February 9, 2023

A person reacts to the icy water throughout the Orthodox Christian banquet of Epiphany on Jan. 19, 2022 in Kyiv’s Obolon district. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

Dozens of other people plunged into the icy waters of the Dnipro River on Jan. 19 in Kyiv’s northern district of Obolon to have fun Epiphany. 

A lady reacts after taking a dip in icy water throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations of Epiphany on Jan. 19, 2022 in Kyiv’s Obolon district. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
Clergymen bless the water within the Dnipro River throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations at Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

The custom to wash within the freezing water of a river or lake comes from a well-liked trust that on at the present time, the water brings well being and even washes away one’s sins.

Other people stroll into the icy waters of the Dnipro River throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations at Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
Other people get dressed after swimming within the chilly waters of the Dnipro River throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations in Kyiv on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

In recent times, the belief of this ritual in Ukraine has been converting. Some indicate that the custom isn’t local to Ukraine, and has been followed from Russia within the twentieth Century. In mild of Russia’s battle in opposition to Ukraine, which has been ongoing since 2014, the topic turns into delicate. 

A lifeguard seems to be at guy as he dips into the icy waters of the Dnipro River throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations in Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
A person prays as he dips into the Dnipro River throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations in Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been vocal in its objections to the washing custom. The church used to be established in 2019 as an unbiased Ukrainian church, a substitute for the Moscow Patriarchate-governed church which used to be up to now the most important in Ukraine.

A clergyman sprinkles believers with holy water throughout the Orthodox Epiphany carrier on the Dnipro River in Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

Whilst the Orthodox Church of Ukraine opposes the washing custom, the Russia-backed church, which nonetheless stays standard in Ukraine, actively encourages it. The party in Obolon used to be arranged by means of some of the native church buildings from the Russia-backed Orthodox church.

A person takes a dip into the Dnipro River throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations in Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
A person dips into the Dnipro River throughout the Epiphany Day celebrations at Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

The apply comes with some possibility: a 52-year previous guy used to be discovered drowned lately after taking an icy dip close to the city of Fastiv in Kyiv Oblast, consistent with a police file.

Clergymen take part within the Orthodox Epiphany carrier on the Dnipro River in Kyiv’s Obolon district on Jan. 19, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
A person takes a dip in icy water throughout the Orthodox Christian banquet of Epiphany on Jan. 19, 2022 in Kyiv’s Obolon district. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)