The Great Despotic Feast of Theophany was celebrated with all splendor and magnificence at the Phanar, on Friday, 6 January 2023.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the ceremony of the Sanctification of the waters and the immersion of the Holy Cross at the Golden Horn, from the platform that had been placed on the waterfront of The Phanar, where together with the Hierarchs, the officials and the faithful, they made their way in a procession from the Venerable Patriarchal Church of Saint George.
More than 15 young people, from Constantinople, Greece, and abroad, dived into the blessed waters of the Golden Horn to retrieve the Holy Cross, which was caught by the student Athanasios Apostolakis, from Heraklion, Crete, to whom the Ecumenical Patriarch offered a golden cross as a blessing, while he blessed all the other swimmers, to whom he offered small souvenirs along with his paternal wishes.
Earlier, at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George, Phanar, with the Patriarch praying from the Holy Altar, Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, after officiating at Orthros, performed the Great Sanctification of the Waters, and then presided over the Divine Liturgy, joined also by Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia, Metropolitan Irinaios of Myriophytos and Peristasis, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra, Metropolitan Ieronymos of Larissa and Tyrnavos and Metropolitan Ioakeim of Bursa.
Also present for the great feast day at the Holy Patriarchal Church were The Consul General of Greece in Constantinople, Georgia Soultanopoulou, as a representative of the Greek State, the President of PASOK-Movement for Change Nikolaos Androulakis, Member of the European Parliament, the Member of Parliament Maximos Charakopoulos, Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, the Mayor of Nea Philadelphia – Nea Chalkidona Ioannis Vouros, Archons of the Great Church of Christ, and a multitude of believers from Constantinople, Greece, but also many other countries.