Zelensky wants to cancel Orthodox Christmas date


Eastern Europe


Worshippers light candles during an Orthodox Christmas service in Kyiv. Photo AFP, Sameer Al-Doumy

Christmas at December 25th. If it is up to Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, Christmas should no longer be celebrated on January 7, as most Eastern Orthodox Churches do.

On Wednesday, Zelensky submitted a proposal to abolish January 7 as Christmas day and replace it by December 25, in line with the Western churches. The bill also wants to change the dates of Statehood Day and Defenders Day. These holidays also coincide with the traditional Orthodox holidays: the Day of the Baptism of Russia and the Intercession of the Virgin, respectively. That is reported by SPHZ.


Zelensky referred to an earlier decision of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which seceded from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP). He pointed out that the former will switch in September from the Julian Calendar, which is usual for Orthodox Churches, to the Gregorian Calendar, which is used by Western churches.

In addition, the Ukrainian Statehood Day, which celebrates Ukraine's independence, and the Day of Defenders, associated with Ukrainian military traditions on the Day of the Intercession of Saint Theotokos, are postponed from July 28 to July 15 and from October 14 to October 1.

Zelensky's proposal fits within the current trend of Ukrainian churches that distance themselves more and more from the Russian Orthodox Church. Since the outbreak of the war, Orthodox churches in Ukraine have conformed themselves bit by bit to the traditions of Western churches.



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