Photos by Frank Leppard
The Greek/Cypriot community has celebrated the annual Blessing of the Seas in Margate today (January 9)
The event is the Greek Orthodox celebration at Epiphany marking the baptism of Christ. Margate was chosen for the honour in the mid-20th century because there is a large community of Greek Cypriot residents in the town.
It’s organised by the local Greek Orthodox Church, the community of the Archangel Michael, whose Archbishop leads the devotions.
Services begin at the Church of St Michael the Archangel and although this year there was not a procession or band the blessing was able to go ahead on Margate’s main sands.
Doves are released, prayers given and a decorated cross is hurled into the waters to be retrieved by a young diver for Archbishop Nikitas Loulias. This year Theo Pantelli braved the sea and retrieved the Cross.
The event was attended by Margate Mayor and Mayoress Mick and Shirley Tomlinson, and MPs Sir Roger Gale and Matthew Offord.