Vladimir Putin Strips for Jesus ... And Frozen Lake Dip

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks to take a dip in the water during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations at Lake Seliger.

Epiphany is an important Christian holiday, which is celebrated on January 6 by Catholics and on January 19 by Orthodox denominations.

The Associated Press reported that Russian TV stations and reporters were present as cameras caught Putin dunking and crossing himself in Lake Seliger in the northwestern region of Russia.

In Orthodox tradition, believers immerse themselves in rivers and lakes to commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

In the video, he can be seen blessing himself as he lowers himself into the water wearing only his swimming trunks.

Authorities set up bathing sites for believers all over Russian Federation, including some areas in Siberia where temperatures dipped below -30 C (-22 F). In Russia and other Orthodox countries, the twelfth day after Christmas marks the Biblical revelation of Jesus as the son of God to the three wise men.

It was the first time that Putin had participated in the ritual, although his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later claimed that he had been "plunging into an ice hole for a number of years now". These pictures actually appeared in a 2018 Putin calendar which also saw him cuddling a kitten. In August 2009, a bare-chested Putin was pictures riding a horse during a Siberian holiday.

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