Christians across the world take a dip in ice-cold water to mark 'Orthodox Epiphany'

Orthodox Christians braved freezing temperatures to mark the feast of the Epiphany on January 19. The event symbolizes the baptism of Christ and the cleansing of the soul at the start of a new year.
People bathe in temperatures that dropped as low as -14 degrees Celsius near the Achairsky monastery outside the Siberian city of Omsk, Russia, during Epiphany celebrations on January 19. Many Orthodox Christians around the world have been marking the Epiphany, one of the faith's three biggest celebrations. (AP)

People bathe in temperatures that dropped as low as -14 degrees Celsius near the Achairsky monastery outside the Siberian city of Omsk, Russia, during Epiphany celebrations on January 19. Many Orthodox Christians around the world have been marking the Epiphany, one of the faith's three biggest celebrations. (AP)

Orthodox Epiphany

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A woman reacts to the freezing water near the monastery in the early morning hours. The Epiphany is frequently marked by a dip in water to symbolize Christ's baptism in the River Jordan. (AP)</p></div>

A woman reacts to the freezing water near the monastery in the early morning hours. The Epiphany is frequently marked by a dip in water to symbolize Christ's baptism in the River Jordan. (AP)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>These Orthodox believers in Belgrade, Serbia, started their celebrations on January 18 with a swim in the Sava River to retrieve a cross that is meant to bring them good health throughout the coming year. (AP)</p></div>

These Orthodox believers in Belgrade, Serbia, started their celebrations on January 18 with a swim in the Sava River to retrieve a cross that is meant to bring them good health throughout the coming year. (AP)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Thousands of Orthodox followers plunged into outdoor rivers, ponds, or other pools, such as these people under the watchful gaze of rescue workers in Kronstadt, outside St. Petersburg, Russia, on January 18. (AP)</p></div>

Thousands of Orthodox followers plunged into outdoor rivers, ponds, or other pools, such as these people under the watchful gaze of rescue workers in Kronstadt, outside St. Petersburg, Russia, on January 18. (AP)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Priests blessed the icy water at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Moscow, Russia, late on January 18. With around 90 million members, the Russian Orthodox Church traditionally carries out the blessing of the waters twice: on the eve of the Epiphany and again on the holiday itself on January 19. (AP)</p></div>

Priests blessed the icy water at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Moscow, Russia, late on January 18. With around 90 million members, the Russian Orthodox Church traditionally carries out the blessing of the waters twice: on the eve of the Epiphany and again on the holiday itself on January 19. (AP)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A priest takes a dip near the Church of the Holy Trinity in Moscow. (EPA-EFE)</p></div>

A priest takes a dip near the Church of the Holy Trinity in Moscow. (EPA-EFE)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Believers plunge into the icy waters in Moscow. (AFP)</p></div>

Believers plunge into the icy waters in Moscow. (AFP)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A woman in a bikini smiles after walking out of the icy waters of a pond in Moscow. (Reuters)</p></div>

A woman in a bikini smiles after walking out of the icy waters of a pond in Moscow. (Reuters)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A young girl reacts to the icy waters in Krasnogorsk, near Moscow. (EPA-EFE)</p></div>

A young girl reacts to the icy waters in Krasnogorsk, near Moscow. (EPA-EFE)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Celebrations were also held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the outside temperature was -14 degrees Celsius. (Reuters)</p></div>

Celebrations were also held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the outside temperature was -14 degrees Celsius. (Reuters)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Orthodox believers made it a festive celebration as they bathed in the icy waters near Vilnius, Lithuania. (AP)</p></div>

Orthodox believers made it a festive celebration as they bathed in the icy waters near Vilnius, Lithuania. (AP)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>While others, such as this Ukrainian man in the Dnieper River in Kyiv, opted to bathe alone. (AP)</p></div>

While others, such as this Ukrainian man in the Dnieper River in Kyiv, opted to bathe alone. (AP)

(KB/RFE-RL)

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