Courageous mayor of Loutraki dives into icy Siberian waters in -20 degree weather for Epiphany (VIDEO)

Loutraki mayor Siberia

Crowds of people dived into icy waters in Siberia to celebrate the Epiphany, and the Mayor of Loutraki-Perachora-Agios Theodoros was no exception either.

Mayor George Gionis dived into the icy waters with the outside temperature at -20 degrees.

Epiphany, also known as Theophany in Eastern Christian traditions, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

In the Orthodox Church, Epiphany celebrates the baptism of Jesus rather than the arrival of the Magi (Three wise men), which is celebrated as Epiphany on 6 January in the Western Church.

In the Orthodox church, with the exception of the Greek Orthodox Church, Epiphany is celebrated on January 19th.

Also known as The Feast of Theophany, this observance commemorates Christ's baptism by John the Forerunner (John the Baptist) in the River Jordan, beginning of Christ's ministry on earth and revealing the Holy Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to mankind.

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Though no date for the baptism is given, it is generally accepted that Jesus was about 30 years old when he was baptised.

In Russia, an increasingly popular tradition is going for a plunge in icy water on either the day of the religious holiday or the evening before. In 2018, some 1.8 million people took part in more than 7,300 ice swimming events.

Though ice swimming was originally a folk custom, many do it today to celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ.

In Ukraine, brave and dedicated celebrants must find a suitable place to cut a cross-shaped hole in the ice over a river or pond – then jump in.

Epiphany is derived from the Greek word 'epiphaneia' and means manifestation.

In religious use, the term means the appearance of an invisible divine being in a visible form.

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