By Kostas Onisenko
The Russians should not dive for the Cross on the Epiphany because of the pandemic. This view was expressed by the Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, on the Russian channel “Россия 24,” noting that this custom is not mentioned in the scriptures but it is an initiative of the faithful. This custom takes place every year on the night of January 18-19 and is very popular among Russians.
“In the current situation, when the virus is spreading, when the body of many people has weakened due to an illness, I would not recommend any of the Orthodox believers to dive into the icy water. (…) This is not a time for testing our organism in such a way,” said Metropolitan Hilarion, adding that he will not observe this custom this year.