THOUSANDS of Orthodox Christians across Russia and Eastern Europe have been plunging themselves into freezing water as a religious celebration.
Freezing snaps show worshippers across the continent throwing themselves into sub-zero waters to mark Epiphany.
Christians regard Epiphany as the moment Jesus was revealed to the world as the son of God.
It celebrates the visit of the Three Wise Men – and in the Eastern church also commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.
Dipping into the water is seen as a ritual bringing worhippers good health and cleansing them of their sins.
The faithful believe that all water becomes holy on the day of Epiphany.
Some also attribute healing powers to ice water itself.
Many people follow the tradition of retrieving wooden crosses from the rivers and lakes.
Western Christians using the Gregorian calendar mark Epiphany on January 6, the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
In the Orthodox tradition using the Julian calendar, Epiphany is celebrated later on January 19.