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Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Press Secretary
Nataliya Devyataykina

The Epiphany was celebrated in the Uglegorsk region by traditional dipping into the Jordan

Several dozens of local residents of Uglegorsk district made their thrice-repeated plunging into water during the first two hours after the onset of the Baptism of Jesus Christ day. The weather this year on the Baptism of Jesus Christ day turned out to be not so frosty. In the night-time the stem of thermometer in Nadezhdino did not descend below -14 – 15 oC. At the same time the water in Nadezhdinka river, where the platform for sanctification of water was made, is presumably the same both in winter and in summer, i.e. +2 oC. When making the ice-hole the workers had to cut ice approximately 75 cm in thickness.

According to reports of the "Uglegorsk news", Mr. Sergei Astakhov, the Principal of the Sakhalin secondary mining school, initiated the construction of the platform for sanctification of water. Eight years ago he put together the team of likeminded people: students, teachers, foremen of vocational training, who were the first here to cut the ice-hole for mass baptismal bathing. This year the local authorities (administration of Uglegorsk urban district, and the East Mining Company, i.e. the backbone enterprise and Sakhalin secondary mining school) took a fundamental approach when organizing the construction of the platform.

Due to the remoteness of the place for baptization, the East Mining Company has furnished the transportation services in favour of everyone wishing to attend. In the night-time the buses took the passengers from both Uglegorsk and Shakhtersk cities. Everyone was prevented from cold injury. The heated pavilion was opened near the ice-hole, where everyone who wished to do so could have a hot cup of great willow herb tea, some cookies or just to get warm. The providers noted that more than 100 liters of great willow herb tea were taken per one day.

Many people, those who came at night in Nadezhdino, positively appraised the providers' efforts. As a matter of fact, besides the organization of safe standing of people near the river, literally everything was thought out: the highlighting of the platform for sanctification of water, the site’s clearing, warming station, changing rooms and lighting of territory. The preparation was rather well-structured.

After three o'clock, the water was sanctified by Anatoly, the Archpriest and the Father Superior of the Uglegorsk Orthodox Church in the name of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. Following that, those who came by buses from Uglegorsk and Shakhtersk cities began taking the sanctified water in containers, bathing their faces and hands.

Some of those who arrived at night on 19 January to Nadezhdinka river, when looking at their friends and relatives being cheered up after bathing in icy holy waters, also decided to bathe. For instance, Ms. Tatiana Makarenko put aside her video camera, pulled off her fur coat and also participated in this Christian ceremony by bathing in holy icy waters.

Immediately after the festal Liturgy in the Church, Ms. Anna Orlova, the emergency physician of the Uglegorsk Central District Hospital, arrived to the river side. On 19 January she has a double holiday: the Epiphany Day and the birthday of her daughter, Victoria.

Anna told us that last year she plunged into the holy water for the first time and it was so encouraging for her that she will prepare herself thoroughly for the next Epiphany Day by engaging herself in cold water treatment. In the morning she first takes hot shower and then immediately cold shower. Anna feels herself just fantastic!

Ms. Vera Usova, the eldest person among those who bathed that night in the river, experienced liveliness and burst of energy after plunging into the icy waters. She will be in her 71 years in 10 days. However, she is one of the most optimistic persons. Approximately half a century she has worked as laboratory worker in the district hospital, but even now she is full of enthusiasm and cheerfulness.