BLOOD was spilled, water was splashed and glory was won on Sunday at the Bogey Hole.
Newcastle’s Greek community marked the religious feast of Epiphany with the centuries-old tradition of the Blessing of the Waters.
More than 200 people from the Newcastle’s Greek Orthodox Church looked on as young unmarried men from their community jumped into the watering hole and raced to be the first the grab a holy cross thrown down to the sea floor.
The traditional race, which is also open to women, has been performed at the Bogey Hole since 1957.
During the service the community prays for the safety of people working at sea and the prosperity of Australia.
Sixteen-year-old Ilias Gore, was the first to find the blessed prize this year.
The New Lambton Heights resident even spilled some blood to achieve the feat, cutting his foot during the friendly race.
‘‘I went down and grabbed something and it was seaweed,’’ he said.
‘‘But then I got it.’’
Father Nicholas Scordilis said the feast marked the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan and the only in time history when the trinity - God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit - were present at once.
‘‘It’s a happy opportunity to wish everyone health and prosperity,’’ he said.
‘‘It gives me great joy to wish that to all the wonderful people of Newcastle.’’