Greek Metropolitan Ieronymos of Kalavryta and Aigialeia was fined €1,500 on Wednesday for conducting the Blessing of the Waters service in Aigio, located on the northern coast of the Peloponnese.
According to flamis.gr, the two swimmers who dived into the harbour to retrieve the Holy Cross, were also fined €300 each for breaking the coronavirus lockdown measures.
The Greek government, under pressure, relented and allowed limited attendance at churches celebrating the feast of the Epiphany, reversing a ban on attendance designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church agreed that the water blessing ceremonies traditionally carried out outdoors would this year be carried out indoors at churches.
In addition, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece did not make use of the Holy Synod’s special permission to go to any coastal area, underlining that he wants to set a “good example.”
The Church of Greece’s statement stressed that “having a high sense of responsibility towards both God and people — since the start of the pandemic — it remains aligned with state institutions in the fight for the protection of public health, sets a positive example for the observance of health safety restrictions, and stands by the state’s efforts to reduce the pandemic’s impact on people’s lives.”
On January 6 the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Epiphany, commemorating the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity.
At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—were made manifest. Thus, the name of the Feast is Epiphany, meaning manifestation, or Theophany, meaning manifestation of God.