Vladimir Putin Strips for Jesus ... And Frozen Lake Dip

1/19/2018 6:44 AM PST

Vladimir Putin Takes Dip into Icy Lake for Orthodox Ritual

Vladimir Putin is not losing his religion -- he IS getting half naked for it though ... in public.

The Russian President took off a perfectly warm sheepskin coat and boots to take a dip in an icy lake about 250 miles north of Moscow. He wasn't alone. Putin was commemorating the baptism of Jesus in Orthodox Christian tradition ... and people do it all over Russia every year.

This was the first time Putin publicly marked the Epiphany.

His favorite horse was spared from the bone-chilling tradition.