YOU can’t keep a good man down – as Matthew Papadimitriou, 19, of Rowville, above, proved when he won the race for the wooden cross for the second year in a row at Wednesday’s (6 January) Blessing of the Waters off Rye pier.
According to Greek Orthodox beliefs he will receive 12 months’ good luck and prosperity as a reward.
The traditional event followed a Eucharistic blessing at the Orthodox Church in Red Hill, with a priest leading a procession along the pier for the day’s action.
A festival of music and dancing enlivened the foreshore afterwards.
The ceremony celebrates the Epiphany, or baptism of Christ, which draws hundreds of eager young men to the pier each January.
In the ceremony, a cross is thrown into the water in a ritual representing physical and spiritual cleansing.
It is also customary after Epiphany celebrations for the priest to visit parishioners’ homes to bless them with holy water.