Greek communities across Australia celebrate traditional blessing of the waters
By Argyro Vourdoumpa and Andriana Simos.
The traditional blessing of the waters took place in South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania over the weekend to the delight of parishioners who attended.
Here is our list of all the winners and events that took place in those states and territories:
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Adelaide Glenelg District:
On Sunday January 9, 2022, the Blessing of the Waters ceremony took place at Glenelg Jetty for the 42nd consecutive year.
His Excellency Bishop Silouan of Sinope, along with Orthodox Christian clergy from Adelaide, led a procession down Glenelg Pier for the annual event.
In attendance were a number of prominent dignitaries, including Trade and Investment Minister Stephen Patterson, representing South African Prime Minister Steven Marshall; the mayor of Holdfast Bay, Amanda Wilson; Tom Koutsantonis deputy; Andrea Michaels MP; the President of SAMEAC, Adriana Chrisopoulos; and the Chairman of the South African Intercommunity Council, Dr Vladimir Devrelis.
They all watched with excitement as many swimmers young and old strove to be the first to retrieve the Holy Cross which was thrown into the sea from the pier.
Finally, 20-year-old Stelios Zacharakis (Στέλιος Ζαχαράκης), who is in his second year at university in dentistry, recovered the Holy Cross. Stelios is from the parish of the prophet Elias, Norwood and this year was his third time diving for the cross.
“I feel very lucky and happy,” said Stelios The Greek Herald and encouraged more people to participate next year.
“Go for it. This is my third year. Third year is all about charm. It’s really a matter of life.
This ceremony of the blessing of the waters was followed by the traditional Greek Glenelg Festival which, for the first time this year, took place over two days on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 January on the grassy foreshore in front of the Stamford Grand Hotel.
Greek Orthodox Community of SA (GOCSA), Henley Beach:
The Greek Orthodox Community of SA (GOCSA) honored Epiphany at a scaled-down blessing of the waters event held at Henley Beach Pier on Sunday noon.
The community has canceled this year’s festival due to the increase in COVID cases in the state.
“It is our duty to protect the community. Health and wellness come first and we will come together next year to celebrate with a bigger event, ”GOCSA President Bill Gonis said in his speech.
Special guests and dignitaries included Matt Cowdrey, MP representing Prime Minister Steven Marshall, Mark Butler, MP for Hindmarsh, Jayne Stinson, MP, Mayor of Charles Sturt’s Town, Angela Evans, Deputy Mayor of West Torrens, George Vlahos, City Councilor. of Charles Sturt and the new Labor candidate for Colton State seat, Paul Alexandrides.
A total of nine people – including two girls – dived for the Cross with the winner Hristos Likouras (Χρήστος Λικούρας), 30, for the first time.
“I feel overwhelmed,” he said The Greek herald. “When I woke up this morning I never thought I would get the Cross back but I tried anyway. If you have ups and downs in life, try to get out of it every day.”
The Greek community in Canberra gathered at Casuarina Sands on Sunday January 9 to celebrate the annual blessing of the waters.
The event, which was hosted by the Canberra Greek Orthodox Church and Community (GOCCC), began with a Matins and Divine Liturgy service at the local St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
The liturgy was presided over by the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Canberra, His Excellency Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, assisted by the parish priest, Father Petros Kipouros.
During a sermon, His Grace emphasized the importance of reflecting his life on Saint John by loving and trusting God and not being afraid to express his Orthodox Christian faith.
After the service, Bishop Bartholomew and parishioners traveled to Casuarina Sands to witness the Holy Cross being thrown into the water as swimmers attempted to retrieve it.
In the end, Emmanuel Papanikolaou, 18, of Samos origin, was named the winner.
“It feels really good,” said Emmanuel The Greek herald.
“It’s a good day with the community and it’s really fun. I’m just glad it can move forward because I thought it would be canceled due to COVID-19. So I am really happy.
The Tasmanian Greek community also hosted the traditional blessing of the waters at Sandy Bay Beach on Sunday January 9.
After a Divine Liturgy service, parishioners descended on the beach and applauded as the swimmers jumped to retrieve the Holy Cross from the water.
The service was chaired by Father Dimitrios of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and Father Matthew of the St George Greek Orthodox Church in Hobart.
Yiannis Anagnostis, 20, of Hobart, managed to reclaim the cross this year after many years of competing in the race.