Sts. Constantine & Helen Epiphany and Blessing of the Waters at Hudson River (Vid)

The community of Saints Constantine and Helen Cathedral held its annual Blessing of the Waters for Epiphany/Theophany on the FDNY's Marine Unit 6 vessel. Photo: Courtesy of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral Brooklyn

NEW YORK – The Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Theophany, was celebrated at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn with the annual Blessing of the Waters which followed the Divine Liturgy. Members of the community gathered at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan for the tradition which began in 2002 led by Father John Romas following the destruction of St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Since then, the Sts. Constantine and Helen community continues to hold their Blessing of the Waters in Lower Manhattan rather than Brooklyn, until the new St. Nicholas Church is completed.

This year, the Fire Department of New York was part of the ceremony as the Marine 6 Unit was present to ensure the safety of those who dove into the Hudson River for the cross.

Father Evagoras Constantinides, the Dean of the Cathedral, with the divers and their families, held the Blessing of the Waters on the Marine 6 vessel.

After the blessing, the cross was thrown into the waters of the Hudson River and the brothers Aris and Vasili Paloumbis dove in to retrieve it. Vasili emerged with the cross and also received a special gift from Fr. Constantinides on behalf of the community.

The community also expressed special thanks to the members of Marine 6 as well as Dr. Nicholas Alexandrou, who coordinates this special ceremony each year, as well as to all its members who attended.

A view of Lower Manhattan from the FDNY Marine Unit 6 vessel following the annual Blessing of the Waters with Fr. Evagoras Constantinides, Dean of the Cathedral, and Aris and Vasili Paloumbis, the brothers who dove into the Hudson River to retrieve the cross. Photo: Courtesy of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral Brooklyn

Vasili Paloumbis, Fr. Evagoras Constantinides, and Aris Paloumbis following the retrieval of the cross from the Hudson River during the annual Blessing of the Waters. Photo: Courtesy of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral Brooklyn