PARMA, Ohio (cleveland.com) - It started as a tradition hundreds of years ago in the Ukraine. To honor the Epiphany or the Baptism of Jesus on Jan. 19, men from a parish church would go to a nearby lake and cut blocks of ice and bring them to the front of the church. They would then cut them to form a cross.
For the past 30 years, the parishioners at State Road's St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral have built an ice cross like their ancestors in the Ukraine. Fr. John Nakonachny, pastor of St. Vladimir’s, said St. Vladimir’s is the only church in the area that keeps up this tradition.
On Jan. 17, eight men from the parish cut blocks of ice into a triple bar cross, which is the cross used by the Ukrainians and some other Eastern Orthodox churches.
With temperatures plummeting this week, the members of the parish will certainly have their ice cross at least through next week. Fr. Nakonachy said there was only a couple of years when the temperatures climbed over freezing, melting the ice crosses within days of them being erected.
This year is St. Vladimir’s 90th anniversary, and the Epiphany with its Blessing of Water and ice cross is one of the most symbolic events in the cathedral’s anniversary year.