More than 100 Russian Orthodox believers have been hospitalized after drinking holy water during Epiphany celebrations in the eastern city of Irkutsk, authorities in Siberia said.
A spokesman for local investigators told The Associated Press on Monday that 117 people, including 48 children, are in the hospital complaining of acute intestinal pain after drinking water from wells around a local church last week.
A total of 204 people required some medical treatment, although it is too early to say what caused the illness, Vladimir Salovarov said.
Many Russians consider any water obtained on Epiphany — which they celebrate on Jan. 19 — to be holy.
The water is typically bottled for consumption later. Tap water in most of Russia is undrinkable.