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Jan 7 2021

Turkey: Orthodox community in Istanbul celebrate Epiphany amid COVID restrictions

Turkey’s Orthodox community gathered to mark the birth and baptism of Jesus Christ in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Before the ceremony of Epiphany at Golden Horn, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church Bartholomew I of Constantinople held service at St George (Aya Yorgi) Church.

Following the service, the community met at Golden Horn to watch the race for a wooden cross thrown into the water.

Due to the coronavirus restrictions, there were only two men in the celebration race. Normally the ritual attracts large numbers. Galip Yavuz, winner of the race, said that the sense of community surpassed everything.

”What important is the participation. It is not important if you win or not. So, I am not sorry at all. Actually, we all won just the other friend came first. There is no loser, we all won,” Yavuz added.

Churches restricted the number of attendees for services, as Turkey reporters over two million confirmed cases of coronavirus, and over 22,000 linked deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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