The Rev. Dr. Calinic Berger, pastor of Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Hermitage, tossed a cross into the Shenango River Saturday as part of the traditional “Bless The River” ceremony dating back to the time of John the Baptist.
A group of about 20 braved the cold to join in the third annual blessing led by Berger; the Rev. David Mastroberte, pastor of St. John’s Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church in Sharon; the Rev. Andrew Gall of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Sharon; and the Rev. Milovan Katanic of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Hermitage.
Before the ceremony, Sanda Constantinidi of Hermitage, explained that as part of the original river blessings, young men would jump into the river, trying to be the first to retrieve the cross.