Christians celebrate first Epiphany in Turkish City in almost century

For the first time in 94 years Orthodox Christians received permission to celebrate the Epiphany holiday in the Turkish city of Izmir on Wednesday.

At the port of Turkey's third-largest city, which was once about half Greek, a priest threw a cross in the water and let a dove free as part of the ceremony. The ritual symbolizes the baptism of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.

The Greek TV station Skai broadcast the event live.

Greeks who work in Izmir, members of other Orthodox churches, the regional Catholic bishop, visitors from Greece and locals from Izmir attended the event.

Acts such as giving the permission for the holiday celebrations are used by the Greek and Turkish governments to build trust after the two countries fought a war and subsequently displaced about 2 million Greek and Turkish citizens in 1922.

In that year almost 1.5 million Greeks were forced to leave Turkish territory and 400,000 Turks had to leave Greece in 1922 as part of a deal between the two governments.

Last update: Wed, 06/01/2016 - 16:26
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