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That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany

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As Russian Orthodox Christians celebrated one of their most important ancient holidays, hundreds of thousands braved the bitter cold to perform the traditional mass bathing ritual to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the waters of the Jordan River.

More than 1.5 million believers from across the country reportedly took part in this year's Epiphany, taking an icy plunge in rivers, lakes and seas on Thursday night, the eve of the major religious holiday.

About 2,500 police officers, divers, rescue and medical workers, as well as some 700 volunteers and psychologists assisted participants of the ritual in the Russian capital.

© Sputnik / Alexei Danichev / Go to the photo bankA participant of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest reacts after taking a dip in icy water during traditional Epiphany bathing in Neva River on January 18, 2018.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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A participant of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest reacts after taking a dip in icy water during traditional Epiphany bathing in Neva River on January 18, 2018.
© Sputnik / Alexei Danichev / Go to the photo bankFive Russian models, participants of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest, took part in traditional swimming on Epiphany Eve in the Neva River, St. Petersburg. They believe this ritual helps to strengthen body and spirit.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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Five Russian models, participants of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest, took part in traditional swimming on Epiphany Eve in the Neva River, St. Petersburg. They believe this ritual helps to strengthen body and spirit.
© Sputnik / Evgenia Novozhenina / Go to the photo bankBelievers plunge into a pool carved out of the ice during traditional bathing at the Valdai Iversky Monastery in Russia’s Novgorod Region on Epiphany Eve, January 18, 2018.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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Believers plunge into a pool carved out of the ice during traditional bathing at the Valdai Iversky Monastery in Russia’s Novgorod Region on Epiphany Eve, January 18, 2018.
© Sputnik / Vitaly Ankov / Go to the photo bankA man participates in traditional swimming on Epiphany Day, January 19, 2018, at the Solovei-Klyuch Lake in Nadezhdinsky District of Primorsky Kray, Russia.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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A man participates in traditional swimming on Epiphany Day, January 19, 2018, at the Solovei-Klyuch Lake in Nadezhdinsky District of Primorsky Kray, Russia.
© Sputnik / Alexei Danichev / Go to the photo bankA participant of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest during annual swimming in the Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia, on Epiphany Eve, January 18, 2018.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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A participant of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest during annual swimming in the Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia, on Epiphany Eve, January 18, 2018.
© Sputnik / Alexey Druzhinin / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin also took a plunge in an ice-hole during a traditional celebration of the Orthodox Epiphany on the night of January 18-19 at St. Nilus Stolobensky Monastery on Lake Seliger in Tver Region.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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Russian President Vladimir Putin also took a plunge in an ice-hole during a traditional celebration of the Orthodox Epiphany on the night of January 18-19 at St. Nilus Stolobensky Monastery on Lake Seliger in Tver Region.
© Sputnik / Alexey Malgavko / Go to the photo bankArchpriest Vyacheslav Kostenko performs a consecration ritual on Epiphany Eve, January 18, 2018, in the Cossack Bay in Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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Archpriest Vyacheslav Kostenko performs a consecration ritual on Epiphany Eve, January 18, 2018, in the Cossack Bay in Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia.
© Sputnik / Alexander Kryazhev / Go to the photo bankBelievers bathe in the icy waters of Holy Spring in Iskitimsky District of Novosibirsk Region on January 18, 2018, Epiphany Eve.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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Believers bathe in the icy waters of Holy Spring in Iskitimsky District of Novosibirsk Region on January 18, 2018, Epiphany Eve.
© Sputnik / Alexei Danichev / Go to the photo bankA participant of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest during annual swimming in the Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia, on January 18, 2018, Epiphany Eve.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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A participant of the St. Petersburg's Beauty contest during annual swimming in the Neva River, St. Petersburg, Russia, on January 18, 2018, Epiphany Eve.
© Sputnik / Maxim Bogodvid / Go to the photo bankIce town built on Lake Raifa, near the Raifa Holy Virgin Monastery in Zelenodolsk District, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, on January 19, 2018.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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Ice town built on Lake Raifa, near the Raifa Holy Virgin Monastery in Zelenodolsk District, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, on January 19, 2018.
© Sputnik / Vitaly Belousov / Go to the photo bankBelievers take part in traditional festive bathing on January 18, 2018, Epiphany Eve, at the Church of St. Nicholas in the Izmailovo Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.
That's the Russian Spirit! People Dip in Icy Water Celebrating Orthodox Epiphany - Sputnik International
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Believers take part in traditional festive bathing on January 18, 2018, Epiphany Eve, at the Church of St. Nicholas in the Izmailovo Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.
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