Father Andrew Bartek and churchgoers at Holy Assumption Church in Marblehead enjoyed the 2nd annual Blessing of Lake Erie on Saturday on a chilly afternoon on the Lake Erie shoreline just a short walk from the Orthodox church.
Founded in 1898, Holy Assumption is the second oldest Orthodox Church in Ohio. It was founded by immigrants from Eastern Europe, but until Father Bartek had arrived, the church had not celebrated the Blessing of Lake Erie. Other parishes around the world have long celebrated the Blessing of the Lake on a select winter date, sometimes carving a cross on the ice-covered waters.
“We could have celebrated the Blessing of Lake Erie today, or on a much warmer day in August,” Father Bartek told a crowd of more than 50 people. “But that would have interfered our annual Halupki Festival (Aug. 16), which is a very important summer celebration in Marblehead.”
Under a tent set up at along a small cove at Clemons Park, parishioners listened as Father Bartek said the prescribed prayers, and splashed the waters of Lake Erie with holy water. A warm meal and refreshments at the church on Main Street followed the ceremony.