Greek Orthodox observe Epiphany with cross dive in Istanbul
Swimmers race as Yorgo Alexandridis from Greece retrieves a wooden cross which was thrown into the waters during a ceremony to bless the water at the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. AP PhotoOrthodox Christians in Istanbul reenacted the baptism of Christ with a traditional cross-throwing ceremony Jan. 6 at the Fener dock.
Patriarch Bartholomew was not present at the ceremony due to a strong flu, a four-hour ceremony held by Metropolit Bishop Tranupoltos Germanos at the Fener Greek Patriarchate in the morning.
A group of priests and faithful Orthodox Christians went to the Fener dock where the metropolit threw a large cross into the sea, Anadolu agency reported.
Greek Giorgos Alexandridis was the first to reach the cross and return it to the metropolit, who awarded him with a golden cross pendant. Alexandridis, 47, said he was very happy to catch the cross first and added that his ancestors came from the Black Sea province of Trabzon.
Due to a difference in calendars, Jan. 6 marks Christmas Eve for many Orthodox churches and Christmas will be celebrated on Jan. 7 rather than Dec. 25.