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Swimmers vied January 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture, Religion & Faith.

Swimmers vied to catch a wooden cross during a traditional ceremony to bless the waters in the northern port of Thessaloniki on Saturday.

Swimmers vied to catch a wooden cross during the traditional ceremony of water blessings on Epiphany Day

Greek Orthodox priests across the country led similar ceremonies to mark the Epiphany or Theophania, a National holiday celebrated on January 6, at riverbanks, seafronts and lakes, commemorating the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist. Greek Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar as opposed to some other Orthodox Churches which follow the Julian calendar.

In Constantinopole, today’s Istanbul, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios I, threw a cross into the freezing waters of the Golden Horn and several worshippers jumped in to retrieve it. According to religious tradition, whoever retrieves the cross will enjoy good luck and health for the entire year.

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