Rev. Oliver Herbel’s blessing

The Orthodox Rev. Oliver Herbel leads a prayer Sunday following his blessing of the Red River at Dike East in Fargo. Herbel threw his cross into the river and retrieved it with a string three times as other congregations did across the world following the church’s celebration of Theophany. Herbel came to Fargo in August 2007, and this is his second year of blessing the water in recognition of the baptism of Christ. “We’re a new mission, so we have to slowly take baby steps to get where we need to be. The first couple of years we were just trying to get the basic services down, and last year we felt that we were finally ready to do this,” he Herbel says. “We believe that, quite literally, the sacraments and the worship of the church is a way to step into basically another dimension. We believe that God is timeless, and therefore in the sacraments and in worshiping God, we step into the heavenly worship and the various acts that God himself has done for the salvation of humanity,” Herbel says. “So when we throw the cross into the river three times, we believe we really are somehow sacramentally participating in the very baptism of Christ and we witness that same sanctification of nature in the River Jordan.” Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

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