Voices from Russia

Monday, 19 January 2015

Russian Ice Bucket Challenge: Russians Celebrate Orthodox Epiphany

00 Orthodox epiphany. siberia 02. 19.01.15

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Epiphany in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF

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00 Orthodox epiphany. siberia 01. 19.01.15

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Epiphany in Vorkuta (Komi Republic. Northwestern Federal District) RF… that be above the Arctic Circle, kids… that’s FAR North

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00 Orthodox epiphany. siberia 03. 19.01.15

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On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Christians across Russia marked Orthodox Epiphany, immersing themselves into freezing waters on a cold January night. Epiphany is on 19 January according to the Orthodox Church tradition. The Church teaches that St John the Baptist baptised Jesus Christ in the Jordan River on this day, so, Orthodox Christians mark the occasion by jumping into frozen rivers or ponds.

More than 150,000 Muscovites took part in the tradition this year. Russia’s capital offers A-one conditions for believers by constructing specifically designed areas for plunging. The authorities built 60 ice-dipping spots across Moscow, with medical personnel and volunteers present and ready to provide assistance at all specifically designated areas for the cold plunge. For those who truly believe in the holy powers of healing and blessing of the water on Epiphany, even extremely low temperatures in Arctic Siberia didn’t stop them from making the plunge. With temperatures being below -40 degrees in Norilsk (Krasnoyarsk Krai. Siberian Federal District), one of Russia’s most northern cities, hundreds of people showed up to test their faith, Norilsk TV reports. In Vorkuta, situated north of the Arctic Circle, where visibility was less than ten metres (33 feet) because of freezing fog, hundreds of people lined up for the plunge. As they walked out of the ice-hole cut out on the surface of the frozen Usa River, water droplets turned into ice a split second after reaching the ground.

Prior to Epiphany, the Orthodox Church holds a series of religious services that conclude with a blessing of the water. Those who didn’t jump into the icy waters took blessed water home with them. Epiphany concludes the traditional Christmas holiday season in Russia. Russian authorities built more than 3,000 plunging spots across the country. Last year, over 1.3 million people across Russia celebrated Orthodox Epiphany.

19 January 2015

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/russia/20150119/1017076077.html

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