Everything was set for the traditional blessing the waters ceremony. Local officials had lined at the waterfront of Rhodes port and so had done the young divers in swimming suits – eager to jump into the cold sea and catch the cross. However, the moment the priest threw the cross into the water a woman fully dressed jumped as well.
60-year-old Aphroditi Vienna not only broke the Orthodox tradition that wants men to jump for the cross, she also managed to catch the cross.
“It was despair that drove the middle-aged woman into the icy waters,” local newspaper Rodiaki.gr notes. Upon swimming back to the shore, the woman said, she needed money to pay back her husband’s debts.
The husband, a cancer patient, is being hospitalized in Greek capital Athens. The woman is a cleaner at Rhodes municipality. She has five children.
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