Photos Steven Collis
The annual Blessing of the Seas ceremony took place in Margate today (January 8).
The event is a 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.
A dove was released, prayers given and a decorated cross hurled into the waters and retrieved by a young diver.
The procession started at Westbrook Cottages and made its way to Margate Main Sands for the service.
The Mayor of Margate, Cllr Heather Keen, was joined by Frank Martin Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, 22 mayors and chairmen from across Kent and further afield, Margate’s two Burgesses Iris Johnston and Cllr Mick Tomlinson, and other civic guests as well as 22 from the Cinque Port Liberty of Brightlingsea.
The Right Reverend Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkins, Sir Roger Gale MP and Craig Mackinlay MP also joined the procession.
The Greek guests included His Grace Bishop Athanasios, the Greek Ambassador to the Court of St James’ and the General Consul of the Republic of Cyprus as well as other dignitaries.
The service on the beach was conducted by Bishop Athanasios.