Holy Cross retrieved from Matilda Bay in Greek Orthodox Epiphany Day celebrations

The Greek Orthodox community celebrates Epiphany Day at Matilda Bay.
The Greek Orthodox community celebrates Epiphany Day at Matilda Bay.

MATILDA Bay is a long way from Constantinople but the age-old Epiphany Day celebrations were right at home.

More than 600 people attended the Greek Orthodox event, said to celebrate the anniversary of the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.

Eleven boys took part in the swim to retrieve the Holy Cross from the river. This year Kyriakos Bird, the son of Despine (nee) Lekias and Nicholas Bird, emerged with the cross.

The ceremony occurred on Sunday at 12.30pm.

Greek Orthodox priests including Father Karalis from the Church of Saints Constantine and Helene in Northbridge led the service, which included the Blessing of the Waters.

“This event commemorates the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan,” said Father Karalis. “By Christ being baptised into the river Jordan he sanctified all of creation… In a similar way, the waters of the Swan River are blessed at Matilda Bay by throwing the Holy Cross into the waters. It sanctifies not only the waters but all of creation.”

Father Karalis said it is considered “a great blessing for the one that retrieves the Cross first”.

Epiphany Day has been celebrated by local Greek Orthodox Christians by blessing the waters of the Swan River for many years and it has become a highlight of the Greek Orthodox Calendar and part of holiday festivities for the local community.

Organisers Evelyn Palassis and Katerina Dimitriou and 90 volunteers helped make the event a success.