The Russian Orthodox Church marks one of the main Christian holidays in Russia on January 19th, the day of the Epiphany.
It is the oldest Christian holiday, along with Easter, dedicated to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. It is believed that after this Jesus began to enlighten people.
On Monday Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill, after a Divine Liturgy at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, congratulated Orthodox Christians on the upcoming holiday of the Baptism of Christ and wished people to meet it in "spiritual peace and joy" and feel the presence of God in their own lives with the help of contact with sanctifying water this day.
"On this holiday we can perceive experimentally, sensually, what the Baptism of Christ actually was, the coming of the Savior into the world. He brought not only amazing words for people to open new horizons of life. He shared his lifecwith people, entrusting us with his strength up to the end of our lives, which we call God's grace. On the day of the Baptism of Christ, the power of grace touches our hearts in a special way," he said.
There is a tradition of bathing in a water bowl, symbolizing the immersion of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan in the rite of baptism over him. Priests and parishioners of many churches go to ponds where ice has been cut beforehand (usually in the form of a cross), and immerse themselves in the water three times as a prayer.
"More than 3500 places for bathing are equipped this year in the country. Over 8000 employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations will provide security issues,’’ the rescue department informed.
Most of the bathing sites are equipped in the Central and Volga federal districts, with 1047 and 796 places respectively. There are 27 such places on the territory of Crimea and another five in Sevastopol.
Meanwhile, doctors recommend refraining from cold water for people with respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases, as well as not to stay in the water for a long time. After the procedure you should immediately dry yourself with a towel and put on warm clothes. It is advisable drink hot tea, or herbal infusion before the procedure.