The leadership of the Brest Diocese declared its principled position.
This year the church will not sanctify ice-holes on Epiphany day in Brest, the press service of the Brest Diocese told tut.by.
Priest Pavel Yurchenia, the Chairman of the Missionary Department, raised the issue of Epiphany dips on the website of the Brest Diocese. He says that the church milieu believes that the Epiphany dips do not directly relate to the ecclesiastical customs of celebrating the baptism of the Lord, but rather, are part of folk traditions:
"If you look at the feast of the Baptism of the Lord from the point of view of the hierarchy of church values, then bathing on this day will play a very minor role. The church festival mainly encourages us to take part in prayer at the festive worship service, to confess and take communion, if possible, to take baptismal water for sprinkling your homes and other use – this will be in keeping with the true church tradition of celebrating one of the Twelve Great Feasts. Based on this position, it is quite understandable why many clergymen do not attach special importance to bathing on Epiphany day, especially considering that dipping into a hole is just a winter fun and a test of their strength for many people.
The Church does not prohibit dipping on the Epiphany day, if a person is healthy and can afford to dip in cold water in the glory of God and in the memory of the Baptism of the Savior. But at the same time it must be understood that there's no place for drinking alcohol and various superstitions there. After all, you can meet the belief that cold water dipping on the Epiphany day washes away sins, purifies the soul and heals a person for the coming year, etc. Such a belief is quite alien to the church consciousness and turns the people's attitude to it from historicaly based to the pagan one," – Pavel Yurchenya said.