Asbury Park, NJ – The 2016 Holy Cross Celebration of the Holy Metropolis of new Jersey took place on Sunday afternoon. The day began with the Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Cross, at the Paramount Theatre on the boardwalk of Asbury Park. Greek Orthodox faithful attended the services from the Philadelphia and North Jersey metropolitan areas.

Following services, parishioners gathered for a ceremonial wreath laying at the statue of Patriarch Athenagoras outside the theater. Priests and altar boys from participating churches led a procession of Orthodox faithful to the beach that had filled with families and guests.

Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey led a short prayer before approaching the Atlantic Ocean carrying a white wooden cross. Families looked on as four groups of young parishioners stood by waiting to be signaled dive into the waters of the ocean.

With a waving toss, four groups of teenage boys and girls entered the waters in hopes of recovering the white cross. Each winner, having recovered the cross returned it his Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, who greeted them with a hug and a gold cross for their achievement.

Minutes later, group shots of the all the participants were taken. They were followed by family members recording the moment with their kids. The day concluded with a barbecue on the lawn across the street from the Paramount theater.