On Jan 19, church members gather for submerging themselves in icy rivers, ponds, or lakes / REUTERS

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko has submerged himself in freezing water of an ice hole near Kyiv's Druzhby Narodiv Park as part of an Epiphany ritual observed by Orthodox Christians on January 19.

He shared a respective video on Facebook.

Read alsoOrthodox Christians mark Epiphany with freezing plunges – media

The air temperature was minus 19 degrees Celsius (66.2°F) at that moment.

"I'm abiding by the rituals and in the morning I plunged into the ice hole. This time it was near Druzhby Narodiv Park. But remember: It is better not to dive amid severe frosts when the body isn't prepared. Happy Epiphany! Take care of yourself!" he wrote.

Epiphany rituals

  • The feast of Epiphany marks the end of the 12 days of Orthodox Christmas (January 7) according to the Julian calendar and is one of the biggest holidays in the Christian world to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.
  • Every year on January 19, church members gather for submerging themselves in special areas dug out of icy rivers, ponds, or lakes.