January 8, 2014

The Muslim Woman Who Dove To Retrieve the Holy Cross

The following event was reported in the Turkish media in February of 2003.

Nick Magginas
February 2003
Hurriyet Daily

This years Theophany in Constantinople had a surprise to it. The incident occurred in the historic suburb of the City called Yesilkoy, in the area of the airport. In this suburb the Treaty of San Stefano (03/03/1878) was signed between the Ottoman Empire and Russia.

On the day of Theophany, therefore, at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Stephen there, after the Divine Liturgy which was officiated by Metropolitan Constantine of Derkon, a sacred procession was formed, with the participation of many faithful of the Greek Diaspora, Turks, Armenians, etc., and they were directed to the nearby beach on the Sea of ​​Marmara.

There the Metropolitan, after celebrating the Service of the Sanctification of the Waters, threw as usual the Cross into the water. Four people fell into the sea, three young Greeks of the Diaspora and a Turkish woman who was dressed and even brought her hijab.

The Cross was retrieved by Christos Benlisoi. The unprecedented fact of the participation of a Muslim woman in the ceremony presented by the Turkish press positive comments. Moreover, the Muslim woman, Suna Yavuz, in statements reported that she did this in order to contribute to the dialogue between religions and to emphasize that love is above all. "In the building where I live," she said, "I have people that I live with that are Christian Romioi, who visit us during our religious observances. Despite the differences in our religion, I think we may well remain friends and to prove it I fell into the sea to retrieve the Cross."

Suna Yavuz notes that all religions teach love and invite people to friendship and brotherhood. "For friendship I do everything I put my hands to. I like to help others. Without being discriminatory I support all and share my love. Besides, all people should be generous with similar feelings and if it was in my hands I would try to spread around the world love and friendship by all means and all ways."

Suna Yavuz is also a winter swimmer.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.