Russia’s Putin takes Epiphany’s icy plunge with Orthodox pilgrims

Russian President Vladimir Putin braves the minus 5 degrees C water to take the annual traditional ritual marking the baptism of Jesus.(Reuters)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Russia’s Putin takes Epiphany’s icy plunge with Orthodox pilgrims

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and many Orthodox pilgrims braved a bitter winter snap overnight to take the annual plunge into icy water in a traditional ritual marking the baptism of Jesus.
In some areas, the extreme temperatures — which in parts of Siberia dropped to minus 68 degrees Celsius (minus 90 Fahrenheit) — the local authorities canceled the rite which marks Epiphany.
Surrounded by Orthodox priests and glittering religious icons, and with the temperature hovering around minus 5 degrees C, Putin lowered himself into the freezing waters of Lake Seliger some 350 kilometers northwest of Moscow.
Many other Russians followed suit, submerging themselves in the freezing waters in a widely-observed ritual normally observed on 18-19 of January and which last year saw two million people take the plunge.
In Norilsk, a city beyond the Arctic Circle, local authorities on Thursday banned the extreme bathing rite “for security reasons” as temperatures hit minus 52 Celsius and strong winds whipped up a blizzard, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Many faithful also marked the date in neighboring Ukraine and Belarus, both of which are also predominantly Orthodox, local media said.
According to Orthodox tradition, worshippers are supposed to immerse themselves three times — in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit — to remember the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.
To mark the occasion, Orthodox priests also go out to bless rivers and reservoirs, and even bodies of water like the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.


Priyanka Chopra, soon to be Jonas? Either way, she’s got the rock

Updated 16 August 2018
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Priyanka Chopra, soon to be Jonas? Either way, she’s got the rock

  • Nick Jonas and Chopra were first seen together at the Met Gala in May 2017
  • Jonas, who was one third of the Jonas Brothers before he went solo, has already traveled to Mumbai to meet Chopra’s family

DUBAI: Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, who reportedly got engaged to American singer Nick Jonas on her birthday last month, is sporting what appears to be a sizeable rock on her ring finger to prove it.

The photo of the sparkler was impossible not to spot in group photos posted on Instagram on Wednesday by Sophie Choudry and in close-ups with Raveena Tandon, in which the “Quantico” star has wrapped her left hand with said rock around Tandon’s shoulder rather purposefully. 

Tandon, Chopra’s friend and fellow actress, wrote: “Peecee and I getting our pouts in order!” Could they be practicing for the wedding photos?

Dressed in a saffron yellow pantsuit, Chopra attended a party at designer Manish Malhotra’s residence Tuesday night with other Bollywood stars. An engagement party in Mumbai is rumored to be in the works for this weekend, where it’s expected the couple will make an announcement. 

Jonas, who was one third of the Jonas Brothers before he went solo, has already traveled to Mumbai to meet Chopra’s family. It will be a busy wedding season, as his older brother Joe is also engaged, to Sophie Turner, who plays Sensa Stark on “Game of Thrones.”

Jonas and Chopra were first seen together at the Met Gala in May 2017. Earlier this summer, she traveled to New Jersey to attend his cousin’s wedding in New Jersey. He reportedly shut down Tiffany & Co. in London to buy the ring in July.

It seems they’re well-suited: Both Jonas and Chopra do charity work. He and his brothers started Change for the Children Foundation to raise awareness about diabetes, a condition which he has, while she is a global goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and has the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. 

If all of this sounds like another couple whose nuptials were recently in the headlines, that’s no surprise. Chopra is the friend of Meghan Markle, and watched her and Prince Harry tie the knot in Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel in May. 

Chopra may have even been inspired by the royal wedding: “Every once in a while there is a moment when time stands still,” she wrote on her Instagram account. “You, my friend, were the epitome of grace, love and beauty… Thank you for being the perfect picture of all things good. Seeing your union and love blessed in front of my eyes made me so happy.”