Turkey: Bartholomew I leads Christmas Eve ritual in Istanbul

Greek Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas Eve with a traditional ritual in Istanbul on Saturday. Celebrations started early in the morning with a mass in the St. George (Hagia Yorgi) Church led by Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The mass was followed by a ceremony to celebrate Jesus Christ's baptism. Patriarch Bartholomew threw the blessed cross into the waters of Golden Horn, the... Еще Bosphorus' main inlet, while a group of swimmers attempted to grab it. This ceremony took place in several districts of the city, including Balat, Ortakoy and Kuzguncuk. The majority of Orthodox churches use the Julian calendar, which runs 13 days behind than the Gregorian calendar. Other countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, and Armenia also celebrate Christmas in January.

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