Pilgrims try to catch the cross after it was thrown by an Orthodox priest into the water, during an Epiphany ceremony to bless the sea, at a suburb in Piraeus port, near Athens, Greece, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. By tradition, a crucifix is cast into the waters of a lake or river, and it is believed that the person who retrieves it will be freed from evil spirits and will be healthy through the year. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
ATHENS- Greeks celebrated Epiphany Friday with blessing of the waters ceremonies across the country.
The holiday is known as Three Kings Day for Catholics and the Baptism of Christ for the Orthodox. Greece is predominantly Orthodox.
Unseasonably warm weather helped bring out the crowds for the outdoor celebrations, with swimmers competing against each other to grasp a floating cross thrown by priests into seas, rivers or lakes. Retrieving the cross is believed to confer special blessing upon the person who retrieves it.
In 2021, celebrations had been severely affected by the restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic; last year, celebrations had been canceled or scaled back in many parts of Greece as the country struggled with a huge surge in COVID-19 infections.
In the port of Piraeus, a cross is traditionally thrown three times, to accommodate the throngs of swimmers.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, the man who retrieved the cross told media that he had been trying to do so since 1996, missing only two occasions.
ATHENS - A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the electric grid networks of Greece and Egypt, known as the Greece-Africa Power Interconnector (GAP), was signed in Athens by Houston-based McDermott International and Athens-based Eunice Energy Group.
SAN FRANCISCO – The opening of Uproot, the Greek Chamber Music Project (GCMP) concert tour marking the centennial of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, takes place on Friday, February 3, 8 PM, at Old First Concert, 1751 Sacramento Street in San Francisco, and live-streamed online.
MILAN — Italy's government has increased security around its diplomatic missions around the globe in response to “a crescendo of terroristic attacks” by an anarchist network that has been acting in solidarity with an imprisoned Italian militant, the foreign minister said Tuesday.
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