The chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, did not recommend that believers participate in traditional baptismal bathing. He believes that under coronavirus pandemic it won’t have a positive effect.
– I think it is unlikely that many people will dive into the hole this year, – Metropolitan Hilarion said on the air of the TV channel “Russia 24“. – I personally decided for myself not to dive into the hole this year. And I think that now is not the time when you should test your body in this way
He also clarified that Epiphany bathing is not a church ritual or prescription. For bathing – only the own initiative of the participants.
But in a situation where the virus is rampant, and many have a weakened body due to the disease, Metropolitan Hilarion does not recommend any Orthodox believer to dive into the hole.
Orthodox Christians celebrate the day of the Baptism of the Lord on January 19. This is one of the most ancient Christian holidays. In Russia, it is usually accompanied by mass bathing in Epiphany holes.