the blessing




Open a newspaper or turn on the television and you’ll probably get a pretty troubling picture of things in Turkey these days. Sometimes it’s enough to make an outsider want to switch off entirely. Fortunately, peppered in amongst the drama, life still presents many moments of genuine hope here on a daily basis. One such was a couple of weekends ago in Yeniköy. Over the last couple of years I’ve been truly fortunate to attend and enjoy the welcome of the local Rum (Byzantine Greek) community at various events and ceremonies. It’s something that grounds you. And witnessing the baptism of one small but treasured member of their community was a highpoint in my nine years in Turkey, moreover since it was something my family was welcomed in to share.



Until a couple of Sundays ago, I had never been fortunate enough to attend such a ceremony. It was truly interesting to watch. Religion gets a lot of bad press these days, but when you are part of such an event, it’s much easier to understand the contribution that belief and spirituality makes for a community. Especially in such a small and tightly knit community.


baptism diptych 2


One fascinating aspect in this rite was that aside from the priests, only Marina’s mother and godmother were directly involved in the proceedings.  Father, grandparents, aunts, were all present and front row, but did not seem to be permitted to assist.



baptism diptych 4


baptism diptych 3


It was a big moment for the family and the community who turned up in droves to bear witness and celebrate this special day. I know I certainly wasn’t the only one to appreciate the celebration either, or realize what a blessing it is to have a daughter! Congratulations to Marina and her deservedly proud parents. It was a truly wondrous occasion.