© Photo credits: GOARCH / Brittainy Newman (above); Dimitrios S. Panagos (below)
NJ metropolis hosts “Cross Dive” tradition on Sunday after Exaltation of the Cross
Instituted in Asbury Park in 1947 by the late Archbishop (and later Ecumenical Patriarch) Athenagoras, the 75-year-old tradition of blessing the waters and Κατάδυσις of the cross, also known as “Cross Dive”, has resumed on Sunday, September 18, 2022. Congregants from across metropolitan New Jersey joined His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, Chancellor V. Rev. Archimandrite Christoforos Oikonomidis and Metropolitan Clergy for the Divine Liturgy in the Grand Auditorium at Ocean Grove before heading down to the beach.
“Here by the sea, by the power of the Holy, Precious and life-giving Cross, we have the possibility of sweetening much more than salt water. We can sweeten the very substance of our lives. The Cross renews our souls and heals our inner wounds. The Cross uplifts our weary souls and gives us strength. The Cross allows us to forgive ourselves and others. The Cross allows us to forgive ourselves and others. For while the Lord was nailed there, His first words were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Therefore, let us all bow deeply with reverent devotion, while glorifying Christ and venerating His Invincible Weapon of Peace – the Holy Cross. And remember: God is here; God is everywhere; God is always,” the Archbishop said in his homily. (full homily)
After the crosses were thrown into the water, GOYans from each of the four divisions ran to find them. Arianna Boutsikaris (young girl) of St. Barbara’s Church in Toms River; Christina Skoulariotis (Senior Girl) of Saint Athanasios Church in Paramus; Kosta Hantoulis (Junior Boy) and Chris Vlahos (Senior Boy), both of Saint George in Piscataway, picked up the crosses.