Published: January 19. 2013 4:00AM PST
A man crosses himself while bathing in the ice cold water of the Moskva River, in Moscow on Friday. Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers on Friday and Saturday will plunge into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark the upcoming 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. Moscow temperatures on Friday dropped to 5 degrees.
Mikhail Metzel / The Associated Press