Next Sunday 12 January will see the annual blessing of the River Thames on London Bridge.
This is London’s oldest river crossing point and this year has an added resonance since it is where the recent terrorist attack took place.
On Sunday 12 January, Baptism of Christ Sunday, processions will set out from St Magnus the Martyr Church in the City (the old Bridge pavement runs under its tower) and Southwark Cathedral to meet at 12.30pm in front of The Monument at London Bridge’s north end.
Here there will be a ceremony for the Removal of Flowers laid following the deaths of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones in the terror attack.
(The floral tributes will be made into compost to be made available to the families of the victims.)
The processions will then merge to proceed to the middle of London Bridge for the River Blessing.
After prayers, for those who work on the river and have died in the water, a wooden cross will be thrown down to the rising water as in the Orthodox tradition.
The bridge once had a chapel on its middle downstream side dedicated to St Thomas Becket whose 850th anniversary is this year.
During 2020 many Becket pilgrims will be setting out from here to Canterbury on foot whilst others will be walking upstream on the Thames Path which passes below the south end.
Earlier on Sunday morning a decorated cross will be hurled into the Thames estuary at Margate and retrieved by members of the Kent Greek community in the presence of the Greek Orthodox Archbishop.