THIS year’s Blessing of the Waters went swimmingly after high winds prevented participants diving for the cross the year before.
Crowds gathered at Frankston Pier on Tuesday 6 January to watch a large group of young men scramble for the wooden cross tossed into the sea by Greek Orthodox Church Bishop Jacob Iakovos to mark Epiphany Day.
The day celebrates the baby Jesus being visited by three kings in Bethlehem and later being baptised in the River Jordan by John the Baptist.
The throwing of the cross blesses the waters.
Adam Kaoullas of Sandringham was quickest to retrieve the cross this year and hopes to benefit from the 12 months of good luck and prosperity bestowed upon the first to grab the cross, according to religious beliefs.
The 21-year-old said he had taken part in the Blessings of the Waters in Frankston twice before so “it’s third time lucky”.
The Greek Orthodox baptised Sandringham resident said he takes part in the Frankston blessing because his grandparents, Paraskevas Emetlis and Kaliopi Emetlis, attend the Greek Orthodox Church in Frankston.
“I know how much it means to them to see me dive in,” Mr Kaoullas said.
He said he was determined to be first to seize the cross this time around.
“I thought whoever wants it the most will get it.”
Mr Kaoullas has a big 2015 lined up.
The Deakin University student is heading to San Diego for six months on an exchange visit as part of his Business of Management course.
He owns a personal fitness business and will consider his future plans when he returns from the US.
The Blessing of the Waters ceremony began in Frankston and Epiphany Day rituals are now also carried out at Rye and South Melbourne piers.