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Thousands Of Russians Take Icy Epiphany Dip

A worker prepares a cross-shaped bathing hole for Russian Orthodox Epiphany celebrations on the Mana River near the village of Ust-Mana on January 18.
More than 82,000 Moscow residents bathed in ice-cold lake- and riverwater overnight to mark the Epiphany.

A spokesman for the Emergency Ministry's Moscow branch said no health incidents were reported.

The air temperature in the Russian capital was around minus-13 degrees Celsius.

Many more Russians across the mainly Orthodox country celebrated the date -- marking the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist and the beginning of his ministry -- in similar fashion.

Epiphany is one of the Great Feasts.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates it on January 19 in line with the Julian calendar.

Honoring an old Russian tradition, cross-shaped holes are cut in ice over lakes and rivers and celebrators plunge into the water -- typically three times, in honor of the Holy Trinity -- around midnight, often after an attending priest says a prayer.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Ria-Novosti