Adelaide’s Hellenes gathered at the Henley Beach Foreshore yesterday, January 7, to share in the 2024 Henley Beach Greek Festival and Blessing of the Waters by the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA).

Greeks worldwide gathered to celebrate Epiphany over the weekend – the baptism of Christ according to scripture. The Epiphany, or Theophany, is one of the most significant spiritual and cultural events for Orthodox Hellenes.

Adelaide’s volunteer-driven event began once clergy, parishioners, and guests crowded the jetty to participate in the ‘blessing of the waters’. Per custom, a crucifix was tossed into the sea, and over 20 divers plunged into the brine to furiously compete over who would get the cross first.

This year’s winner, the 29-year-old George Langanis, said he felt “great” winning.”I feel very lucky to have a year of blessings.”

Langanis was gifted a gold cross from GOCSA and a robe donated by the Greek Women’s Society of South Australia’ O Taxiarchis’ for the occasion.


President of GOCSA, Peter Gardiakos awarding George Langanis a a gold cross for his feat. Photo: GOCSA

After the dive, the president of GOCSA, Peter Gardiakos, thanked the many dignitaries at the event. Emily Bourke represented the premier, Peter Malinauskas and the minister for multicultural affairs, Zoe Bettison; the opposition leader, David Speirswas, was also in attendance, as was the mayor of the City of Charles Sturt, Angela Evans.

“The Epiphany sends a message of happiness, harmony, peace, and love for all of us for the coming year,” said Gardiakos and thanked the Community’s volunteers and sponsors.

Bourke congratulated GOCSA “for bringing your community together to celebrate faith, culture and religion.”

“When you do this, we see how strong our community is and looking around, we can see that the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia is very strong.”

Dance performances from the Pontian Brotherhood of SA, the Slava Ukrainian Cultural Centre, and the GOCSA Dance Academy followed the speeches. Live music and much food, such as traditional loukoumades, fuelled a panegyric revelry till late at night.

GOCSA Dance Academy: Photo/GOCSA

26-year-old Sophia said the Community “have done a fantastic job this year putting together the festival and ensuring there was something for everyone, including face painters for the kids and market stalls for the big kids.”


Dancers from Pontian Brotherhood of SA. Photo: GOCSA

The 75-year-old volunteer, Eleni, said she was “happy to have young helpers with us this year.”

“It’s important our young generation get involved and learn from us. We have been doing this for so many years; sometimes we get tired, but we keep going because we love this festival and our Community.”


People partaking in the array of food and delicacies on offer. Photo: GOCSA