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Photo & Video Credits: Chrysovalantis Stamelos

 

A historic Epiphany celebration took place in Izmir after Turkish authorities allowed the Orthodox community to perform the dive ceremony for the Holy Cross on January 6.

A Divine Liturgy at the church of Agia Fotini preceded the diving ceremony, performed by Archimandrite Kyrillos Sykis. Father Kyrillos, is the first Orthodox priest to operate in Smyrna after the destruction and uprooting of 1922.

The celebration was attended by guests from Greece, as well as members of the Greek Orthodox community and other Orthodox communities who reside in the surrounding area.

This year for the first time in Izmir in almost a century, the Turkish foreign ministry granted permission for the ceremonial Orthodox Blessing of the Waters to take place officially outdoors as the protocol requires for the Great Feast of Theophany (known as “Fota”).

The religious ritual stopped being practiced in 1922 after the war and population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

Watch our video from the Epiphany in Izmir below:

 

Related Film: 90 years after an ethnic population exchange, Greek-American filmmaker Chrysovalantis Stamelos returns as the first of his family to the land of his ancestors…Izmir, Turkey.


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