No Russian Epiphany without ice hole swim
The congregations numbered about 5,500. Thousands of people bathed in ice holes containing ‘blessed water’.
Today, Orthodox Christians are celebrating one of the main religious holidays, - the Feast of Epiphany.
Services were conducted in all Russian churches. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia performed the rite of blessing of water at Moscow’s Epiphany Cathedral.
On that day, believers traditionally stock up on the blessed water for a whole year, since it is known to remain fresh all that time.
Many believers defied cold weather and took part in baptismal bathing and dived into ice-holes on Friday night.
More than 80,000 in Moscow alone dipped into the holes that had been cut in ice on city ponds.
It is held that this kind of dipping boosts one’s fortitude and improves health.
The holiday dates back to an important event in Biblical history, that of baptizing Jesus Christ by John the Precursor in the Jordan River.
Some 165,000 people took part in the celebration of the Feast of Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ that started in Moscow on Friday night and moved into the early hours of Saturday.
Over 50,000 dived into specially consecrated ice-holes on rivers and ponds.
Baptism of Jesus is a Christian holiday that’s celebrated in memory of baptizing Jesus Christ by John the Precursor in the Jordan River.
It is held that during the Holy Theophany, which is another name for the holiday, all water becomes holy and can cure any disease.
Voice of Russia, TASS, RIA