On Sunday, 10th January, the annual Feast of the Epiphany/Theophany was held in Margate at the Greek Orthodox church of St Michael the Archangel in Westbrook. Now in its 51st year, the ceremony takes place to commemorate the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. A service at the church is followed by the Blessing of the Waters on Margate’s seafront
The Blessing of the Waters takes place in Greek Orthodox communities throughout the world. Margate was the first Greek Cypriot community to re-enact this traditional ritual here in the UK and it has now been established as the focal point for this special festival.The spectacular day began with a service conducted by the Greek Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain assisted by Margate’s resident priest, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Vissarion Kokliotis.
They were accompanied by the Mayor of Margate and other civic dignitaries from around Kent attired in their full ceremonial robes and chains of office. Political dignitaries Roger Gale MP, and Craig Mackinlay MP were also in attendance.
Religious leaders then posed at the beach for the press and anyone else who wished to mark this special day with a photo or two. Worshippers and dignitaries rounded off the religious event with an appetizing lunch at Margate’s Winter Gardens. After lunch speeches followed by the Mayor of Margate Mr. R. Edwards, Mr. M. Papadopoullos, president of the Greek community, Fr Vissarion, the Very Reverant Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, the Consul of Greece Mr S. Demestichas, the Cyprus High Commissioner Mr Evripides Evriviades, Sir Roger Gale and lastly Archbishop Gregorios. Archbishop Gregorios asked to see Adam again and he handed the brave boy the cross that he retrieved from the sea.