CONSTANTINOPLE – In Constantinople, more than a dozen Orthodox men jumped into the frigid waters of the Golden Horn amid heavy rains in a ceremony led by Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Nikolaos Solis from Agrinio in Greece retrieved the wooden cross, the fourth time he has done so. Another Greek man lost consciousness and had to be pulled out of the frigid water and taken to an ambulance.
The Patriarchate in Constantinople is considered the heart of the Orthodox world and dates back to the Byzantine Empire, which collapsed when the Muslim Ottomans conquered the city in 1453.
Epiphany marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas, but not all Orthodox Christian churches celebrate it on the same day.