Greek Australians celebrated Epiphany with the traditional Greek Orthodox Blessing of the Waters ceremonies in Australia’s major cities on Sunday.
Hundreds of swimmers dived into the sea, racing to retrieve the Holy Cross.
This was the first year that the crowds could return to the beach for open Blessing of the Waters ceremonies after two years of COVID-related restrictions.
Although in some places the Blessing of the Waters took place on Epiphany Day, January 6, in major cities the celebration was moved to the first Sunday after the actual feast day.
Epiphany celebrations across Australia
Archbishop Makarios blessed the waters in Sydney, with hundreds of people from Greek Orthodox parishes attending the celebrations at Yarra Bay.
In Melbourne, hundreds of Greek-Australians gathered for the ‘Blessing of the Waters’ at the historic Princess Pier – the very dock in Port Melbourne where thousands of Greek migrants arrived last century, in search of a better life.
Hundreds of Greek-Australians gathered for the ‘Blessing of the Waters’ at Princess Pier. The hotly contested race for the Holy Cross had been put on hold during the pandemic. https://t.co/5zYfOfGqUb #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/MoRQnJKMKI
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) January 8, 2023
Meanwhile, in Adelaide, Epiphany celebrations participants were joined by South Australia premier Peter Malinauskas, who also had a chance to sample “some of the best Greek food, music and culture” at the annual Glenelg Greek Festival which is taking place this weekend.
“A spectacular summer day to be with the South Australia Greek community to celebrate the Blessing of the Waters. Here at Glenelg and locations throughout the state there are ceremonies to mark this special occasion,” Malinauskas posted on Twitter.
Opposition leaders, such as David Speirs in Adelaide and John Pesutto in Melbourne, also attended the celebrations.
Theofania 2023 – an important celebration for our Greek Orthodox community with today’s Blessing of the Waters at the very dock in Port Melbourne that has welcomed so many Greek migrants to our shores (and my parents as well from Italy). Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλή Φώτιση! JP pic.twitter.com/E0iI1o35yy
— John Pesutto (@JohnPesutto) January 8, 2023