blessing waters 2021

The Blessing of the Waters, which occurs once a year according to Orthodox tradition, celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Staff within the offices of the Ecumenical Centre also received with appreciation water sprinkled upon them as a blessing for them and their ongoing work for justice and peace.

Rev. Fr Goossan Aljanian, head of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church of Switzerland, shared a message about how our world is not so different from the world into which Mary and Joseph welcomed the newborn Jesus.

“Jesus was born 2000 years ago when king Herod’s soldiers are racing through Bethlehem with orders to kill all the children two years old or under,” he said. “From the day Jesus was born, he was persecuted.”

Jesus was born in a world under oppression, Aljanian reflected. “He lived in a simple village on the edge of poverty,” he said. “With an infant child, Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt as refugees.”

Christmas reminds us that God has not forgotten us, Aljanian said. “Our God understands the darkness and evil of our world because He experienced it, He lived it, He suffered it, yet ultimately, He overcame it,” he said. “While others choose to live under the delusion of worldly power and temporary authority, He showed us how to live in simplicity and humility.”

Christmas brings a new way of living, concluded Aljanian. “The Christian path means becoming human as Jesus was human, lifting humanity to a new level, the original level it was meant to be lived,” he said. “we are filled with the light of God.”