The Epiphany is celebrated in Aleksandro-Svirski man's monastery, 250 km near St. Petersburg. People dive into extremely cold water to cleanse themselves of sins and baptise themselves for Jesus. Russia. 18/01/2010
The Epiphany, celebrated in Russia on January 19, marks the baptism of Jesus in the Orthodox Church. Believing that on this day water becomes holy and is imbued with special powers, Russians all over the country cut holes in the ice of lakes and rivers, often in the shape of the cross, to bathe in the freezing water.
Participants in the ritual may dip themselves three times under the water, honoring the Holy Trinity, to symbolically wash away their sins from the past year, and to experience a sense of spiritual rebirth. Orthodox priests are on hand to bless the water, and rescuers are on hand to monitor the safety of the swimmers in the ice-cold water.
Other less intrepid Russians may limit their participation in the Epiphany rites to those conducted inside churches, where priests perform the Great Blessing of Waters, both on Epiphany Eve and Epiphany (Theophany) proper. The water is then distributed to attendees who may store it to use in times of illness, to bless themselves, family members, and their homes, or to drink.