Government and church officials from Greece gathered in the Athens port of Piraeus on Sunday (6 January) for this year's Epiphany Day ceremony.
GV ZOOM OUT FROM Naval boats in Piraeus harbour TO naval guard of honour and crowds
CU Archbishop Kalynikos carrying cross and the Holy Icon in procession to the harbour
SV Priests in procession
CU Armed forces' leaders standing at harbour
CU Archbishop preparing cross
LV PAN Archbishop throws cross into harbour and ships sound sirens
SV Archbishop pulls cross from water and throws it in again PAN TO ships sounding sirens
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Background: Government and church officials from Greece gathered in the Athens port of Piraeus on Sunday (6 January) for this year's Epiphany Day ceremony.
SYNOPSIS: The purpose of the celebrations is to bless the water and say prayers for the forty five million tons of Greek shipping and the thousands of Greek seaman.
The holy golden cross was carried to the harbour from the Saint Trinity Cathedral by Archbishop Kalynikos of Piraeus. Behind follow the Atica clergy in their golden vestments.
Piraeus has served as the main port for Athens for twenty five centuries. It's a big day for locals who come to watch and to join in with the procession. Various military leaders and government officials wee there too as Archbishop Kalynikos prepared the cross for the blessing.
The Archbishop of Piraeus performs the traditional blessing and then the surrounding ships salute with their sirens.
The cross is thrown into the water three time. Sailors, merchant mariners and fishermen alike will put to sea again comforted by the knowledge that the waters they make their living from have the church's blessing for another year.