vendredi 7 janvier 2011

Istanbul : des Grecs-orthodoxes font mumuse dans l'eau de Marmara...

Traditional Greek Orthodox cross-throwing ceremony held in Istanbul
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Thursday, January 6, 2011
ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires
Orthodox Christians in Istanbul reenacted the baptism of Christ with a traditional cross-throwing ceremony Wednesday at several waterfront locations in the city.

After a four-hour ceremony held by Patriarch Bartholomew at the Fener Greek Patriarchate, a group of priests and Christian faithful went to the Fener dock, where the patriarch threw a large cross into the sea, the Anatolia news agency reported Wednesday.
Young men assembled as part of the group then jumped in the frigid water, all swimming to reach the cross and bring it back to dry land. Dimitris Kouzonis was first to reach the cross and return it to the patriarch, who awarded him with a golden cross pendant. Kouzonis, who said he grew up near Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s house in Thessaloniki, gave messages of peace and love, emphasizing the friendship between Muslims and Christians.

Similar ceremonies were held with the participation of Syriac and Armenian Orthodox faithful at other locations in Istanbul, including Yeşilköy and Kuzguncuk.

Following services at Yeşilköy Greek Orthodox Church in Yeşilköy, a group led by Metropolitan Derkon Konstantin arrived at the coast, where five male competitors boarded a boat, to curious glances from onlookers.

“Young people usually compete for this ceremony. The person catching the cross becomes the baptismal representative of Christ,” said Sevim Susi, 57, a resident of the Yeşilköy neighborhood.

Every year, on this same day, young people compete here and we gather here to see this ceremony. It is pleasant,” said Yıldız Sait, 54, a Syriac Christian who immigrated to Istanbul from Syria five years ago.

After the religious leader threw the cross into the sea, the competitors jumped into the cold water after it. Erkan Bedro, 23, reached the cross first, breaking a record by doing so for his fourth time at the Yeşilköy coast.

Wearing a bathing gown to warm up afterwards, Bedro was congratulated by his acquaintances. He said he was extremely happy to win the competition and that he swims for the cross every year as way to honor his beliefs.

During the ceremony, which was organized with assistance from the Bakırköy Municipality, security precautions were taken both in the water and on land by police. After the ceremony, the Christian group continued its ritual at the church.

The three-hour ceremony at Greek Orthodox Ayios Yorgos Church reassembled at the Kuzguncuk dock, where Metropolitan Atanosios Papas threw the cross. He said the tradition brings fertility and plenty for the sea, lakes and rivers. “We thank our country very much for allowing the continuation of this tradition. In the past, it had been stopped in certain times,” he said. “Let the fish be plentiful in our country and let fertility come to our seas.”

As the metropolitan threw the cross into the sea in Kuzguncuk, a white pigeon was released into the air. Othon Papadopulos and Ruli Etnapula, both coming from Greece, competed to reach the cross first. Etnapula won the competition and presented the cross to the metropolitan.

The tradition used to be held in Istanbul’s Çengelköy district but was moved to Kuzguncuk as the church in Çengelköy has been undergoing maintenance work for the past two years.
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