- Posted January 7, 2014 by
Tradition of Eastern Churches
Followers of the Orthodox faith swam in İstanbul's iconic Golden Horn and Bosporus Strait to retrieve wooden crucifixes thrown into the waters during celebrations of the Feast of Epiphany on Monday. The tradition goes on since the ancient Constantiople Times.
In a ceremony to bless the city's Golden Horn, swimmers jumped from boats and raced to retrieve the wooden cross.
In this traditional ceremony to mark the Epiphany feast, an Orthodox priest throws a simple wooden cross into the water and swimmers race to be the first to retrieve it.
Another group held a similar ceremony in the Ortaköy district, with five young people diving into the Bosporus Strait and racing for the crucifix. Before the ceremony in Ortaköy, the Orthodox Church offered a service officiated by Metropolitan Bishop Irineos.
After the service, the metropolitan and five contestants boarded a boat and prayed together. The metropolitan then threw a wooden crucifix into the water. A young person named Soteri Yumurta retrieve the crucifix, which he kissed before passing it to his friends. Then Irineos put a necklace with a crucifix around Yumurta's neck.
Speaking to the press, Irineos said, “We are celebrating the anniversary of the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan. Also, this ceremony is held so that fishermen have an abundant year.”