Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Mass Baptisms in Rivers Are Common in Russia - a Photo Essay

Priests and bishops roll up their sleeves and walk into rivers in their vestments. Hundreds of people of all ages--babies, youth, adults and the elderly--follow them into the water


This article originally appeared on a new site about the Christian renaissance in Russia, called Russian Faith. Their introductory video is at end of this article.


In recent years, mass baptisms have returned to Russia, necessitated by the mass return to Christianity of the nation after the fall of the Soviet Union. 

Priests and bishops roll up their sleeves and walk into rivers in their vestments. Hundreds of people of all ages--babies, youth, adults and the elderly--follow them into the water, and the priest submerges each one into the water three times. The submerging into the water and reemerging into the sunlight symbolizes the death and resurrection of Christ. 

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

At a time when many Christian churches are steadily losing their faithful to atheism or indifference, the sight is truly astounding.

Increasingly--and very symbolically--the day reserved form many mass baptisms has increasingly become July 28th, the day when Russians celebrate the anniversary of the baptism of Rus into Orthodox Christianity.

The national conversion occurred in 988, when Prince Vladimir, the Ruler of Russia, decreed that all those, who 'his friends' to be baptized into the Christian Faith. The significance and repercussions of this moment in the formation of Russia cannot be overstated. (See Putin Reaffirm Russia’s Commitment To Defend Christianity during this year's celebrations)

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

The growing tradition of mass baptisms in the rivers for the Feast of the Baptism of Rus, according to priest Alexander Volkov, spokesman for the head of the Russian Church, is a "positive idea."

He also stressed that Patriarch Kyril has been very insistent upon establishing structures that would help prepare people for baptism, in order to avoid shallow and thoughtless conversions. 

To become a member of the Church, you need to attend several learning sessions that include talking to a priest and studying the Holy Scripture.

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

"Preparing people for entering the Church is very important. In that sense, we will probably witness this new practice of massive baptism in the time period close to the Day of Baptism of Rus, July 28th, grow and increase in many dioceses of our Church. I think that, in principle, this a step in the right direction"  Volkov said.

Mass baptisms did indeed take place in different regions of the country in the end of July. A large one, for example, was held in the far east of Russia and in Ekaterinburg (footage below from Ekaterinburg).

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

This ceremony is also very popular in the southern regions of Russia.

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!


A video introducing Russian Faith


Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.