Brave Orthodox Christians plunge into icy water for Epiphany celebrations across Europe despite temperatures as low as -41C

[ad_1]

Orthodox Christians across Europe stripped off in blistering cold temperatures to immerse themselves in freezing waters today in a traditional ceremony to mark the annual Epiphany celebrations.

Despite air temperatures plunging to as low as minus 41C in some areas of Russia and eastern Europe, hundreds of thousands plunged into holes in frozen lakes and rivers as part of the religious celebration.

Bikini-clad women and topless men dunked themselves in the icy water to celebrate the Orthodox Christian feast day of Epiphany. In eastern Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. 

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday according to the Julian calendar, and many took part in events in Russia, Kyrgystan, Belarus, Serbia, and Ukraine.

The brave men and women were seen slowly edging their way into the freezing water, their faces contorted with shock, before they plunged themselves underneath the surface. 

In some areas, authorities had cut holes into ice that had covered lakes and rivers and constructed wooden steps to allow easy access into the freezing waters. But within hours of them constructing the steps, they quickly became covered with ice.

An Orthodox believer reacts as he takes an icy dip in a lake in celebration of Epiphany, near the village of Vorontsovka, some 10 km from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday

An Orthodox believer reacts as he takes an icy dip in a lake in celebration of Epiphany, near the village of Vorontsovka, some 10 km from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday

Russians celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany by immersing in icy water in temperatures as low as -41C

Russians celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany by immersing in icy water in temperatures as low as -41C 

Russians celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany by immersing in icy water in temperatures as low as -41C

Russians celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany by immersing in icy water in temperatures as low as -41C

Bikini-clad women and topless men dunked themselves in the icy water to celebrate the Orthodox Christian feast day of Epiphany

Bikini-clad women and topless men dunked themselves in the icy water to celebrate the Orthodox Christian feast day of Epiphany

A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in the ice water of the Khimki reservoir, marking the Epiphany, as the air temperature reads -6C in Moscow on Friday

A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in the ice water of the Khimki reservoir, marking the Epiphany, as the air temperature reads -6C in Moscow on Friday 

A man takes a dip in icy water of the Azov Sea during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on Friday

A man takes a dip in icy water of the Azov Sea during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on Friday

Russians celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany by immersing in icy water in temperatures as low as -41C

Russians celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany by immersing in icy water in temperatures as low as -41C

A Russian Orthodox believer cries out with shock as he hits the freezing water in Moscow, Russia, on Friday

A Russian Orthodox believer cries out with shock as he hits the freezing water in Moscow, Russia, on Friday 

A woman reacts while walking out of the icy water during the Epiphany celebrations in Moscow

A woman reacts while walking out of the icy water during the Epiphany celebrations in Moscow

In Moscow, Orthodox Christians lined up to plunge into the icy water of the Khimki reservoir, in -6C temperatures as medical personnel watched on.

And in Kyrgyzstan, men, women and even young children threw themselves into the freezing waters as part of their Epiphany celebrations. 

In the embattled Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which is under Russian control, men could be seen plunging into a freezing river as large shards of ice floated nearby. 

The tradition in recent years has been embraced by politicians and diplomats, with President Vladimir Putin known to have taken part in previous years.

This year, the Kremlin claimed that Putin, 71, immersed himself in sub zero waters to celebrate the Epiphany by clambering through a hole in the ice. But spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not specify where Putin had taken the dip nor did he publish any photos of the despot doing so. 

He has not shown himself at Epiphany since 2021. Some believe his absence from a public showing of the annual ritual is a sign of his waning health.

The Kremlin in the most recent years has insisted he takes the plunge but no new pictures have been issued of the ‘macho’ dictator who despite being an ardent communist in Soviet times is keen to burnish his Orthodox credentials.

An Orthodox believer takes an icy dip in a lake in celebration of Epiphany, near the village of Vorontsovka, some 10 km from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday

An Orthodox believer takes an icy dip in a lake in celebration of Epiphany, near the village of Vorontsovka, some 10 km from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday

A man takes a dip in icy water during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Friday

A man takes a dip in icy water during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Friday

A woman takes a dip in icy water during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany at the Achairsky Monastery in the Omsk Region, Russia, on Friday

A woman takes a dip in icy water during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany at the Achairsky Monastery in the Omsk Region, Russia, on Friday 

A man walks out of the icy water during the Epiphany celebrations in Moscow, Russia

A man walks out of the icy water during the Epiphany celebrations in Moscow, Russia

A woman bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night

A woman bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night

Russian Orthodox believers take a dip in the ice cold water of a pond during the celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday, in Moscow, on Thursday night

Russian Orthodox believers take a dip in the ice cold water of a pond during the celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday, in Moscow, on Thursday night

A man takes a dip in icy water of the Azov Sea during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on Friday

A man takes a dip in icy water of the Azov Sea during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on Friday 

Members of the Orthodox Church and believers bathe in cold water at Lake Bagry during the Epiphany celebrations in Krakow, Poland, on Thursday night

Members of the Orthodox Church and believers bathe in cold water at Lake Bagry during the Epiphany celebrations in Krakow, Poland, on Thursday night 

An Orthodox Christian plunges into the icy water of a lake near the village of Vorontsovka, some 10 km from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday

An Orthodox Christian plunges into the icy water of a lake near the village of Vorontsovka, some 10 km from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Friday 

An Orthodox Christian prays as she plunges into the icy water of a lake near the village of Vorontsovka in Kyrgyzstan on Friday

An Orthodox Christian prays as she plunges into the icy water of a lake near the village of Vorontsovka in Kyrgyzstan on Friday

The head of Russia’s largest and coldest region, Yakutia, close Putin-ally Aisen Nikolaev, 51, led the way plunging into an ice hold in an air temperature of -41C.

He was followed by kindergarten children in Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk who went from a warm sauna out into the -20C cold to tip buckets of cold water over themselves.

In Kemerovo region, there were 40 cold plunge pools with a night temperature of -25C. While in Novosibirsk, thousands had doused themselves in the purifying cold water despite a temperature of -25C.

In the region of Sverdlovsk, it was -15C and 90 pools were cut in the ice.

The local church told believers that it was not essential to dip for religious reasons, and it was more a folk custom which goes back to the tsarist era.

‘From a spiritual point of view, immersion in a font does not make people better or worse, or cleanse from sin,’ explained priest Daniil Ryabinin. 

An Orthodox Christian plunges into the icy water of a lake near the village of Vorontsovka in Kyrgyzstan on Friday

An Orthodox Christian plunges into the icy water of a lake near the village of Vorontsovka in Kyrgyzstan on Friday

A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in the ice water of the Khimki reservoir, marking the Epiphany, on Friday in Moscow

A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in the ice water of the Khimki reservoir, marking the Epiphany, on Friday in Moscow 

A Russian Orthodox believer dips in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday

A Russian Orthodox believer dips in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday

A rescue worker observes a Russian Orthodox believer dipping in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday

A rescue worker observes a Russian Orthodox believer dipping in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday

Russian Orthodox priest crosses himself as he bathes in the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday

Russian Orthodox priest crosses himself as he bathes in the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday

A rescue worker helps a Russian Orthodox believer after dipping in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration in St. Petersburg on Thursday

A rescue worker helps a Russian Orthodox believer after dipping in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration in St. Petersburg on Thursday

Members of the Orthodox Church and believers bathe in cold water at Lake Bagry during the Epiphany celebrations in Krakow, Poland, on Thursday night

Members of the Orthodox Church and believers bathe in cold water at Lake Bagry during the Epiphany celebrations in Krakow, Poland, on Thursday night 

‘A person is cleansed by a sincere desire to change, repent, return to God’s channel and do good deeds. This will change you.’

Ambulance crews are routinely on standby to aid those overcome by the extreme cold. Tents are often set up on the ice to warm those who take the plunge.

Meanwhile, the Russian city of Belgorod, also near the Ukrainian border, canceled its traditional Orthodox Epiphany festivities on Friday due to the threat of Ukrainian drone strikes. 

It was the first time major public events were known to have been called off in Russia due to the drone threat. 

In Eastern Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus. 

A Russian Orthodox believer takes a dip in the ice cold water of a pond during the celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday, in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night

A Russian Orthodox believer takes a dip in the ice cold water of a pond during the celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday, in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night 

Russian Orthodox believer takes a dip in the ice cold water of a pond at the Neva river during celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday night

Russian Orthodox believer takes a dip in the ice cold water of a pond at the Neva river during celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday night

An Orthodox believer plunges into the icy waters of Amur Bay within the Peter the Great Gulf of the Sea of Japan during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in the far eastern city of Vladivostok late on Thursday

An Orthodox believer plunges into the icy waters of Amur Bay within the Peter the Great Gulf of the Sea of Japan during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in the far eastern city of Vladivostok late on Thursday

Russian Orthodox believers take a dip in the ice cold water of a pond during the celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday, in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday

Russian Orthodox believers take a dip in the ice cold water of a pond during the celebrations of the Orthodox Epiphany holiday, in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday

Rescue workers observe a Russian Orthodox believer dipping in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday

Rescue workers observe a Russian Orthodox believer dipping in the icy water in the Neva River during a traditional Epiphany celebration in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday 

A young woman bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night

A young woman bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night 

A Russian Orthodox priest prepares to bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond in Moscow on Thursday night

A Russian Orthodox priest prepares to bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond in Moscow on Thursday night 

A Russian Orthodox bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night

A Russian Orthodox bathes into the icy water on Epiphany during a traditional Epiphany at the Great Palace Pond with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in the background in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday night 

A woman carries a child during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany at the Achairsky Monastery in the Omsk Region, Russia, on Friday

A woman carries a child during celebrations of the Orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany at the Achairsky Monastery in the Omsk Region, Russia, on Friday 

The religious holiday of Epiphany is also celebrated in some Western Christian churches as Three Kings Day, which marks the visit of the Magi, or three wise men, to the baby Jesus and closes out the Christmas season.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday according to the Julian calendar.

Although some countries celebrate Epiphany on January 6, in the tradition of the Orthodox Church it is marked each year on January 19 – the day that Jesus was said to have been baptised into the faith.

Orthodox Christians take dips in water outside to mark the occasion and celebrate the baptism.

[ad_2]

Source link

Scroll to Top