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.