The Sunday after Epiphany, the 8 of January 2023, commenced with the Matins and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Church of Saint Nektarios and was officiated by Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea.
Following the service, the annual retrieval of the Holy Cross took place at Matilda Bay Reserve in Crawley opposite the University of WA. This location is ideal for the annual Epiphany Celebrations as it has iconic views overlooking the Perth Swan River.
Approximately 500 people attended this year’s retrieval of the Holy Cross including the Greek Consul in Perth, Georgia Karasiotou, Senator Dean Smith, the President of the Hellenic Community of WA, Paul Afkos, and the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of WA, John Karakatsanakis. All four dignitaries gave a brief two-minute greeting to everyone present.
It was so rewarding to see approximately 60 volunteers from all the parishes of the Archdiocesan District of Perth come forward to assist in making this year’s event a huge success. Some assisted in setting up and packaging away while others assisted with cooking and managing the various stalls.
Teenager Harrison (Haralambos) Webster retrieved the Holy Cross after diving in the Swan River where he competed with another 20 young people. Harrison was presented with a gold cross donated by the Gogos family.
Bishop Elpidios concluded the official part of the event by conveying to all the paternal love and blessing of Archbishop Makarios of Australia as well as thanking all volunteers and the organizing committee. A special thanks went out to Fr Terry Gerovasilis and Evelyn Palassis who, under the direction of Bishop Elpidios, worked tirelessly in ensuring everything was ready for the day.
Finally, Bishop Elpidios directing his attention to the 20 swimmers said, “One person can only retrieve the Holy Cross from the waters, but I want you to know that each person who will be swimming for the Cross this year will receive a special blessing from the Lord”.