Greeks celebrate Orthodox Epiphany
(6 Jan 2020) Greeks gathered at locations by the sea on Monday to celebrate the traditional Orthodox ceremony of Epiphany.
During the Epiphany ceremony believers try to retrieve crucifixes tossed into the water by priests to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ.
By tradition, the person who retrieves the wooden cross will be freed from evil spirits and will be healthy throughout the year.
After the cross is fished out, the priest sprinkles believers with water using a bunch of basil.
The religious holiday of Epiphany is also celebrated in some Western Christian churches as Three Kings Day, which marks the visit of the Magi, or three wise men, to the baby Jesus, and closes out the Christmas season.
Epiphany marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas, but not all Orthodox Christian churches celebrate it on the same day.
While the Orthodox Christian churches in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania celebrate the feast on January 6, Orthodox Churches in Russia, Ukraine and Serbia follow the Julian calendar, according to which Epiphany is celebrated on January 19, as their Christmas falls on January 7.
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