Epiphany in Turkey

The orthodox believers brave Intanbul’s freezing water for Epiphany.

The Orthodox Christian community across the world marked Epiphany, the baptism of Jesus Christ, in traditional ceremonies on 6th January where the faithful jump into rivers and seas to retrieve wooden crosses thrown by priests and patriarchs.
In Turkey and Cyprus, the festivities saw believers braving the cold and overcoming the odds to mark the event for the first time in decades.
Istanbul, where a sizeable Christian community lives, was at the heart of celebrations in Turkey. Amid low temperatures in the city, which was exposed to heavy snowfall just a few days ago, people jumped into the freezing waters of the Bosporus with only swimsuits to grab crosses off of both banks of the waterway dividing Istanbul.

After the morning services at the churches, the congregation headed to the seaside in a procession with a recitation of prayers. Eagerly awaiting bishops hurling crosses into the sea, swimmers leaped into the water from boats anchored off the coast.

Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, whose patriarchate has the authority in a majority of Orthodox churches in Turkey and several other countries, joined the Epiphany service at the patriarchate in the city’s Balat district. Nikos Solis, a 28-year-old Orthodox Christian from Greece, managed to grab the cross thrown by the elderly patriarch. The patriarch gifted a necklace with a golden cross to Solis.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s