AUSTRALIA: Greek Orthodox Epiphany Celebrations in Sydney 2023

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Hundreds of people from Greek Orthodox parishes in Sydney attending this year's Epiphany celebrations at Yarra Bay on Sunday, January 8, 2023.

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Yarra Bay Sydney Australia on Sunday, January 8, 2023.

According to three of the four gospels, the Great and Holy Feast of Epiphany (Theophany) celebrates the revelation of God when, during the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist at the Jordan River, the voice of God is heard from Heaven saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved- with you I am pleased.” It is also the time when the divine presence known as the Holy Trinity came into being; in addition to God and his Son, the Holy Spirit was present, too, arriving in the form of a dove.

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Yarra Bay Sydney Australia on Sunday, January 8, 2023.
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His Eminence Archbishop Makarios officiated the Blessing of the Waters Ceremony
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Swimmers waiting for Archbishop Makarios to bless the waters

This year marked Archbishop Makarios’ second year officiating the Epiphany celebrations, since becoming the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. The past two years were cancelled due to the Covid19 pandemic.

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Archbishop Makarios throwing the Holy Cross
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Dimitri Glastras from the Parish of St Spyridon
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Dimitri sharing the Blessing to fellow swimmers

Over 100 swimmers ran and swam into the water with hopes of retrieving the Holy Cross. This year, victory was claimed by a father of three, Dimitri Glastras, from the Parish of St Spyridon in Kingsford. "You are not lucky, you are blessed," the Archbishop told Dimitri Glastras once he emerged from the water.

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The Greek Consulate General of Greece in Sydney Yannis Mallikourtis in attendance.
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Archbishop Makarios bless this boy to be a future winner

His Eminence blessed all the swimmers one by one, and during this speech highlighted the meaning of diving for the Holy Cross. As he explained, this is not just a symbolic event or a tradition followed in the villages in Greece and repeated in Australia, it is an exhortation to all Christians to make meaningful changes in their lives.

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Dimitri Glastras with Eldest right John, Middle Christian and third child left Helen
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Archbishop Makarios Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
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Father Scoutas from St Spyridon Kingsford.
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The Epiphany was followed by family barbeques with Greek Dancing and entertainment.

During the service of the Sanctification of the Waters, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia was joined by His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis and His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Archimandrite Christophoros Krikelis and the Holy Clergy of the city of Sydney.

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Many officials, representatives of the consular authorities, the political authorities of Australia and the organisations and institutions of the Greek Communities. Among others, the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis, the Federal Member of Parliament, Mr. Matthew Thistlethwaite, who represented the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Anthony Albanese, the Greek Senator Mr. Peter Poulos, who represented the State Premier of New South Wales, Mr Dominic Perrottet, the Leader of the Opposition Party in the Parliament of New South Wales, Mr Chris Minns, Greek NSW State MPs, Ms. Sofia Kotsis and Mr. Steve Kamper, the Mayor of the City of Randwick, Mr. Dylan Parker, the councillor of the City of Randwick, Ms. Alexandra Luxford, the Secretary of the Archdiocesan Council and Secretary of the Consolidated Trust of the Holy Archdiocese, Mr. Nick Papas and the Secretary of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, Ms. Nia Karteris.

*Images by Nick Bourdaniotis/Bourdo Photography (Copyright)

Nick Bourdaniotis

Director of Photography

Born in Nambour, Queensland, Nick Bourdaniotis grew up in Brisbane till 2001 and then moved to Sydney. Nick's passion for photography began from a young age and his unique and artistic approach to capturing a moment in time ensures his images are always a standout. In his late 30s, his peers pushed him into being a professional photographer as he was taking amazing holiday photos from around the world and here in Sydney. In his mid-40s, Nick's photos were recognized internationally in the Greek community and used in international and local Australian-based publications. Photographing for St Spyridon College is when Nick took his first iconic global photo, the college's year 12 prefect students walking onto the opera house forecourt for the 25th March celebrations in 2015. For the next three consecutive years, Nick photographed iconic photos of the 25th March in Sydney that went viral worldwide. Mid 2016, Greek City Times employed Nick as a photographer. Over the next year, he earnt the title of Greek City Times' Director of Photography and Videography, which he still carries today. Greek City Times is a global media publication outlet. Nick also worked as the photographer for "My Greek Odyssey" TV travel show in Greece, which airs to over 50 million people worldwide. Nick was the lead photographer for the state funeral of the late Archbishop of Australia Stylianos and captured the funeral service and burial for archival and media purposes worldwide. Nick has been photographing significant events for The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia since 2015. In Sydney and Greece, Nick also captures moving moments in time for The Hellenic Incentive (THI), which in 2020 in Greece will work with the associated partners to document the homeless and various charity organizes THI partner within the incentive program. In 2019 Nick was asked to photograph an Australian fashion designer, Thessi Kouzoukas, from Sabba Shirts, which were amazing with Greece as its backdrop. Nick has been asked to photograph famous people, singers or entertainers because of his unique photography. In early 2020 Nick was a fully accredited photographer for the Australian Open tennis, in which he photographed the games of the Greek players and of heritage for publication in Greek City Times. Also, in 2022 Nick was George Kambosos Jr's official photographer at the lightweight world title fight in Melbourne, Australia. Nick's photos of The Greek Presidential Guard (Evzones) have been referred to as the best seen, and these photos have been published in books documenting the history of the Evzones. The most recent publication was the 150 years book of the Evzones released by the Presidential Guard Greece. Nick's versatility and professionalism have earned him an excellent reputation and a loyal high-profile clientele worldwide. Nick is not one to enter competitions or exhibitions as he leaves it up to his critics to judge his artistic unique way of photography. He has always said in his early 50's he will start to exhibit his work across Australia and aboard, as he has a few major exhibitions in the making. In 2021 Nick launched his photographic exhibition around Australia titled "The Evzones Collection" This photo exhibition endorsed by the Greek Presidential Guard and the Hellenic General Staff of National Defence has over 28 beautifully selected photos capturing and portraying the Evzones in a truly remarkable light. In 2023 The Evzones Collection photo exhibition will be exhibited in Athens and then around Greece. Nick's art uniquely evokes Hellenic pride with his images that are published all over the world.