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 Post subject: Ukraine Orthodox to celebrate Christmas on Dec 25
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2022 3:24 am 
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For centuries Ukrainians have celebrated Christmas on 7 January, the date on which Jesus was born, according to the Julian calendar.

But following Vladimir Putin’s invasion in February, the Orthodox church of Ukraine is allowing its congregations for the first time to celebrate Christmas on 25 December, in a move away from Russia and towards the west.

The issue of when to celebrate Christmas has been a matter of longstanding debate in Ukraine. The church has traditionally observed Christmas on 7 January, at the same time as the Moscow patriarchy, which has blessed Putin’s war. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox church, is a prominent Putin supporter and has said Russian soldiers who are killed will be cleansed of all their sins.

In 2017, 25 December became a public holiday in Ukraine. The country’s Orthodox church has previously allowed prayers to be said on the date. At a meeting of its synod in October, and following requests, the Kyiv Metropolitanate announced that parishes could hold a full religious service on the 25th if they wished. The decision affects about 7,000 churches across the country. In an interview with the Guardian, the church’s spokesperson, archbishop Yevstratiy Zoria, said data would be collected to see how many worshippers attended services on the 25th, which this year falls on a Sunday.

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