Government and church officials from Greece gathered in the Greek port of Piraeus on Thursday (6 January) for this year's Epiphany Day ceremony.
GV & CU Religious procession passing through Pyreaus with clergymen carrying holy cross (4 shots)
LV Ships in harbour (2 shots)
GV & CU Guard of honour as President Tsatsos (wearing civilian clothes) arrives (2 shots)
GV Archbishop Chrissostomos blesses the water by throwing cross into harbour and ships blow hooters (3 shots)
SV Archbishop Chrissostomos retrieves cross with line
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Background: Government and church officials from Greece gathered in the Greek port of Piraeus on Thursday (6 January) for this year's Epiphany Day ceremony.
SYNOPSIS: The purpose of the celebration is to bless the water and say prayers for the safety of sailors. The high pint of the day is the throwing into the water of the Holy gold cross. The cross was carried to a special stand at the harbour from the Saint Trinity Church. Ceremonies similar to this one are held in ports all around the Greek coast marking the Holy Day of Epiphany in the Christian calendar.
Piraeus has served as the main port for Athens for 25 centuries. It's a big day for locals who come to watch and to join in the procession. The Greek President, Constantine Tsatsos, was there too, with members of his cabinet, and military and state officials.
The Archbishop of Piraeus, Monsignor Chrissostomos, performed the traditional blessing, and the cross has to be thrown into the water three times.
Sailors, merchant mariners and fisherman alike will put to sea again comforted by the knowledge that the waters they make their living from have the church's blessing for yet another year.