ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) — Orthodox worshippers have dived into icy cold waters from Istanbul to Bulgaria to retrieve crucifixes in ceremonies to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ.
Hundreds of members of Istanbul's tiny Greek Orthodox community and tourists from neighboring Greece attended the Epiphany ceremony of the Blessing of the Waters.
Greek Orthodox faithful dived into the wintry waters of Istanbul's Golden Horn on Friday to retrieve a wooden cross thrown by the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
This years' winner was Apostolos Oikonomou, 40, from neighboring Greece.
In Bulgaria, hundreds of young men have also plunged into rivers and lakes across Bulgaria to retrieve crucifixes cast by priests.
Catholics also celebrate Epiphany as a holy day.