One of the oldest customs in the Orthodox Church’s Calendar is the tradition of Theofania, or Epiphany, which has been celebrated across Greece this year amidst terrible weather conditions, prayers and boos.
Despite the cold and the wind, several bold men jumped into the icy seawater to retrieve the cross tossed in.
In Piraeus, the blessing of the waters was conducted by Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronymos, while the ceremony was attended by the head of the ND party Antonis Samaras, Deputy Education Minister Kostas Arvanitopoulos, Deputy Minister of Shipping Adonis Georgiadis, Mayor of Athens Vasilis Michaloliakos and MPs of all Greek parties.
The blessing of the waters, however, was not as peaceful as in previous years.
Outraged people booed the politicians and the Archbishop, demanding to know what the Church is doing while the Greeks are suffering from austerity measures and taxation. With slogans, signs, and feelings of despair, former workers of the Drapetsona Fertilisers sent their own message against the current policies of the government and demanded that new factories be built.
Archbishop Ieronymos commented that he completely understands the Greek people and the tough times everyone is going through.
The Minister of Education Anna Diamantopoulou attended the Epiphany ceremony in the “Deksameni” of Kolonaki and expressed her hopes that Greece will again secure its place in the euro zone within the next 4 months.
The President of the Greek Republic Karolos Papoulias has broken the year-long tradition of Presidents attending the Epiphany celebrations of Piraeus. Papoulias visited the town of Chalkida instead, escorted by Internal Affairs Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, and was once again confronted with the booing of dozens of people.
People protested against the unpopular policies followed by the coalition government and showed their hatred towards both the President and government representatives. The politicians left without making any comments.