C A L L E J E A N D O . . .

Greek Epiphany Celebration in Istanbul

Epiphany (6 January, also Theophany) celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. In Greece the feast is colloquially called the “Phōta” (Greek: Φώτα, “Lights”) and customs revolve around the Great Blessing of the Waters. Also in Istanbul, the Greek community celebrated today Epiphany. Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. threw a wooden cross into the waters of the Golden Horn and swimmers raced to be the first to retrieve it.

DSC_3962 copy kleinThe swimmers are getting prepared on small fisher-boats….
DSC_3978 copy kleinOutside temperatures. 5C° plus cold wind. Bystanders, many of them Greek tourists who had travelled just for this event to Istanbul, are freezing.DSC_3982 copy kleinWe do not even want to think about the water temperatures. Brrrr! It must be all about faith…!DSC_4000 copy kleinDSC_4010 copy klein1, 2, 3, …JUMP!DSC_4012 copy klein…SWIM!DSC_4025 copy klein… CATCH the cross! The first one in grabbing the cross and to return it to the patriarch was 22-years old Lukas Kokinis from Alexandropolis. He was awarded by the patriarch with a golden cross pendant,…DSC_4047 copy klein…and once he got out of the water, he was surrounded by journalists.DSC_4055 copy klein…very quick this sudden fame became too much for this young boy. He was clearly overwhelmed… DSC_4057 copy kleinDSC_4053 copy klein…and tried to escape the crowed, protected by a friend.DSC_4063 copy klein…but at the end, he posed once more for cameras and fans. Well done, Lukas!

Istanbul, the former Constantinople, is still home to a Greek community, unfortunately shrinking year by year. The Greek community of Istanbul numbered 67,550 persons in 1955. However, after the Istanbul Pogrom orchestrated by Turkish authorities against the Greek community in that year, their number was dramatically reduced to only 48,000. In 2005, the Greek community numbered about 2,000 people. In the Fener district of Istanbul where the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is located, fewer than 100 Greeks live today.

This entry was published on 06 January 2013 at 10:08 pm. It’s filed under Istanbul and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Greek Epiphany Celebration in Istanbul

  1. turkischland on said:

    Reblogged this on turkischland.

  2. Thanks for re-posting, tukischland!

  3. Great photos and it is good to have the commentary as well.

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