Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos travelled to the island of Syros on Sunday to attend celebrations for the Epiphany Day.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II headed the celebrations to mark the day first with a liturgy at the Syros Metropolitan Church and then at the island’s port, where according to the custom the Archbishop threw a crucifix in the water, which was then retrieved by local youths.
During his address following the celebrations, Pavlopoulos indirectly responded to recent statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. He wished that the light of the Epiphany may shine on all Greeks and help them build, in unity, the future that is destined to them, while defending in full their national issues and rights, with respect to democratic values, the fundamental rights of man, and most importantly social justice.
Pavlopoulos also referred to the European Union and to the process of European integration, saying the latter’s aim should be to support human progress and that the EU’s international role should be to act as a guarantor for the observation of international law and to ensure that the fundamental values of humanitarianism, solidarity, peace, democracy and justice are respected.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attended Epiphany Day celebrations on Sunday at the church of Panagia Kamariotissa on the island of Samothraki.
After the liturgy, Tsipras, who was accompanied by Alternate Defence Minister Panos Rigas and Alternate Shipping Minister Nektarios Santorinios, went to the port of Kamariotissa, where according to the Greek custom five swimmers dipped in the frozen waters to retrieve a wooden crucifix thrown into the water.
Following the end of the celebrations, the prime minister was made an honorary citizen of the island of Samothraki.
“2019 is a landmark year for Greece. The starting point of the great recovery. A country that for almost a decade has experienced the incomprehensible consequences of an unprecedented crisis,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.
The Greek PM uttered a Bertolt Brecht quote responding to the provocative statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Smyrna, who had made reference to a poet that called on the Turks to throw the Greeks into the Aegean Sea Mr Tsipras said: “I, here, on the other side of the Aegean Sea, addressing mainly the thinkers on both sides, will not remember warlike verses, but the lyrics of a poet who praised peace, Bertolt Brecht: ‘General, man is very useful. He can fly and he can kill. But he has one defect: He can think.’”
New Democracy (ND) President Kyriakos Mitsotakis attended the Divine Liturgy for the Epiphany celebrations and the Sanctifications of the waters in Rafina. Mr Mitsotakis said the celebrations marked a beautiful day for Orthodox Christianity, a day full of symbolism.
Following the Divine Liturgy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the municipality of Rafina’s welfare home, which distributes food and essentials to the fire victims on a daily basis.