Bishop condemns actions of men at Melbourne Epiphany Festival

·

Melbourne’s Greek Orthodox bishop has condemned the actions of three men who broke the rules to grab the coveted wooden cross during the Blessing of the Waters swim.

Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis said he was very upset, and the act was disrespectful and uncivilised.

The annual swim, the high point of the Theofania, or Epiphany Festival at Princes Pier, in Port Melbourne, turned into a Greek drama on Sunday after the trio dived off the pier to chase the cross the bishop had thrown into the bay.

The 25 registered swimmers, who had dived from a boat 100 metres away, paused in confusion as first interloper Mikes Legkos, 33, of Oakleigh, reached the cross before them and held it triumphantly.

‘I caught the cross first’: Mikes Legkos (left) grabbed the cross before the official pack at the Greek Orthodox Blessing of the Waters swim at Princes Pier. Image via Wayne Taylor.

But the leading registered swimmer, Eustratios Manios, 20, was named the winner and later accepted a gold cross necklace from the bishop in front of the crowd of thousands.

After a religious ceremony and speeches, Bishop Ezekiel told The Age the interlopers were wrong.

‘‘There are always people who are without order, and respect,’’ he said. ‘‘We can’t do anything. But [I’d say] next time, to be careful and to obey the order, for it is very important, and makes us distinguished from the animals.

‘‘If we don’t obey the rules and regulations, which we established, and we have, what can we say?’’

‘‘I was very upset because I’ve seen the [other swimmers] trying to swim the distance between the boat and here. And suddenly [Mr Legkos] came from the side.

“That was a fault. I understand, all the people understood, that something that was not right happened. So we leave this for next time.’’

But Mr Legkos, an immigrant from the Greek island of Kos, said he was a legitimate winner. He dived from the pier because he didn’t make it into the official group, which is limited to 25 on a first come, first served basis.

‘‘I feel blessed but a little bit sad, because I caught the cross first,’’ Mr Legkos said.

‘‘And some people said to me to throw it again back, and that’s wrong, because in Greece the person that catches the cross first, he is blessed first.’’

He said an official had allowed him to jump off the pier, and he swam a longer distance than those from the boat.

Eustratios Manios was named the official winner. Image via Wayne Taylor.

The official winner, Mr Manios, was sympathetic, saying if he had been excluded from the 25 entrants, ‘‘I would want to also jump in’’.

He said the organisers should let all prospective entrants on to the boat, or start from the jetty ‘‘so everyone can have a chance to swim’’. However, it was ‘‘a great blessing for the whole year and an honour’’ to win, Mr Manios said.

Another registered swimmer, Nick Zafiropoulos, 49, of Windsor, said it wasn’t about winning. ‘‘The issue is coming here, having an effort making a dive, feeling good about yourself,’’ he said. ‘‘Turn the other cheek. That’s what Jesus would have wanted.’’

Sourced via The Age

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Greek community raises $85,000 for St Elesa Food Initiative in Kogarah

More than $85,000 was raised for the St Elesa Food Initiative during a Fundraising Dinner which took place on Friday, May 10.

The HACCI National Federation introduces The Ellinikon to Australia

The HACCI National Federation hosted a series of events in Australia, presenting The Ellinikon, Europe's largest urban renewal project.

Ambassador of Greece meets with Greek Australian Parliamentary Friends group

The Ambassador of Greece in Australia, Stavros Venizelos, today met with Members of the Greek Australian Parliamentary Friendship group.

Heliades Women’s Network gather in Melbourne for double celebration

The Hellenic Women’s Network ‘Heliades’ gathered at YASSAS The Greek Way at Southbank, Victoria on Sunday, May 26.

Greek Democritus League’s celebration of workers in Melbourne

The Greek Democritus League held its annual May Day dance on May 18 at White Rose Receptions in Thornbury.

You May Also Like

Cypriot Australian singer Silia Kapsis releases teaser Eurovision song for Cyprus

The teaser from the video of the Cypriot-Australian singer representing Cyprus at Eurovision this year has officially been released.

Alex Epakis signs on for another season at Perth Glory FC

Perth Glory has confirmed that the club’s Liberty A-League Head Coach, Alex Epakis, has signed a one-year contract extension.

Woman faces court for alleged killing of NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos

In court, Jessica Beauvais' lawyer entered a not guilty plea. If convicted, she faces 15 years in a state prison.