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Blessing of the water service held on the banks of the Norfolk Broads

PUBLISHED: 15:46 05 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:46 05 January 2014

Blessing of the Water at Sutton Staithe.
Father Stephen Weston from St Fursey’s Catholic chapel perfomring the service which involves throwing a cross into the water. 

Picture: James Bass

Blessing of the Water at Sutton Staithe. Father Stephen Weston from St Fursey’s Catholic chapel perfomring the service which involves throwing a cross into the water. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A small congregation gathered on the bank of a Norfolk Broad as a cross was symbolically thrown three times into the water.

Today’s open air service at Sutton Staithe, near Stalham, was conducted by Father Stephen Weston, the priest of Sutton’s tiny 18ft by 13ft St Fursey’s chapel built in his back garden 15 yeas ago.

The ceremony was part of the Antiochian Orthodox’s church Theophany service, celebrating Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan and signifying the holiness of water.

Following a liturgy

at the chapel, Fr Stephen blessed the water of the River Ant by throwing a cross – which normally sits on the altar inside St Fursey’s - into the Broad three times, each time pulling it back by the string firmly attached to the base. Waters blessed earlier in the day were used for prayers.

A waterside service used to take place in Great Yarmouth when young members of the congregation would dive into the water to retrieve the cross.

St Fursey’s is believed to be one of the smallest working churches in the country. It’s patron saint established an abbey at Burgh Castle in around 630AD.

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