Orthodox Christians recovered the cross from the sea as part of the church services.
As part of a commemoration of the birth and baptism of Jesus Christ, a service was conducted at the Hagia Stephanos Church in Yesilkoy, Istanbul. The congregation came to the church in the morning. After the service, the congregation and the religious leaders left the church reciting prayers and arrived at the seaside. Metropolitan Bishop Derkon Apostol presided over the ritual of recovering the cross from the sea. After the Bishop dropped the cross into the sea, participants competed in recovering it from the sea floor. Nikola Aslaner managed to come first by retrieving the cross.
CHP Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Candidate Ekrem Imamoglu also participated in the event.
‘Istanbul is a rich tapestry, each district has its own traditions. We took part here in the retrieval of the cross ritual of our fellow citizens. One must experience every special moment of Istanbul. Then every Istanbulite will be able to feel how beautiful it is to live in this beautiful city. I will make sure that I will be with everyone, at every occasion when I become mayor. We are actually practicing for this at the moment,’ Imamoglu said.
Aslaner who had recovered the cross expressed his feelings regarding his participation in the ritual. ‘I’m freezing right now. It’s my first time, I’m very excited. I had expected to make it first. The sea was very cold, I was breathless in the last 5 meters. I was not feeling the cold in the end, but I swam and reached the cross. I feel proud for me and my family. I cannot feel much else at the moment, I feel like freezing.’