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Turkey: Orthodox believers brave Istanbul’s freezing waters for Epiphany

Despite sub-zero temperatures, Orthodox Christians jumped into the Golden Horn strait in Istanbul on Friday in a traditional ceremony celebrating the Orthodox celebration of Epiphany or Theophany.

Bartholomew I of Constantinople, head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, led a special mass at Fener’s St. George’s Cathedral, the principal cathedral of the religion.

Later, the Ecumenical Patriarch threw a cross into the waters of the Golden Horn strait, with swimmers racing to retrieve the cross amid cheers from the crowds.

SOT, Nico Solis, winner, (English): “I’m a personal trainer, from Greece, and every year I jump for the cross. This is the second time here to catch the cross. In Greece, 11 years, catch the cross.”

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