Epiphany is one of the major holidays of the Orthodox Christian world, commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ. Waterways, oceans, rivers and canals are blessed and it is customary for homes to be blessed in the ensuing days with holy water.
Different interpretations of the blessing of the waters take place throughout the Orthodox Christian world, usually involving a dive and cross-retrieval in the nearest waterway. In landlocked cities, pools and reservoirs are used.
Two “firsts” took place that were considered historic.
The first blessing of the waters took place in Izmir, Turkey in 94 years since the Asia Minor Catastrophe, where thousand of Greeks perished in those same waters.
The first celebrations also took place in Turkish-Occupied northern Cyprus in 42 years since the island was invaded and subsequently occupied by Turkish troops.
Here are some really interesting photos from Epiphany throughout the Orthodox Christian world:
1) Istanbul, Turkey- Seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and spiritual center of the Orthodox Christian Church
2) Istanbul, Turkey
A swimmer holds an icon after he crossed a fence inside the abandoned coastal city of Famagusta after the epiphany ceremony to bless the waters in the Turkish-occupied north part of the divided island of Cyprus. More than 1,000 Orthodox Christian faithful attended the annual Epiphany Day blessing of the waters in Famagusta, the first time the ceremony has taken place since 1974 when the small island nation was invaded and occupied by Turkish soldiers.
3) Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus
Photo via Faye Lamberg (Facebook)
4) Astoria, NY
5) Tarpon Springs, Florida
6) Tarpon Springs, Florida
A historic site in the harbor of Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) where the first Epiphany celebration in almost 100 years took place
7) Izmir, Turkey (Smyrna)
8) Hania, Crete
9) Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus
10) Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus
11) Rethymnon, Crete
12) Izmir, Turkey (Smyrna)
13) Istanbul, Turkey- Seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and spiritual center of the Orthodox Christian Church
14) Istanbul, Turkey
Bulgarian men dance in the icy waters of the Tundzha river during a celebration for Epiphany Day in the town of Kalofer in Bulgaria