Fire victims remembered at annual Blessing of waters ceremony

Tradition: Winner Payton Tagaroulias with a crowd of onlookers after retrieving the cross. Picture: Marina Neil
Tradition: Winner Payton Tagaroulias with a crowd of onlookers after retrieving the cross. Picture: Marina Neil

The five men dived into the Bogey Hole and swam to where it appeared the cross thrown by Father Nicholas Scordilis had splashed.

A second later Payton Tagaroulias emerged holding the gold cross the aloft.

"I actually kicked it with my foot by accident. That's the only reason I knew where it was," Mr Tagaroulias, 28, said.

The Newcastle Greek Orthodox Blessing of the Waters Ceremony is now in its 63rd year.

Tradition dictates that the person who finds the cross is bestowed with good luck for 40 days.

Blessed : Payton Tagaroulias holds the gold cross aloft after retrieving it from the Bogey Hole. Picture: Marina Neil

Blessed : Payton Tagaroulias holds the gold cross aloft after retrieving it from the Bogey Hole. Picture: Marina Neil

Father Scordilis said this year's event was dedicated to those affected by the bushfire crisis.

"We remember the victims but also the fire fighters who are working tirelessly to save lives and property," he said.