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A Russian man emerges from cold water on Epiphany near the Troitse-Sergiyev Varnitsky Monastery in Rostov, Russia, some 250 kilometers (150 miles) northeast from Moscow, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year’s celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. The Russian Orthodox Church follows the old Julian calendar, according to which Epiphany falls on Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)