All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

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March - April 2006

ORTHODOX LIFE: HOLY WATER

Q: How is holy water traditionally obtained, used, and disposed of?

A: Holy water is typically blessed a few times each year, particularly on the feast of Theophany (the Baptism of the Lord), January 6/19.

The faithful will bring to church jars dedicated for holding holy water, and take some home with them to drink each morning before breakfast. Many parishes will have holy water available in a dispenser in the church throughout the year; if not, some can be obtained by asking the priest.

A supply of holy water can be "stretched" by mixing in some regular clean water at any time. Prior to a water blessing, the old supply is carefully poured on plants, to clear the bottles for the newly blessed water (although "old" holy water will remain drinkable indefinitely).

Priests will use holy water to bless homes, but In times of need or spiritual affliction, bad dreams, or extreme anxiety, faithful people will also sprinkle their rooms, bed, doorposts, etc., often using the prayer, "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered...".

All faithful Orthodox Christians should make a habit of consuming holy water, along with andidoron (blessed bread) each morning, in prayerful preparations for the spiritual challenges of the day.

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