For the Holy Cross

Swimming for the Holy Cross is one of the most favorite traditions of the Serbian people. Under the Communist party this custom was forgotten, but its revival began late in the 1990s and, particularly, early in the 2000s.

Every year the number of cities and villages where courageous young people decided to organize the swim for the Holy Cross (in addition to the Blessing of Waters and processions of the cross) only increased, and many priests and bishops supported this undertaking. This year the Theophany swimming after the cross was organized virtually all over Serbia, the Republic of Srpska and Montenegro.

On the feast of Theophany, after the Great Blessing of the Waters in the church, the faithful head for the body of water they have chosen.

The procession is headed by a hierarch or a priest. A prayer service is performed on the bank, then a boat goes to the middle of the reservoir, the cross is thrown in the water, and participants in the swim jump in after it.

The winner is shown honor differently in different places.
Usually laymen participate in such swims, although priests in some dioceses participate as well.
Recently, women have also been allowed to take part in these events.

Serbia

In Belgrade alone the swimming after the Holy Cross is organized in several places simultaneously. All over Serbia, especially where there are suitable bodies of water nearby, this tradition has become a national festival. Rivers, lakes, weirs and artificial reservoirs gather a large number of cheerful and joyful people on this day. Serbs see a manifestation of strength of mind and will in this tradition and feel joy and reverence over it. The army, the police and various sports clubs are permanent “contestants” in this swim. In the past years, for example, Serbian water polo players often became winners. But regardless of the results, the swim for the Holy Cross is, first of all, a competition in which participation is more important than the victory.
Belgrad. A Great Blessing of the Waters in front of the church of St. Nicholas in Zemun.

Belgrad. A Great Blessing of the Waters in front of the church of St. Nicholas in Zemun.

The Theophany cross procession through the streets of Belgrad.

The Theophany cross procession through the streets of Belgrad.

Patriarch Irenej leads the Theophany procession through the streets of Belgrad.

Patriarch Irenej leads the Theophany procession through the streets of Belgrad.

Theophany procession through the streets of Belgrad.

Theophany procession through the streets of Belgrad.

The banks of the Danube. Swimmers fortify themselves with prayer and singing.

The banks of the Danube. Swimmers fortify themselves with prayer and singing.

The icon of the Mother of God "Of the Three hands" on the banks of the Danube.

The icon of the Mother of God "Of the Three hands" on the banks of the Danube.

The cold Danube does not scare the brave swimmers.

The cold Danube does not scare the brave swimmers.

Serbian gendarmes with the victorious cross.

Serbian gendarmes with the victorious cross.

Onlookers and press on the banks of the Danube.

Onlookers and press on the banks of the Danube.

Before the start.

Before the start.

Victory is close.

Victory is close.

Patriarch Irenej awards the winner of the swim with a cross.

Patriarch Irenej awards the winner of the swim with a cross.

The Serbian armed forces traditionally take part in the feast and the swim.

The Serbian armed forces traditionally take part in the feast and the swim.

The sign reads, "Theophany".

The sign reads, "Theophany".

Ada Ciganlija. 52 representatives of the armed forces, gendarmes, and social organizations took part in the swim on Lake Savva.

Ada Ciganlija. 52 representatives of the armed forces, gendarmes, and social organizations took part in the swim on Lake Savva.

Northern Kosovo and Metohija. A moleben at Lake Gazivod. Bishop Teodosije of Raška-Prizren.

Northern Kosovo and Metohija. A moleben at Lake Gazivod. Bishop Teodosije of Raška-Prizren.

Northern Kosovo and Metohija. At Lake Gazivod. Diocese of Raška-Prizren.

Northern Kosovo and Metohija. At Lake Gazivod. Diocese of Raška-Prizren.

Northern Kosovo and Metohija. At Lake Gazivod. Stefan Nedelkovic is the winner. Diocese of Raška-Prizren.

Northern Kosovo and Metohija. At Lake Gazivod. Stefan Nedelkovic is the winner. Diocese of Raška-Prizren.

Bishop Milutin of Valjevo on the Gradac River. Valjevo diocese.

Bishop Milutin of Valjevo on the Gradac River. Valjevo diocese.

Valjevo. The winner of the traditional swim by the dam on the Gradac River was technologist from Valjevo, Rada Munic. Valjevo diocese.

Valjevo. The winner of the traditional swim by the dam on the Gradac River was technologist from Valjevo, Rada Munic. Valjevo diocese.

Bajina Bašta.  Šabac diocese.

Bajina Bašta. Šabac diocese.

Trstenik. Swimmers on the banks of the West Morava River.  Kruševac diocese.

Trstenik. Swimmers on the banks of the West Morava River. Kruševac diocese.

Trstenik. West Morava River. Kruševac diocese.

Trstenik. West Morava River. Kruševac diocese.

Pirot. Theophany procession to the city reservoir.

Pirot. Theophany procession to the city reservoir.

Pirot. Winner of the swim, student Andrija Zlankovic: "I am happy. The water was cold, but no problem--we endured it.

Pirot. Winner of the swim, student Andrija Zlankovic: "I am happy. The water was cold, but no problem--we endured it.

Republic of Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Višegrad. Swim in the Drina River.

Višegrad. Swim in the Drina River.

Višegrad. Swim in the Drina River.

Višegrad. Swim in the Drina River.

Banja Luka. The winner of the swim on the Vrbas River.

Banja Luka. The winner of the swim on the Vrbas River.

Brcko. On the Savva River.

Brcko. On the Savva River.

Brcko. The cross for the winner.

Brcko. The cross for the winner.

Brcko. Bishop Hryzostom of Zvornik and Tuzla awards the winner, Drasko Dzukic.

Brcko. Bishop Hryzostom of Zvornik and Tuzla awards the winner, Drasko Dzukic.

Trebinje. Participants in the swim recieve a blessing from Bishop Gregorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina.

Trebinje. Participants in the swim recieve a blessing from Bishop Gregorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina.

Vojkovici. Cross procession to the river.

Vojkovici. Cross procession to the river.

Vojkovici. Knights of the Honorable Cross. Войковичи.

Vojkovici. Knights of the Honorable Cross. Войковичи.

Montenegro

Metropolitan Amfilohije with participants in the swim in the Morac River.

Metropolitan Amfilohije with participants in the swim in the Morac River.

Participants in the swim in the Morac River.

Participants in the swim in the Morac River.

Metropolitan Amfilohije canoes out with the cross to the middle of the river.

Metropolitan Amfilohije canoes out with the cross to the middle of the river.

Swim in the Morac River.

Swim in the Morac River.

Ivan Kukulicic was first to swim to the cross in the Morac River.

Ivan Kukulicic was first to swim to the cross in the Morac River.

Bar. the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The first to reach the cross was Nebojsa Safranaz.

Bar. the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The first to reach the cross was Nebojsa Safranaz.

Bar. the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Bar. the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Swim for the cross in Mikoljska Bay.

Swim for the cross in Mikoljska Bay.

Third-time winner of the swim in Mikoljska Bay, Bosko Piper.

Third-time winner of the swim in Mikoljska Bay, Bosko Piper.

Ulcinj. The swim took place here this year for the first time.

Ulcinj. The swim took place here this year for the first time.

Ulcinj. The first-time participants in the swim lunged fearlessly into the sea.

Ulcinj. The first-time participants in the swim lunged fearlessly into the sea.

Bishop Joanikijie of Budimlje and Nikšić blesses the participants of the swim in the Lim River in Beran.

Bishop Joanikijie of Budimlje and Nikšić blesses the participants of the swim in the Lim River in Beran.

Swim in the Lim River. Budimlje and Nikšić diocese.

Swim in the Lim River. Budimlje and Nikšić diocese.

Swim in the Lim River. Budimlje and Nikšić diocese.

Swim in the Lim River. Budimlje and Nikšić diocese.

Bishop Joanikijie of Budimlje and Nikšić with the swimmers.

Bishop Joanikijie of Budimlje and Nikšić with the swimmers.

Comments
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook , or enter your information:
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

×