Theophany in Amorgos Greece, January 6th, 2007
Catching the Cross - Only 3 dive - too much cold
Greek Θεοφάνεια! (Theophaneia)
Spring Bayou, Tarpon Springs
Florida January 6th, 2008
Catching the Cross - Too many dive - Excellent weather
GREEK AMERICANSDuring the 1890s Greeks began settling in major urban areas, including the industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest. The first immigrants settled in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. The city of Lowell, Massachusetts, attracted the majority of Greeks, and by 1920 it had the third largest Greek community in the United States. Greeks also settled in the New England towns of Haverhill, Lynn, Boston, Peabody, and Manchester. The largest Greek settlement in the twentieth century was in New York. Greeks also settled in western Pennsylvania, particularly Pittsburgh, and in the Midwestern cities of Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Chicago.
Small Greek communities existed in Galveston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, but the largest concentration of Greeks in the South was at Tarpon Springs, Florida. In the first half of the twentieth century, this unique settlement of Greeks made its living by sponge diving.
Attracted to mining and railroad work, large numbers of Greeks settled in Salt Lake City, with smaller numbers inhabiting Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada. The heaviest early concentration on the Pacific Coast was in San Francisco. Today, Greeks live primarily in urban areas and are increasingly moving to the South and West. The 1990 Census reveals that New York State still has the largest population of Greeks, with the highest concentration in the Astoria section of the borough of Queens. The next largest populations are in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Florida.
Few negative Greek stereotypes persist. Greeks share the American work ethic and desire for success and are largely perceived as hardworking and family-oriented. They are also said to possess a "Zorba"-like spirit and love of life. However, many Greek Americans perceive the recent Greek immigrants as "foreign" and often as a source of embarrassment.
New Jersey by night
TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, AND BELIEFS
Greeks have an assortment of traditional customs, beliefs, and superstitions to ensure success and ward off evil and misfortune. Old beliefs persist in some communities in the United States. For example, belief in the "evil eye" is still strong and is supported by the Greek Orthodox church as a generalized concept of evil. Precautions against the evil eye (not endorsed by the church) include wearing garlic; making the sign of the cross behind the ear of a child with dirt or soot; placing an image of an eye over the lintel; wearing the mati, a blue amulet with an eye in the center; and recitation of a ritual prayer, the ksematiasma. Greeks may also respond to a compliment with the expression ptou, ptou, to keep the evil eye from harming the person receiving the compliment. Greeks also "knock wood" to guard against misfortune, and reading one's fortunes in the patterns of coffee dregs remains popular.
Epiphany is one of the greatest feasts of Christianity and humanity. In the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the human nature is sanctified and is washed away from the original sin inherited by the first human Adam.
The Church on the day of Epiphany chants "You came, oh Lord, towards the wilderness and you took the shape of a servant" in order to express Her adoration, Her wonder for the extreme humility of the Son of God who became man and dwelled among us.
We as servants of God we go toward God, but He as God went toward man. "Towards the voice that cry in the wilderness".
Christ is not advancing towards the wilderness because He heard the voice. He does not go to the wilderness because He needs repentance, the One who is sinless. He goes into the wilderness towards the voice in order to set up Himself as an example of repentance to us and also give us the great lesson of the extreme humility.
The presence of John the Forerunner in the wilderness of Jordan and His preaching of repentance to the people of Judea of his time are parts of the Salvation Plan that God has created for all humanity. Christ does not ignore that plan; He came to fulfill that plan. He counts on John who preached about His arrival to the Jewish people. The preaching of John the Forerunner and His baptism presage the mission of the Church. The presence of Jesus Christ in Jordan seals the importance and the necessity of this salutatory mission.
In our days, unfortunately there are people that they doubt the necessity of the presence of the Church, for the salvation of mankind. There are people who believe that their relation with God is direct, is a personal relation that does not need any interference or guidance of a third party, for example the Church and her teachings. These people who are claiming such theories are wondering in their egotistical world of self-sufficiency. They decline the mission of the Church, which is established by Our Lord, Himself, they decline the Word of God, which is preached and interpreted in the Church, they also decline the means of sanctification of the sacraments. Today's walk of Christ towards the wilderness of Jordan and towards John gives, an undoubtedly, a right answer to these people thoughts and believes that they are very wrong.
Christ comes, today "towards the voice that cry in the wilderness" in order to invite us also to the Church. The Holy Church with Her voice, Her word, Her preaching is "the voice that cry in the wilderness", in the wilderness of the modern man. People who are living very far from the will of God create this wilderness. This wilderness that makes the human beings with the absolute love for money, obsession to material goods and fleshly desires of this world. A wilderness that seriously affects and destroys the real human nature of goodness of all human beings. The Holy Church is that voice in this wilderness for all who have hearing problems because they live in this modern world and they do not want to hear that voice which will bring them happiness and salvation. This deafness created out of lack of love and out of lack of communication with each other.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God invites us all towards this voice, the voice of the Holy Church that He founded with His Holy Blood. Why is deemed necessary to follow this voice, that comes from the wilderness? It is needed, because there in that voice we are going to free ourselves from all temptations of this world. There we will be set free from the unhappiness that surrounds us and the harshness of the dessert we live in. We can wash our soul in the waters of the Jordan and clean it from the spots of our personal sins. We can take care of our soul and so love, good virtues and peace will blossom in us.
Let us all follow Christ. Let us accept in our lives and in our souls the Blessings of Jordan through our dedication to the teachings of our Church and through the sprinkling of the Holy Water that the priest is going to bring it to our homes. Let us receive our own " cleansing energy and operation of the Holy Trinity" which will company us and protect us from every evil during our presence in life.
Nikos Deja Vu