Russian Orthodox believers have been hospitalised after drinking holy water
- More than 100 Russian Orthodox believers have been hospitalised after drinking holy water in Irkutsk, Siberia.
Those affected, including 48 children, are being treated in hospital for acute intestinal pain after drinking water from wells around a local church last week.
The believers were celebrating Epiphany (Greek for "appearance", or "revelation"), which is traditionally commemorated by Orthodox Russians on January 19.
Spokesman Vladimir Salovarov said a total of 204 people required some medical treatment. However it is too early to say exactly what caused the illness.
Many Russians consider any water obtained on Epiphany to be holy. The water is typically bottled for consumption later. Tap water in most of Russia is undrinkable.
The Russian Orthodox Church is said to be one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world, second only to the Roman Catholic Church among Christian churches.
It is estimated to have 135 million followers worldwide.