On Friday, January 6, 2017, His All-Holiness presided over the concelebration of the Patriarchal and Synodal Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Epiphany and Service of the Great Blessing of the Waters.
Several official representatives were present, including Their Excellencies Ioannis Amanatidis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic, Kyriakos Loukakis, Ambasssdor of the Hellenic Republic in Ankara, and Evangelos Sekeris, Consul General of the Hellenic Republic in Istanbul
The Great Blessing of the Waters took place along the wharf of the Phanar district on the Golden Horn. There, as is customary for this great feast, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew threw a cross into the icy waters, which several men raced after to retrieve.
For his gallantry, the first man who recovers the cross is said to have good luck throughout the coming year. This year the winner was Nicos Solis, a young gym trainer from Greece, who outswam Stefanos Aslanoglu and others.
The Great Blessing of the Waters. Courtesy of N.Manginas