Orthodox Turks celebrate Epiphany with an icy swim

The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who recently recovered from the COVID-19, threw a wooden cross into the Bosphorus, to set off the traditional race.

Ten swimmers competed to retrieve the crucifix this year, after only two men allowed to attend the ceremony in 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions.

Galip Yavuz won the race after competing for five years.

Every year Orthodox believers commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan by immersing in rivers and lakes. The wooden cross, which is blessed by the priest, is believed to bring good luck for the year ahead to those who retrieve it.

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