Baptism in the river Jordan

Baptism in the river Jordan

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The holiday of the Epiphany is an annual celebration of the baptism of Christ. To mark the occasion, over a thousand Orthodox Christians flocked this year to the site on the banks of the River Jordan where it is believed John the Baptist performed the ritual on Jesus.

Before the celebration, an Orthodox priest stood holding a dove - the form in which the Bible says the Holy Spirit came to earth when Jesus' baptism took place.

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Slideshow

Christian priests walk in a line down to the river during a mass at the baptism site on the Jordan River.
. River Jordan, Jordan. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Christian priests walk in a line down to the river during a mass at the baptism site on the Jordan River.

Christian Orthodox pilgrims come to attend the mass.
. RIVER JORDAN, Jordan. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Christian Orthodox pilgrims come to attend the mass.

More pilgrims walk to the ceremony.
. River Jordan, Jordan. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

More pilgrims walk to the ceremony.

A believer looks on at the ceremony.
. JERICHO, West Bank. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A believer looks on at the ceremony.

As he sends water flying into the air, the head of the Jordanian Orthodox church Bishop Vindictos blesses worshippers at the mass.
. River Jordan, Jordan. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

As he sends water flying into the air, the head of the Jordanian Orthodox church Bishop Vindictos blesses worshippers at the mass.

Christian pilgrims walk out of the water after the ceremony at the baptismal site.
. JERICHO, West Bank. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Christian pilgrims walk out of the water after the ceremony at the baptismal site.

A worshipper stands submerged in the river water.
. JERICHO, West Bank. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A worshipper stands submerged in the river water.

Orthodox Christian nuns sit with their hands folded as they attend the ceremony.
. JERICHO, West Bank. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Orthodox Christian nuns sit with their hands folded as they attend the ceremony.

Christian return through the dry, scrubby landscape after the ceremony.
. JORDAN RIVER, Jordan. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Christian return through the dry, scrubby landscape after the ceremony.