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.