Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of Epiphany at La Perouse

Source: SMH

NSW to swelter for most of the week

New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia are set for scorchers this week with all three states expected to hit 40 degrees. Nine News.

Temperatures will top 40 degrees in many parts of NSW this week.

Towns beyond the Great Dividing Range are likely to experience extreme heat as early as Monday.

Residents in Sydney’s western suburbs might be tempted to head to the beach by mid-week, with the mercury in Penrith expected to hit the high 30s from Wednesday.

CaptLeap of faith: Members of the Greek community keep their cool during the Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Epiphany. Photo: Dean Sewell

Respite from the heat won’t be felt until Saturday, when there will be a cooler southerly change.

Weatherzone meteorologist Sam Brown said those on the coast will be spared record temperature highs, with sea breezes keeping temperatures down.

Temperatures for the Australian Open in Melbourne will be about 40 from Tuesday to Friday.

Sydney’s beaches were packed on Sunday. Several thousand members of Sydney’s Greek community turned out for the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of Epiphany at La Perouse.

The event is capped by the holy cross event, this year taken out by Theodore Pasialis, who was the first of 150-odd young men to retrieve a cross thrown into the water.

The Greek Orthodox community’s annual Blessing of the Waters yesterday, with the winner Illias Gore, 17, of New Lambton

Source: theherald.com.au

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

Greek Orthodox church Epiphany blessing of the waters. Illias Gore (17yrs) of New lambton retrieved the cross from the Bogey Hole. Pic: Ryan Osland

ILLIAS Gore managed to double his luck yesterday, claiming the top honour in the Greek Orthodox community’s Blessing of the Waters.

Almost a dozen unmarried men from the church took the plunge yesterday, seeking a silver cross hurled into the cliffside pool.

Held at the Bogey Hole since 1957, the ceremony marks Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan where the Holy Trinity appeared for the first time.

Participants pray for Australia’s prosperity and seek safety for those working at sea before the scramble for a silver cross, with the parishioner who retrieves it earning a year of good luck.

New Lambton’s Mr Gore, 17, found the cross quickly in the pristine Bogey Hole.

Diving for the third time, Mr Gore took the honours for the second consecutive year.

He said extra luck would be welcome in an important year ahead.

“Hopefully, it will help me with my HSC and get into what I want to do, which is chiropractic,” he said.

“It means a fair bit to me but I think it means a lot more to my [grandmother] and her family in Greece.”

Among the onlookers were Newcastle councillor Nuatali Nelmes and NSW opposition spokesperson for local government Sophie Cotsis.

Ms Cotsis, who normally attends a blessing of the waters at Yarra Bay in Sydney, said she was blown away by the Newcastle event set in cliffs similar to the Greek landscape.

“We should promote it and get more people to come,” she said.

Father Nicholas Scordilis said the weather was perfect but a mix-up with keys meant only “a fifth” of parishioners could access the pool.

“I’m not blaming anybody, we just had the wrong key,” he said.

“But the weather was beautiful, it went very well.”

Epiphany Day celebrations at Matilda Bay Reserve WA

Source: TheWestAustralian

True believers take the plunge The West Australian

As the cross arced upwards from the priest’s hand and splashed into the Swan River, the crowd of young men rushed forward.

Dozens from the Greek Orthodox Christian faith plunged into the water at Matilda Bay Reserve to retrieve the Holy Cross, as part of the annual Epiphany Day celebrations.

Jason Saldaris was jubilant to retrieve the cross – seen as a great blessing – surfacing with it in hand and kissing it before bringing it ashore.

Greek Orthodox parish priest Father Elpidios Karalis, who hosted the annual Blessing of the Waters at Matilda Bay yesterday, said Mass attendance at Church was “stable”.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he said. “You see people on feast days, at Easter, at Christmas, but not everyone comes every Sunday.”

For winning the event, in which young men and women dived into the river to retrieve the cross, Mr Saldaris got a gold chain.

“The reason we throw the cross in the river is it sanctifies the Lord and all creation,” Father Elpidios said.

He recalled attending the event as a young boy, and said it was wonderful to see so many young families there.

Jordan finds cross during Epiphany dive at North Wollongong rock pool

Source: illawarramercury.com.au

Jordan Wallace, left, was the first to retrieve the cross from North Wollongong rock pool. Pictures: ANDY ZAKELI

Jordan Wallace, left, was the first to retrieve the cross from North Wollongong rock pool. Pictures: ANDY ZAKELI

Greek Orthodox Christians celebrated the Epiphany yesterday with traditional cross-throwing ceremonies around Wollongong Harbour.

Members of the Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Wollongong gathered at the North Wollongong rock pool for a ceremony conducted by Father Savas Pizanias. The cross was retrieved by Jordan Wallace.

Meanwhile, spectators also lined the shores of Wollongong Harbour for a blessing ceremony by Wollongong’s Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, which is part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

Church of the Holy Cross priest Andrew Joannou said the blessing of the water ceremony was held each year to mark the Epiphany, the day Jesus is said to have been revealed as the son of God.

“Afterwards we throw the Holy Cross, which is the symbol of victory and immortality, into the waters to sanctify the waters and keep them safe,” he said.

Port Kembla’s George Ellenis, who is a long-time winner of the honour, lived up to his reputation yesterday and retrieved the holy cross for the ninth time.

The annual event is one of the most important days on the Greek Orthodox calendar and is celebrated worldwide.

The Blessing of the Waters is an ancient celebration that commemorates the baptism of Jesus.

Epiphany Festival: Fishing for a year of good luck

Spectators attend the festival at Yarra Bay.

Epiphany Festival

Spectators attend the festival at Yarra Bay. Photo: Dean Sewell

Theodore Pasialis’s feat in fishing a holy cross from the bottom of the ocean as part of the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Epiphany is supposed to bring him a year’s luck. So why does he feel bad?

Because it was not so much luck but arduous years of hard training that put him in front of the pack of more than 150 young men from the Greek Australian community in the 50 metre sprint from a barge in Yarra Bay at La Perouse.

The former elite swimmer and gold medallist in the men’s 1500 metres at the 2008 Oceania Swimming Championships has won the Blessing of the Waters race twice before, in 2011 and 2012. So “it may be controversial in the Greek community”, he laughs. “I feel bad going in for the holy cross event, because it is an unfair advantage”.

Several thousand members of Sydney’s Greek community turned out for the festivities with traditional Greek dancing and food – souvlaki, spanakopita and honey donuts called loukoumades – typical of a Greek glenti, or party.

Simultaneous events around the country have been celebrating the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The Blessing of the Waters ceremony commemorates “the sacredness of creation which gives us the responsibility to care for the world and care for one anther”, said Dr Philip Kariatlis, academy director at St Andrews Greek Orthodox Theological College.

The winner, Pasialis, 24, was a bit hazy on the spiritual underpinnings of the race. But he reckoned it was sheer luck that let him to find the cross. “That is the lucky bit. You need a bit of luck to see it”, he says. The prize? A small religious token – and a year’s luck.

A real blessing for the Greek community in Cairns

Source: TheCairnsPost

blessing

SAFE AND SOUND: Evan Ward, 11, emerges from the water at Kurrimine Beach grasping the cross. Picture: REGI VARGHESE Source: CairnsPost

THE Far Northern Greek community has paid homage to a centuries-old tradition, gathering at two beaches yesterday for the annual Blessing of the Waters.

Trinity Beach and Kurrimine Beach played host to the Greek Orthodox ceremony, which symbolises the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River.

While the rain put a dampener on celebrations at Trinity Beach, about 50 people turned out to see three young, single Greek men dive underwater to find a golden cross.

In the early days of Orthodox faith, only young sailors participated as a way of giving them good luck at sea.

“The weather didn’t help, but we still did what we had to do,” St John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Parish priest Father Menelaos Hatzoglou said.

“It was really enjoyable … The cross was found within 10 minutes and brought back to my hands.

“Then I blessed every diver and all the congregation as well.”

The crowd then returned to the parish hall for a traditional Greek barbecue.

Further south, the rain stayed away at Kurrimine Beach as between 100 and 150 people gathered to watch another three young men perform the same tradition.

“It was a bit windy, but it was a nice day,” Greek Orthodox Community of Innisfail and Districts president John Kotzas said.

“Everyone was happy. It’s a joyous occasion.”

Three more Greek far-right party MPs arrested

Supporters of ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn shout slogans outside a courthouse in Athens.

Supporters of ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn shout slogans outside a courthouse in Athens. Photo: AFP

Athens: Three more far-right Golden Dawn lawmakers have been detained pending trial in Greece on charges of belonging to a criminal group, as part of a crackdown on the party following the killing of an anti-fascist rapper by one of its supporters last year.

The stabbing of Pavlos Fissas in September, to which a Golden Dawn sympathiser has confessed, provoked protests across the country, a shake up of the police and a broad investigation into the party.

Party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos and dozens more senior party officials were arrested last September, riveting a country which has not witnessed a mass round-up of elected politicians since a military coup nearly five decades ago.

Golden Dawn members have been charged on evidence linking the party with a string of attacks, including Fissas’s stabbing and the killing of an immigrant last year.

The party, whose six out of 18 lawmakers including Mr Mihaloliakos have been remanded in custody until their trial, called the probe by investigating magistrates “a parody”.

“We’re talking about the biggest judicial coup in Greece’s modern political history,” the party said on its website on Sunday.

Lawmakers Yorgos Germenis, Panagiotis Iliopoulos and Stathis Boukouras denied the charges against them in marathon plea sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Golden Dawn denies any involvement in Fissas’s killing.

“Golden Dawn is a legitimate political party taking on a sincere political struggle,” Mr Iliopoulos told reporters outside the court, flanked by dozens of flag-waving supporters, some chanting the party’s slogan of “Blood! Honour! Golden Dawn!”.

“We will not buckle. Golden Dawn will be victorious – Greece will be victorious,” he said.

Party supporters who waited outside the court jeered when the verdict for two of the lawmakers was announced just before midnight on Saturday, hurling insults and water bottles at gathered journalists.

Golden Dawn, whose emblem resembles a swastika and whose members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes, rose from being a fringe party to win 18 seats in parliament in elections in 2012. It rejects the neo-Nazi label.

Despite accusations of brutality, it has drawn on anger over the debt crisis, budget cuts, high unemployment and corruption to become Greece’s third most popular political force, although it lost some support after the killing.

Reuters