Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beware of Irish Bearing Gifts

What did you do today Pat?
Well I went down to South Street Seaport and played bagpipes on the pier in the cold while a Greek Orthodox priest threw a cross into the East River and shirtless men dived in to retrieve it. You?

 Greek and Irish bearded sages meet.

Winner holding cross and wearing shirt.

This is an annual event for the band and the first time I got to do it. I have no idea why bagpipes is part of this tradition, but the Greek contingent is so nice and we all love to do it. Last year it snowed and there were ice floes. This year was downright balmy by comparison.

Here is the write up from the church's press release that explains all:

THEOPHANIA (Epiphany) at South Street Seaport

The Holy Metropolis is pleased to announce that for the ninth time since 2001 the blessing of the waters for Theophania (Epiphany) 2010 will again occur at the South Street Seaport, in New York City.

On Tuesday, January 19, 2010, following Divine Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Markella, His Eminence PAVLOS, the Metropolitan of America, will lead the clergy and faithful to the seaport where he will conduct a service to bless the waters of the great city. He will complete the blessing by casting a Cross into the icy waters. This symbolizes the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan at the hands of St. John the Baptist. Dozens of young men will dive into the harbor hoping to reach the Cross first and return it to Metropolitan PAVLOS.

This ancient, Holy Christian ritual, dating from the time of the Emperors in Constantinople, will be witnessed by the people of New York through the cooperation of the local authorities, and NYPD, FDNY, US Coast Guard harbor launches and scuba divers.

Bagpipes, shirless divers, Greeks. It is all here baby!

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