Orthodox Christians on Wednesday met Epiphany Eve - the day of strict fasting that precedes the celebration of Epiphany, or Theophany. In the temples on this day, as on the very Epiphany, traditionally committed Divine Liturgy with the rite of the Great Blessing of Water.
With the onset of Epiphany Eve the believers end yuletide - "holy days," in which the Church celebrates Christmas and when the posts weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays canceled. The word Christmas Eve (or "sochevnik") comes from the word "sochivo" - traditional food in Russia of boiled wheat with honey and raisins, is now usually replaced with rice, which was made to cook Epiphany "eve".
Epiphany Eve - the day of strict fasting on the eve of the Epiphany - used for the preparation of the faithful to one of the major religious holidays. In itself Epiphany January 19 Orthodox Church remembers how at the age of 30 years, Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized in water by John the Baptist. At the time, when the Savior was coming out of the water, the world, according to Scripture, was revealed to the Holy Trinity: God the Son, God the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ as a dove, and God the Father, to witness to Christ from heaven.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is traditionally made in these days of worship in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow Yelokhovo Cathedral. But this time, as reported by RIA Novosti press-secretary of the primate of the priest Alexander Volkov, the patriarch can not take part in the celebration as "undergoing treatment due to colds."
Baptism and folk traditions
The people also have a tradition of bathing on Epiphany. In the evening of January 18 priests and parishioners of many temples are sent to the pond, where the pre-cut through the ice (usually in the form of a cross), and with a prayer three times immersed in water. In memory of the Jordan River, the waters of which Christ was baptized, these are called the hole of Jordan.
Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary Archpriest Maxim Kozlov, referring to the massive "Epiphany" bathing, recalls that "when winter swimming or diving in very cold springs in the human body is a release of endorphins and there comes a feeling of delight and happiness."
Kozlov told RIA Novosti, many "are looking for exactly this - a certain emotional make-up when they try to join the Epiphany bathing." Thus, in Russia are immersed in "the Jordan" - specially built font, then, for example, in Greece there is a tradition, "the young man jumping over a cross which the priest throws in sea water, and compete to see who would get it first."
"All of this - the people's folklore continue the theological meaning of the holiday, which for us is primarily the remembrance of the Baptism of the Savior by John in the Jordan River and the new experience of the gift of Baptism, through which the Saviour gives us the opportunity to enter into the church," - said the priest.
Cut through and fonts across Russia
According to the Emergencies Ministry, this year about 1,5 million people throughout Russia can take part in Epiphany bathing, it is planned to open more than 3,5 thousand places for swimming. Public order and safety will provide more than 9 thousand personnel of the rescue department, more than 2,5 thousand pieces of equipment and about 500 small boats.
At the same time the number of participants in the capital Epiphany bathing, according to journalists the deputy head of the territorial body of the Ministry of Emergency Measures Vladimir Volkov, can make more than 140 thousand. Total 59 prepared places for ritual bathing Epiphany, which is equipped with the same number of cut through and 10 fonts. hot drink items, room for heating, toilets and parking are also organized.
Plunge into the water it will be possible, including in the Big Pond, the Palace, Tsaritsyno and Troparevsky ponds. Bathing in Moscow will begin in January 18 18.00 since.
For comparison, last year at Epiphany bathing in the country took part in almost 2 million. Security measures then provide more 35 thousand people (including from the Russian Emergencies Ministry - over 10 thousand rescuers), serious accidents were recorded. In Moscow, a venue for the ceremony Epiphany bathing in 2016 133 was attended by about thousand citizens.