Orthodox Celebrate Epiphany


--

Shares

Salon Staff
January 6, 2012 5:18PM (UTC)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Orthodox worshippers dived into icy cold waters from Istanbul to Bulgaria on Friday 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.

Advertisement:

The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, led a procession to the Golden Horn after a morning ceremony at the gold-crusted Cathedral of St. George. More than a dozen Greek Orthodox faithful dived into the wintry waters of the Golden Horn to retrieve a wooden cross thrown by 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. It is believed that the person who retrieves the cross will be freed from evil spirits that might have troubled him.

Some also believe that if the waters freeze over, there will be an abundant harvest later in the year that might help them survive the economic turmoil.

Catholics also celebrate Epiphany as a holy day.


Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •