Russian Christians dive into cold Black Sea for Epiphany

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NTP: Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany holiday
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Russian Christians dive into cold Black Sea for Epiphany
TOPSHOT - An Orthodox believer dips into the icy waters of a pond on January 19, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in Moscow. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
OMSK REGION, RUSSIA. JANUARY 19, 2016. Orthodox believers dip in the waters of a hot spring in Achair Convent in the Honour of the Life Giving Cross of Our Lord, during the celebration of Epiphany. In Eastern Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday according to the Julian calendar. Dmitry Feoktistov/TASS (Photo by Dmitry Feoktistov\TASS via Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 19: A Ukrainian man bathes in Dnipro river during Epiphany celebrations in one of the suburban districts of Kiev, Ukraine, 19 January 2015. (Photo by Alexey Furman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA. JANUARY 19, 2016. A man dips into the icy waters of Lake Shartash during celebrations of Orthodox Epiphany. In Eastern Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday according to the Julian calendar. Donat Sorokin/TASS (Photo by Donat Sorokin\TASS via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Belarus' soldiers line up to dip into the icy waters of a lake on January 19, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in the village of Zadomlya, some 40 km east of Minsk. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI GAPON / AFP / SERGEI GAPON (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images)
Christian Orthodox believers jump to retrieve a cross into the cold waters of the Danube river on the Orthodox Epiphany day, on January 19, 2016 in Belgrade. Orthodox Serbs celebrate Epiphany on January 19, following old Julian calendar, with traditional retrieving of crosses from the rivers and lakes. / AFP / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)
TYUMEN, RUSSIA - JANUARY 19: A man walks out of a tent where people can change clothes after bathing in Tura River on Epiphany night January 19, 2016 in Tyumen, Siberia. Russian Orthodox celebrate epiphany by plunging into the icy water to symbolically wash away their sins, on a day when it is believed that all water becomes holy. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
An Orthodox believer dips into the icy waters of a pond on January 19, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in Moscow. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in icy water on the Epiphany in the village of Sulost', near Rostov, northeast from Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Lithuanian Orthodox believers bathe in the icy water on Epiphany in a lake outside Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
An Orthodox believer dips into the icy waters of a pond on January 19, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in Moscow. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A man reacts as plunges into the freezing waters of a pond in Kiev during the traditional holiday of Epiphany, on January 19, 2016. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. / AFP / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in the icy water on Epiphany in the Neva River in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. The temperature in St.Petersburg is minus 5 Celsius (23 Fahrenheit). Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing.(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Russian Orthodox believers leave a pool after bathing in ice water in the village of St. Michael Sloboda, 20 kilometres (12 miles) south-east from Moscow in Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. The Russian Orthodox Church follows the old Julian calendar, according to which Epiphany falls on Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Maxim Marmur)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 19: A Ukrainian man bathes in Dnipro river during Epiphany celebrations in one of the suburban districts of Kiev, Ukraine, 19 January 2015. (Photo by Alexey Furman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Orthodox believers jump into the icy water of the Sava river in Belgrade, on January 18, 2016. Serbian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark the upcoming Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. / AFP / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 19: Ukrainian enter and exit Dnipro river during Epiphany celebrations in one of the suburban districts of Kiev, Ukraine, 19 January 2015. (Photo by Alexey Furman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A Russian Orthodox priest dips into the icy waters of a lake on January 19, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in the village of Orlino, some 80 km of St. Petersburg. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian Orthodox believers bathe in ice water in a pond to mark Epiphany outside Simferopol, Crimea, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. The Russian Orthodox Church follows the old Julian calendar, according to which Epiphany falls on Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Alexander Polegenko)
A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in the icy water on Epiphany at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino near TV Tower in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. The Russian Orthodox Church follows the old Julian calendar, according to which Epiphany falls on Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)
MINSK, BELARUS. JANUARY 19, 2016. An Orthodox believer dips in the icy waters of Tsnyanskoye (Tsna) Reservoir, as a lifeguard looks on during the celebration of Epiphany. In Eastern Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday according to the Julian calendar. Viktor Drachev/TASS (Photo by Viktor Drachev\TASS via Getty Images)
TYUMEN, RUSSIA - JANUARY 19: Men wait in line to dive into the water of Tura River on Epiphany night January 19, 2016 in Tyumen, Siberia. Russian Orthodox celebrate epiphany by plunging into the icy water to symbolically wash away their sins, on a day when it is believed that all water becomes holy. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An Orthodox believer dips into the icy waters on January 18, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in Moscow. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers control Russian Orthodox believers swimming in the icy water on Epiphany at a pond in Pushkin outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The temperature in Pushkin is minus 16 Celsius (6.8 Fahrenheit). Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
An Orthodox believer dips into the icy waters on January 18, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in central Moscow. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 18: Orthodox Christians dive in to the cold water, to sanctify themselves at the night of Epiphany, on January 18, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. Christians believe that Jesus was baptized at that night. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
RYAZAN, RUSSIA. JANUARY 19, 2016. Orthodox believers dip in the icy waters of Orekhovo Ozero Lake, during the celebration of Epiphany. In Eastern Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the Baptism of Jesus. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday according to the Julian calendar. Alexander Ryumin/TASS (Photo by Alexander Ryumin\TASS via Getty Images)
Orthodox believers dip into the icy waters early on January 19, 2016 during the celebration of the Epiphany holiday in Moscow. Among Orthodox Christians, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the day the spirit of God descended upon believers in the shape of a dove during Jesus Christ's baptism in the river Jordan. / AFP / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
A Lithuanian Orthodox believers bathes in the icy water on Epiphany in a lake outside Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
Orthodox believers plunge into the icy water of the Dnieper River during the celebration of the Epiphany in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Thousands of Orthodox believers celebrate the holiday of the Epiphany on Jan. 19, and traditionally plunge into holes cut through thick ice on rivers and ponds to cleanse themselves with water deemed holy for the day. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
A man with his son plunges into ice-cold water of the Ob River after it was blessed by an Orthodox priest on Epiphany on Tuesday Jan. 19, 2016 in Novosibirsk, about 2800 km (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia. Novosibirsk temperatures on Tuesday dropped to -30 C (-22 Fahrenheit). Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)
TYUMEN, RUSSIA - JANUARY 19: Candles brought by people into a shack made of snow on Epiphany on January 19, 2016 in Tobolsk, Siberia. Russian Orthodox celebrate epiphany by plunging into the icy water to symbolically wash away their sins, on a day when it is believed that all water becomes holy. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
TYUMEN, RUSSIA - JANUARY 19: A man dives into the freezing waters of Irtysh river on Epiphany on January 19, 2016 in Tobolsk, Siberia. Russian Orthodox celebrate epiphany by plunging into the icy water to symbolically wash away their sins, on a day when it is believed that all water becomes holy. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
Romanian Christian Orthodox pilgrims line up to be baptised in the waters of the Jordan River during the Epiphany celebrations at the Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site near the West Bank city of Jericho on January 18, 2016. Thousands of Christian Orthodox pilgrims participated in the procession at the Jordan River to celebrate the annual feast, marking Jesus' baptism according to the gospels Jesus Christ was baptised in the waters of the Jordan River by John the Baptist. / AFP / GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
A young Georgian boy reacts as he is baptised by a Romanian Christian Orthodox priest in the waters of the Jordan River during the Epiphany celebrations at the Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site near the West Bank city of Jericho on January 18, 2016. Thousands of Christian Orthodox pilgrims participated in the procession at the Jordan River to celebrate the annual feast, marking Jesus' baptism according to the gospels Jesus Christ was baptised in the waters of the Jordan River by John the Baptist. / AFP / GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
A Christian Orthodox priest re-enacts the baptism of Jesus, during the traditional Epiphany baptism ceremony at the Qasr-el Yahud baptism site in the Jordan river near the West Bank town of Jericho, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The site is traditionally believed by many to be the place where Jesus was baptized. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A Christian Orthodox pilgrim prays after she was baptized during the traditional Epiphany baptism ceremony at the Qasr-el Yahud baptism site in the Jordan river near the West Bank town of Jericho, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The site is traditionally believed by many to be the place where Jesus was baptized. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A Russian Christian Orthodox pilgrim reacts as she is baptised in the waters of the Jordan River during the Epiphany celebrations at the Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site near the West Bank city of Jericho on January 18, 2016. Thousands of Christian Orthodox pilgrims participated in the procession at the Jordan River to celebrate the annual feast, marking Jesus' baptism according to the gospels Jesus Christ was baptised in the waters of the Jordan River by John the Baptist. / AFP / GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
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SOCHI, Russia - Braving cold temperatures, Russian Orthodox Christians ran into the Black Sea on Tuesday to mark Epiphany.

Some 3,000 people headed to the beach of the resort city after prayers at the Holy Trinity Cathedral as part of celebrations involving worshippers taking off their clothes and diving into the water.

Those who partake believe the bathing symbolically washes off their sins, and many also say the dip is good for their health.

Swimmers Brave Freezing Temperatures for Annual Epiphany Swim

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