Dip in icy water to purify souls!

January 21, 2014

Dip in icy water to purify souls!Hundreds of Russian Orthodox Christians have plunged into icy water around Eastern Europe to mark the feast of Epiphany.
In temperatures as low as -17C, the believers wore little more than basic swimming costumes as they leapt into lakes and plunge pools to confirm
their willingness to follow Jesus.
With snow piled high around the water, it’s no wonder many of the Christians grimace as they each plunge beneath the water three times in an effort to purify their souls.
The celebrations are in accordance with Eastern Christian traditions that Epiphany is a commemoration of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.
In Western branches of the religion, the festival – which falls on January 19 – honours the visit of the Magi to Jesus as a newborn baby.
As they plunge into icy lakes and swimming pools around Eastern Europe, many of the devout Christians cross themselves and raise their arms in veneration.
One of the largest outdoor services in Eastern Europe takes place in central Moscow, where dozens of worshipers plunge into small paddling pools within sight of Red Square.
Temperatures hit as low as -17C during the festival in Moscow on Saturday night.
Another major event takes place in the Belarus capital Minsk, where the Drazdy Reservoir becomes the city’s hub of Christian worship.

-With The Daily Star input

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