The Greek Orthodox Church blessed the waters of the River Isar in Munich on Friday, January 6, the day of Epiphany, or Theofania. This year’s celebrations took place at the central and historical bridge of the town, Ludwigsbrücke, in front of the German Museum.
The liturgy of the blessing was attended by the Bishop of Arianz, Bartholomew, Archpriest and highest clergy member of Bavaria Apostolos Malamousis, Archimandrite Petros Klietsch, Archbishop George Vletsis, Priest Michael Tauber, Archbishop Slobodan Milunovic from Serbia and Archbishop George Sumov of Bulgaria. The Byzantine Chorus of the Greek Music Society of Munich sang the Christian chants under the guidance of Mr. Konstantinos Nikolakopoulos, Professor of the Orthodox Theological School in the University of Munich.
Many representatives of the local authorities, clergy and representatives of the Greek-German communities and unions also attended the celebration.
Greek Vasilios Adimoudis and two Bavarian swimmers from the Bavarian Red Cross retrieved the Holy Cross from the icy waters of the river, while dozens of people attended the liturgy and applauded the swimmers for their effort.
The mayor of Munich, Mr. Christian Ude, referred to the financial crisis plaguing Greece and the negative comments made in Germany against the Greek people. He underlined among other points that this is not only a financial crisis but also a social one, and it affects Germany and its social cohesion as well.
Mass-circulation newspapers of Munich, Münchner Merkur and Abendzeitung, journals centered on religion, and the Bavarian Broadcasting conducted extensive reports on the Greek Orthodox ceremony of the Blessing of the Waters of the town’s river.