Ukraine’s newly independent church holds first service

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko takes part in Ukraine’s newly created independent Orthodox Church’s first service in Kiev after a historic break with the Russian Orthodox Church that has enraged Moscow. The service came a day after the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew based in Istanbul handed over a formal decree that finalised recognition of Ukraine’s new Church. IMAGES

Christians celebrate Epiphany with swim in Istanbul

The Patriarch of Constantinople celebrates the Epiphany Mass before blessing the waters of the Golden Horn with a cross that young Greek Orthodox Christians recovered by diving into the icy water. The winner this year is Mihalis Vosnakiris.

Greek Oxthodox men dive for cross in Golden Horn in Istanbul

Orthodox worshippers dive into icy cold waters of the Golden Horns to retrieve a wooden cross thrown by The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to celebrate the Epiphany. IMAGES

Orthodox patriarch signs decree on independent Ukraine church

The Istanbul-based Orthodox patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople signs the formal decree confirming the creation of an independent Ukrainian church. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attended the ceremony in Istanbul. IMAGES

Former Turkey PM chosen as Istanbul mayoral candidate

Turkey’s last prime minister is chosen as the ruling party’s mayoral candidate for Istanbul in a bid to keep the country’s most populated city in its hands after elections next year.

Turkish lottery selling hope for 90 years

Each year in the run-up to the New Year draw, thousands of people flock to the most famous lottery stand in Istanbul, drawn by the promise on display: “Nimet Abla will make you win.”

Slow recycler Turkey seeks better uses for its trash

A pilot project in Istanbul is allowing metro users to pay for credit on travel cards by slotting plastic bottles instead of money into vending machines, a relatively rare step to improve recycling and waste management in a country of over 80 million people.

Protesters demand the release of jailed Istanbul airport workers

A few dozen of people gather outside court where the trial is beginning of two dozen workers who were arrested after they protested poor working conditions while building Istanbul’s giant new airport. Members of trade unions and relatives of the workers are demanding their release.