Voices from Russia

Monday, 19 January 2015

Russian Ice Bucket Challenge: Russians Celebrate Orthodox Epiphany

00 Orthodox epiphany. siberia 02. 19.01.15


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


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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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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



Monday, 12 January 2015

12 January 2015. The Russian Holiday Season is Still Goin’ Strong!

00 Sergei Yolkin. Holiday Week, Work Year... 2013


Today, Monday 12 January, will be the first day back to work for most Russians after the New Year Holiday Break. Therefore, if you read anything in the Western Corporate Media about supposed rules taking effect in Russia… well, there was no one in the offices to put them into effect! What can you say of people so dense and idiotic that they didn’t know that all of Russia was on holiday and that no one was in any office processing ANY applications for ANYTHING? As you well know, it takes awhile to get back up to speed… so, take some reports with a BLOCK of salt.

Even though people are going back to work, the holiday season isn’t over yet. It starts with St Nicholas Day on 19 December and it ends with Theophany on 19 January. Mind you, in Old Russian peasant culture, the holidays began with the three feastdays of Ss Barbara, Sava, and Nicholas… 4-5 December OS, 17-19 December on the Gregorian calendar. This ushered in the holidays, with Christmas on 25 December OS, New Year on 1 January OS, and Epiphany on 6 January OS (the Svyatki, or “Holy Days” are the period between Christmas and Epiphany, party time after fasting time)… a bit longer than the contemporary celebration. Some country areas still begin with Vavarin Dyen… but not many. Today, some even keep “Old New Year” on 14 January, but these are people who don’t keep the secular celebration on 1 January.

So… the holidays in Russia are going to continue for another week (but folks will be going back to work today)… if you will, pass me the selyodka pod shuboi… I’ll have seconds, if you please…


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sputnik International Presents… Scenes of Russian Orthodox Christmas

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Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias during Christmas Eve services at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF.


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Nuns at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow during Christmas services.


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A priest and a bishop at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow before Christmas services.      


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President V V Putin attended Christmas Eve services at the Church of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin in Otradnoye (Voronezh Oblast. Central Federal District) RF on 7 January 2015.


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Visitors at the Christmas Fair in Pionerskaya Square, in St Petersburg (Federal City of St Petersburg. Northwestern Federal District) RF.


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A girl visits the Seasons Fair in Moscow Hermitage Garden.


00 russian christmas 08. 8.01.15Visitors shopping for Christmas decorations at the New Year Fair in TsUM (Central Department Store).


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Participants and guests of a Christmas Fair at the Moscow Hermitage Garden.


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Visitors watch a show at the Christmas Fair in Pionerskaya Square in St Petersburg.


00 russian christmas 11. 8.01.15An outdoor party in Kolomna (Moscow Oblast. Central Federal District) RF during the Svyatki.


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Horse-drawn troikas in Kolomenskoye (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF during the Svyatki.


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One of the chief activities that Svyatki revellers engage in is singing carols.


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Girl divines her fortune during the Svyatki holidays in Chelyabinsk (Chelyabinsk Oblast. Ural Federal District) RF.


00 russian christmas 15. 8.01.15A girl tries to divine her fortune by examining a valenok during the Svyatki.


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Girls divining their fortunes during the Svyatki.


Russia celebrates Christmas on 7 January due to the Russian Orthodox Church’s use of the Julian calendar. This tradition dates back to the Baptism of Rus by Grand Prince St Vladimir in the late 10th century, when Eastern Slavs first accepted Orthodox Christianity during a mass baptism in Kiev. Churches and cathedrals across the country hold long services, including the Royal Hours, Vespers, and the All-Night Vigil. Mainly a religious event, Christmas in Russia has been a national holiday since 1992. In some regions, all families, both those who attend church services and those who don’t, celebrate the occasion with a traditional Christmas Eve supper. Christmas fairs are a recent addition to Christmas celebrations in Russia. Christmas in Russia marks the beginning of the Svyatki… festivities pre-dating Christianity… that culminate in the celebration of Epiphany on 19 January. Fortune telling was one of the important aspects of the Svyatki in Russia. Today, people do it mostly for fun. Divination was especially popular among young unmarried women… they wanted to find out who they were going to marry.

8 January 2015

Sputnik International


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

21 January 2014. Now, For Something Entirely Different… It Was Epiphany in Tver

00 Epiphany in Tver. Orthodoxy's for EVERYBODY... 21.01.14


The above isn’t Photoshop… it’s an actual Epiphany (and here) icehole in Tver. The only question for me is, “Is the coloured guy an African convert or is he a lifelong Ethiopian Orthodox in Russia for university studies or military training (they be part of the Orthosphere, dontcha know!)?” If the latter, it’s proof of the ties that bind Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, despite the lack of communion (we Russians are close to our Oriental brethren, much more so than the Greeks are… we’re particularly chummy with the ArmeniansHH and Catholicos Karekin are big-time pals). Remember, Orthodoxy‘s the “Party for Everybody“.

The Orthosphere is REAL…


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