Fr Prof. Ioan Sauca walked through 42 different offices within the World Council of Churches on 13 January, sharing with appreciative staff the “great blessing of waters” according to Orthodox tradition.
In a morning meditation, Sauca, Bossey Institute director and WCC deputy general secretary, shared the meaning behind the service, which once a year celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.
“It is called ‘great’ because during the prayer of blessing, there is a double invocation of the Holy Spirit,” explained Sauca. “This water is used for the consecration of new churches and their altars, liturgical vestments and objects, the oil for confirmation.”
The faithful take home this water and keep it for the whole year, sprinkling and blessing with it their houses, the people, the water sources, the animals and all their belongings.
“The event of Christ’s baptism in Jordan is portrayed as a cosmic event, in and within creation,” said Sauca. “God’s Son descends into the waters to be baptized; the heavens open, the voice of the Father is being heard and the Holy Spirit descends.’
In a deep demonstration of God’s eco-theology, life comes about out of the existing creation, which shows that the whole cosmos is interrelated and different segments of it cannot exist in separation, added Sauca. “Any living creature including the humans are part of the cosmos, and their very existence is both interrelated and mutually conditioned.”