6th January Every Year

This day marks the start of the religious calendar in Greece. In churches all over the country, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Epiphany each year with a beautiful morning service of psalms.

On Spetses, this is held at Ayios Nikolaos, and is followed by a procession of clergy and townsfolk to the Pigathi tou Stavrou, which translated means 'The Well of the Cross'. This is situated on the road that runs to the Church of Analypsis (Ascension). Here the water is blessed and and a white dove is released into the skies above.

The procession then walks on to the Dapia, for a short blessing on the steps, where the water-taxis are usually parked. For the swim suited, courageous group of (usually) young men this is all they will have to warm them, when they attempt to retrieve the cross from the freezing waters of the harbour.

The priest throws the cross in the water, prudently having tied a piece of rope to it, and the divers hurl themselves in with noisy bravado. The contest to be the one to hold the cross aloft is fierce, as the boy who presents it to the priest is said to be greatly blessed, have good luck and divine protection for the year ahead.

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