Russian Christians Take Ice-Cold Dip

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Orthodox Christians in Russia are marking Epiphany, one of their most important religious holidays. The tradition sees many people brave ice-cold water as they hope to wash away their sins, RT reports.

In the tradition of the Orthodox Church, January 19 is the date of Epiphany, marking the day when Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist in the river Jordan.

In Russia, people mark the occasion by plunging into a river or pond. In many places holes in the ice need to be cut.

Incidentally, RT says Jesus was baptised into the Christian faith, but since the word ‘Christian’ means ‘follower of Christ’ that wasn’t quite the case.

Sky News also makes a strange claim, saying that the event marks the day on which Jesus was baptised into the Orthodox church (which at the time did not exist).

RT reporter Peter Oliver says some people take the dip because they believe the icy waters to be good for their health.

He took the dip himself:

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This post was last updated: Jan. 19, 2011