Greek Orthodox Epiphany celebration

A Greek Orthodox Epiphany celebration took place yesterday 6th of January in Ialyssos of Rhodes. The swimmers jump into the sea to catch the Cross .The winner gets the priest’s blessing for the year.

On Epiphany Day, Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by Saint John the Baptist.

On the 6th of January of each year we celebrate in Greece the holy day of the Epiphany (also called Theofania in Greek), a Christian feast day to commemorate the revelation of God the Son as a human being. It is considered an important festivity for the Orthodox Christians that culminates with the Blessing of the Waters.

The ceremony takes place close to rivers, lakes and ports all over Greece. A priest will throw a cross into the water and volunteers will dive and compete to recover it. The weather, at this time of the year, is usually is stormy and the waters are at their coldest. The person who gets the cross first, swims back and returns it to the priest to receive in return a special blessing. It can be a fierce competition at times as the blessing is considered to be bring luck throughout the year. Then local fishermen bring their boats to be blessed by the priest.

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