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Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany

By The Siberian Times reporter
19 January 2018

Despite warnings of severe temperatures, hundreds of thousands of Russians take ice dips in an annual ritual marking Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan.

Many braved the frost and submerged themselves in ice holes cut in the shape of a cross in lakes and rivers across the country. Picture: PrimaMedia

In Yakutia, Magadan and Norilsk the cold was touching -50C, and in some areas the Russian Emergencies Ministry urged people not to take the plunge for their own safety. 

As these pictures show, many braved the frost and submerged themselves in ice holes cut in the shape of a cross in lakes and rivers across the country.

In many cases this was late at night - the coldest time of the day. 

Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany


Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany


Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany
People diving in sub-zero temperatures in Novoibirsk, Khabarovsk and Yakutsk. Pictures: NGS.ru, DVhav, Yakutsk RF 


Epiphany marks the day Jesus Christ was baptised in the River Jordan, and Orthodox Christians immerse themselves reconnecting with a tradition going back to before the Bolshevik revolution which led to a ban on religion.

The water is believed to have healing powers and cleanse the faithful from sin.

Despite this, medics were standing by near popular ice holes ready to assist those overcome by the cold, and bathers were advised not to drink alcohol before taking the plunge. 

The ice holes are known as 'iordans', named after the River Jordan.

WATCH THEM TAKING AN ICY DIP

Further west in European Russia at Lake Seliger, Tver region, President Vladimir Putin led the way in temperatures of around -7C, as the footage shows. 

His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Marking the Epiphany holiday, Putin attended a morning church service and also took part in diving in Seliger Lake”.

He has done so several times in recent years, he said. 

Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany


Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany


Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany

Epiphany celebrations in Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk and Omsk. Pictures: NewsLab, DVhab


Meanwhile, we caught up with Russians across some of eight times zones in Siberia and the Russian Far East. 

The Pacific island of Sakhalin had rather mild temperatures compared with many places  - -3C turning at night to -7C.

In Khabarovsk the devout had to contend with a bracing -24C at night. 

“Marking the Epiphany holiday, Putin attended a morning church service and also took part in diving in Seliger Lake”.

Kransnoyarsk was colder at -34C in many areas yet it did not deter believers from diving in. 

In Norilsk in the far north of this vast region, officials took the decision to ban the ritual, however. 

Here temperatures of -52C were recorded as Epiphany approached, and there were swirling winds. 

In western Siberia, the regions of Novosibirsk and Omsk recorded temperatures of -14 and -17C as people doused themselves in the cold water. 

Pictures below show people diving in Kosh-Agach in the Altai Mountains, on the island of Sakhalin and in Komsomolsk-on-Amur

Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany


Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany


Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany


Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany

Comments (7)

This website is useless. All of the articles are trying to portray bikini clad women. Is that really what Siberia is all about now? How pathetic. I won't bother visiting this site again. If I wanted soft pornography, I can simply use Google to find it.
Me, Planet Earth
23/03/2018 11:19
0
3
Nature of a human is that of a seeker, but most people don't know what they are really seeking. When a culture loses it sense of meaning from where its come from, its creation story. That society and culture gets lost. Once you lose meaning and purpose you start to drift.
Lazar, Moscow
12/02/2018 00:40
2
0
So....it's -20C and you are going to take your annual Epiphany dip. Where exactly do all these gorgeous young ladies go to buy a bikini??
Phil Jones, Olympia, WA USA
02/02/2018 01:17
1
0
Sergey ................ you are right (y)
Vittorio, Italy
26/01/2018 03:04
1
0
Just to add to Sergey's comment and I intend my comment totally with good humour as well..... what girls? All I see is a handsome guy talking to a police officer, I think he is saying "hey dude, you get in here next"........:-).
Pamela K Tetarenko, League City, USA
20/01/2018 21:57
2
2
Roberto, if you just looked at a whole line up of pictures of beautiful young women up there; and all you can think of is some old man with soggy body; than you are the one with problems, my friend lol
Sergey, Earth
20/01/2018 09:32
10
1
Nothing more GROSS than an old man's saggy body!!!!
Roberto Matoso, Brasil/Rio
20/01/2018 02:43
2
11
1

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