On January 7, 2024, the Annual Blessing of the Seas took place in Margate, hosted and organized by the Greek Orthodox Community of the Archangel Michael. Representing His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, the V Rev. Archimandrite Nephon Tsimalis, Protosyncellus of the Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, led the Divine Liturgy at the Church of Archangel Michael, as well as the annual Blessing of the Seas ceremony that followed. Among those concelebrating were the V Rev. Archimandrite Diodoros Christodoulou, Rev. Archdeacon Dr. George Tsourous, and Rev. Deacon Piotr Prokopczyk.
This year marked the 59th anniversary of this long-standing tradition, which is a celebration of the Feast of our Lord’s Baptism and Theophany. More than 30 mayors were among the esteemed civil leaders and officials in attendance, as well as Lord Deputy Lieutenant Sir Roger Gale; the Hon. Heather Keen, Mayor of Margate; the Hon. Christos Goulas, Consul of the Hellenic Republic; the Hon. Odysseas Odysseos, Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus; and Mr Christos Karaolis, President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK.
The ceremony involved a procession of clergy, laity, civil officials, and marching bands, all walking together down to the beachfront, where the Holy Cross of our Lord was prayerfully immersed in the sea, blessing and sanctifying the waters.
Reflecting an expanding sense of community and cultural exchange, the event witnessed active participation from both the Greek community and local residents of Margate. This increasing involvement of locals, especially in the joint organization of the event with the Margate authorities, highlights the evolving nature of the Annual Blessing of the Seas. It is becoming a unifying event that bridges different cultures and communities.