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Russian Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany in frozen ponds

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Russian Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany in frozen ponds

Photo: RIA Novosti

On January 19, Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany, one of the 12 most important Christian feasts, commemorating the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Epiphany Water is believed to acquire miraculous healing properties. Special square holes are cut out in frozen ponds, rivers and lakes across Russia on this day for believers to take a traditional Epiphany dip. More than 50 Epiphany bathing sites have been prepared in Moscow with rescuers and medics in place to monitor the bathers' safety, Voice of Russia reports.

Orthodox believers in Makhachkala, the capital of the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan in southern Russia, gathered on the Caspian coast for the water-blessing ritual this morning. In Kaliningrad, additional buses were provided to help believers travel to bathing sites.In Moscow, the largest Epiphany ice hole is in the Serebryanny Bor district in the west of the city. There is a separate bathing site at the Medvezhye Lakes northeast of Moscow for paratroopers of a nearby airborne division.

Temperatures in Moscow dropped on Epiphany Eve to minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Source: Voice of Russia

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