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About 20 boys and men plunged into the Swan River to retrieve a coveted wooden cross for the Greek Orthodox blessing of the waters ceremony yesterday.

The event was for the feast of the Epiphany, one of the biggest celebrations on the Orthodox calendar.

The cross - thrown into Matilda Bay by Father Elpidios Karalis of the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Northbridge - commemorates the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan.

Men and boys aged 14 and over clamoured to recover the cross for good luck.

The finder of the holy object was 28-year-old Ilias Avgoulis, who moved to Perth from Melbourne on Saturday.

He received a gold cross and chain as well as a blessing.

The ceremony, which attracted about 1000 people, was preceded by a 30-minute church service and followed by festivities at Matilda Bay Reserve.

"It brings the families and all the communities together," Father Elpidios said.

"These annual celebrations, whether it's Christmas or Anzac Day, are important so we can be constantly reminded, especially the younger generations, of the importance of these major feast days."