Orthodox Christians celebrate Holy Epiphany

Kirill Kukhmar  TASS

Kirill Kukhmar TASS

In Orthodox tradition, believers immerse themselves in rivers and lakes to commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

Russian television showed him approaching a hole cut in the ice on Lake Seliger wearing a thick beige fur coat and thick Ugg-style boots.

Air temperatures at the time were around -6C.

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Asked whether the water was too cold, Putin replied, "No, it's great".

Russian President Vladimir Putin continued his tradition of stripping down to the waist in public Friday when he took a dip in the freezing waters of an icy lake to celebrate the Orthodox Christian ritual marking the Epiphany. He then held his nose and immersed himself fully.

Russian President Vladimir Putin plunges into the icy waters of lake Seliger during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in Russia's Tver region early on January 19.

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More than 1.5 million Orthodox Christians across Russian Federation, including those from the freezing Sakha Republic, participated in this year's mass bathing ritual held on January 18-19.

To mark the occasion, Orthodox priests also go out to bless rivers and reservoirs and even seas such as the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

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In Norilsk, a city beyond the Arctic Circle, local authorities on Thursday banned the extreme bathing rite "for security reasons" as temperatures hit minus 52 Celsius and strong winds whipped up a blizzard, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

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