Moscow, Jan 19: In the early hours of Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin submerged himself into the gelid waters of a frozen lake to mark the Epiphany, when the Orthodox Church carries out the great sanctification of the water.
Putin, like many Orthodox Christians across the globe, bathed in the waters of a local lake in a ceremony that in Russia dates back to the 16th century, Efe news reported.
According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, Putin attended a liturgy in the Nilov Monastery, located on an island in the western Seliger Lake, before entering the lake.
Peskov said that this year, temperature was not as extreme as it gets during this time of year in the area. But it was still six or seven degrees below zero.
Putin was seen covered in a thick coat and fur boats which he discarded once he entered the hole cut into the lake's ice.
According to official data, around 1.8 million Russians across the country took part in the ceremony.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Irina Volk said more than 7,300 liturgies were held in Russia between Thursday and Friday.