© RIA Novosti / Igor Maslov
More than 30 baptismal fonts, ice holes used for water consecration on Epiphany Day, will be organized in Yakutia this year, despite the 50-degree frost in some regions of the republic. It is assumed that about 60 thousand people will take part in bathing; the frost does not frighten them. Fonts are planned to be organized on the Lena River, the Pole of Cold and on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
The font at the Pole of Cold and "warm" -36 in Yakutsk
“This year for the first time in history, a font on the river was organized in the city of Verkhoyansk (competes with Oymyakon for the title of the Pole of Cold - ed.). Our priest arrived there and reported that it is minus 53," told RIA Novosti secretary of the Yakut diocese, hieromonk Nikandr (Gorbatyuk).
According to him, bathing in the Lena River in Yakutsk begins on January 18, after the Great Consecration of the Water by the Archbishop of Yakutsk and Lensky Roman. An hour after the ritual, mass bathings begin. This tradition has been existing for more than 10 years. In Yakutsk on January 19, the weather forecast for the day is 36 degrees below zero, which is considered to be warm weather for this time of year.
According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, this year about 60 thousand people will take part in Epiphany bathing in Yakutia. Last year, 65 thousand Yakutia residents plunged into the ice-hole, 43 thousand of them - residents of Yakutsk.
The Arctic Ocean will be consecrated
The northernmost village of Yakutia is Tiksi. It is located on the shore of the Laptev Sea, which belongs to the group of marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean. Last year, the priest Dionisy Bondarenko from the Seraphim-Nikolsky temple in the village of Tiksi performed Great Blessing of the waters of the Laptev Sea. Then, despite the blizzard and severe frost, many believers not only came to worship, but plunged into the sea.
"We now have our permanent priest in Tiksi, and we hope that he will support last year's undertaking and the ocean will be consecrated through the waters of the sea," the hieromonk Nikandr said.
"We do not urge parishioners to dip in. We encourage them to come to the temple on that day, to consecrate water and take part in worship," he said.
He stressed that baptismal bathing is a tradition; someone from the Yakut people does it not for the first time, someone for the first time. In recent years, foreigners have appeared among the parishioners of the temple. People travel through Yakutia and enter the church, there are students who study at the university, and English speech is heard more and more often. Whether they venture to support the Russian tradition is not yet known.