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.”