Wednesday 23 January 2019

Putin celebrates Epiphany with dip in icy Russian lake

The 65-year-old immersed himself in a hole cut in the ice on Lake Seliger.

Russia Orthodox Epiphany
Russia Orthodox Epiphany

By Paul McGurk

Russian president Vladimir Putin has taken a dip in icy lake waters to celebrate Epiphany, a major holiday in Orthodox Christianity marking the baptism of Jesus.

Russian television stations showed the 65-year-old Mr Putin approaching a hole cut in the ice on Lake Seliger in north-western Russia before dunking himself in and crossing himself.

Mr Putin dons a sheepskin coat on his way to the lake (AP)

Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the president had dipped in icy waters on the Epiphany before, but Friday marks the first time he has publicly done so.

In Orthodox tradition, water blessed by a priest during Epiphany week is considered holy and pure, and believers attribute healing powers to it.

Authorities set up bathing sites for believers all over Russia, including some areas in Siberia where temperatures dipped below minus 30C.

Press Association

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