The History, Tradition And Pageantry of Epiphany Swimming


In Europe, there is an old church tradition on January 19th of each year according to the Orthodox Christian calendar. In some southern and eastern European countries people dive for a cross at the bottom of the lake or river to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ.

In Šabac, Vojislav Mijić organizes this manifestation of Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honor – known as Epiphany Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honour – with great pride and joy. In 2012, there were 70 swimmers and 5,000 spectators. It is a tradition on the Orthodox Christian calendar, but its form differ among Eastern orthodox countries.

Its history is beautifully captured below in a video produced by Mijić.

Mijić, the long-time race director of the Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac (Peace Race), also has organized the Epiphany swimming event for the past 10 years, together with the support of His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch. The video of the 2012 event when Marko Rusov won when both the water and air temperature were 2-3ºC (35-37ºF), covers the history and pageantry of the 10-year event. “I love the tradition will outlive us all and the tradition for the Epiphany Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honour will live in our hearts and souls for many years.”

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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