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19 Jan, 2008 06:16

Epiphany celebrated by Orthodox Russians

Orthodox Russians are flocking to churches and religious sites to celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan. The Epiphany comes after of 24 hours of fasting for believers.

Also on this day, as well as the holiday itself, churches perform the blessing of waters.

The holy water that was blessed during the two days is believed to preserve its special qualities throughout the year.

Orthodox Christians also believe that on Epiphany all water around the world becomes holy and has the power to prevent illness for an entire year. All you have to do is immerse yourself in it three times.

But when the water in question is a freezing river, those are some pretty serious leaps of faith! But there was no shortage of people brave enough to take the plunge.

Meanwhile, thousands of believers also travel to the Jordan River to get healing and the God’s grace there.

The area which is the borderline between Israel and Jordan is normally closed for attendance, but for the holiday's sake local authorities keep it open for two days.