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Greece Celebrates Epiphany Amid Coronavirus Surge

The Epiphany celebration in the village of Limni, Evia. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece and Hellenes around the world celebrated Epiphany, one of Christianity’s most important feasts, on Thursday, while employing the appropriate protection measures against the coronavirus.

Greek Reporter was at the village of Limni in northern Evia where a procession through the village took place before the local priest threw the Holy Cross in the water. Divers plunged into the sea, aiming to be the first to catch and retrieve the cross.

President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou elected to spend Epiphany on the remote island of Gavdos, at the southernmost extreme of the European Union. In a highly symbolic move, she highlighted the need to support the outermost regions of the country as symbols of a strong Greece.

The President attended a service and ceremony to bless the waters at a chapel in Karave harbor and afterward gave a speech stressing the need to support the islanders who preserve and care for this “beautiful cradle of Hellenism.”

During her stay on the island, President Sakellaropoulou was named an honorary citizen of Gavdos as a sign of respect for the first Greek woman to hold the supreme office of the Greek state, in a special ceremony at the municipal office of the island.

In Piraeus, the Blessing of the Waters was held by Seraphim, the Metropolitan of Piraeus and Faliro. The diving for the Holy Cross was attended by the political and military leadership of the Ministry of Shipping, while men from the Association of Greek Frogmen caught the Cross.

More than 30 people dived into the waters of the northern port of Patras in an effort to catch the cross. In Thessaloniki, the Blessing of the Waters took place in the Thermaic Gulf, with the throwing of the Holy Cross.

PM Mitsotakis’ message for unity on Epiphany from the island of Agios Efstratios

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday celebrated Epiphany on the island of Agios Efstratios, attending a service officiated by Metropolitan Ierotheos of Limnos and Agios Efstratios and the ceremony for the blessing of the waters in the island’s harbor.

PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis was at the island of Agios Efstratios for Epiphany 2022. Credit: PM Press Office

“Today, on this very important day for the Orthodox faith, I wanted to be in remote Ai Stratis, a place with a grave history. A landmark of division and ordeals that is, however, converted to a landmark of unity and optimism,” the Prime Minister said in a statement after the ceremony.

He stressed the need to support Greece’s remote islands such as Ai Stratis, which had become a pioneer in green development and “has the capacity to turn into action the vision and plans of the local community, in order to become a model island as regards the cyclical economy.”

Mitsotakis emphasized that the true meaning of Epiphany was the truth, which saves, and that this was more relevant than ever at a time when Greece was experiencing a new surge of the Omicron variant and at a moment when the protection of human life takes on a special meaning.

He expressed hope that the holiday will help bring “illumination” to all, especially those that still hesitated to get the vaccine against Covid-19, urging them to make “this choice of life, the choice to protect their own lives but also the safety and health of those they care for.”

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