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.”

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