Now that’s faith

January 12, 2009 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

Brooklyn man takes frigid leap of faith for Greek Orthodox heritage

Paul Apostolakis braved the frigid, whitecapped Hudson River Sunday in his lifeguard trunks to retrieve a gold cross thrown in by the Rev. John Romas of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

The diving ceremony off Pier A in Battery Park was part of an annual church ritual that commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

Whoever retrieves the cross is thought to have good luck for the year.

“Like Father tells me, I do this for God, and he’s going to be there for me,” said Apostolakis, 20, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

The deep-freeze dive has been a tradition since St. Nicholas was founded in 1916.

The church, which was located on Cedar St. in lower Manhattan, was destroyed on 9/11.

Its temporary home is at Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Brooklyn.

Three men who’d planned to participate in the cross dive backed out, leaving Apostolakis as the sole swimmer.

The Rider University student is a member of the school’s diving team and has fished the cross out of the water at four previous celebrations.

“It wasn’t as cold as the other years,” he said modestly. The air temperature Sunday afternoon was 30 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com.

His mother, Pauline Apostolakis, watched proudly from the shore.

“He likes to keep tradition,” she said.
BY LORE CROGHAN

Daily News

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Entry filed under: Get Wet, Public Waterfront.

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