Home Church & Religion Blessing of the Long Island Sound Waters by Transfiguration Church in Mattituck

Blessing of the Long Island Sound Waters by Transfiguration Church in Mattituck

Father Andrew performing the Blessing of Water ceremony. Photos by Catherine Tsounis.

MATTITUCK -By Catherine Tsounis

The Long Island Sound with its unique rocky beaches reminds many of Greece. A person remembers seeing the coast of his/her Greek island. The Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church in Mattituck was built by immigrants and first generation born Greek Americans who felt the closeness to nature and their heritage.

On Sunday, September 18, 2022, the Blessing of the Waters, and diving for the Cross took place after the church service.  Rev. Economos Father Andrew D. Cadieux led the parish to Breakwater Beach to witness this unique Orthodox tradition. Children ages 6 to 18 were invited to dive for the Cross. Adults participated in a ceremony for their category. All participants received an icon of St. Michael.

Participants in Cross diving.

The divers included the following persons: children diving, Nicholas Cadieux, Elizabeth Cadieux, Andrew Vezeris and Esteban; Adults diving, Anna Flossos and Vivian Kalogeras. The Children’s diving Cross champion is Nicholas Cadieux. The Adults diving Cross champion is Anna Flossos.

“This is the first Blessing of the Waters in many years,” said Father Andrew. “This is my first ceremony in my ministry at the Transfiguration Church. This brings the community together as an ecclesiastical. If we are family, we have a vested interest in each other’s lives”.

We all have memories of previous Blessing of the Waters. “Fifty years ago, I dived in the frigid waters of the Sound in January”, said former parish council president Michael Kavourias. “I got the cross”. I was there.  Michael was a young boy. He dived into the deep Mattituck inlet with determination and vigorous strokes. It was freezing temperatures. He told me “I did this for my Mother and Father”. Family loyalty!

Breakwater Beach, Mattituck, NY

The Blessing of the waters began in January 1974. The Transfiguration Church was the only Greek Orthodox site on the East End of Long Island. Rev Timotheos Tenedios, was the first priest. Retrieving the cross were Teddy Panagopoulos and Steve Tsontakis. Through the years it continued with different priests until it was discontinued. Special appreciation to Rev. Economos Andrew D. Cadieux and Emily Zannikos-Kavourias for information