Cold swim to celebrate Epiphany, healthy lives

Marie Harrington
January 20, 2018

Many other Russians followed suit, submerging themselves in the freezing waters in a widely-observed ritual normally observed on 18-19 of January and which a year ago saw two million people take the plunge.

According to Orthodox tradition, worshippers are supposed to immerse themselves three times - in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - to remember the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a male monastery to the northwest of Moscow and took a dip in the icy waters of Lake Seliger to celebrate the Epiphany. Peskov said that this year, temperature was not as extreme as it gets during this time of year in the area.

Orthodox Christians in Georgia and across the world are celebrating the Epiphany today, during which the Georgian Orthodox Church holds a mass baptism and conducts water blessing rituals.

Mr Putin dons a sheepskin coat on his way to the lake
Mr Putin dons a sheepskin coat on his way to the lake

Russian authorities install thousands of icy baths for believers across Russia, including in Siberia where temperatures hover around -30 c.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse on Monday, Aug. 3, 2009, in the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region during a short vacation.

Putin, who is campaigning for re-election in a March 18 presidential election, grew up under Communist rule where open shows of religion were frowned upon.

The Russian leader has made his religiosity increasingly pronounced in public statements and appearances in recent years, while also emboldening the Russian Orthodox Church's conservative social views.

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