Lviv region in Ukraine celebrates Christmas on December 25


Eastern Europe


Ukrainians weared traditional costumes look on or sing Christmas carols during a Christmas celebration in Kyiv. Photo EPA, Sergey Dolzhenko

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Kyiv Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have decided, together with the Lviv regional authorities, to celebrate Christmas on December 25.

The three parties came together for a round table meeting last week. That is reported by Sphz based on a Facebook post by the head of the District Council of Lviv, Khrystyna Zamula.

According to Zamula, the debate around the Christmas date has been ongoing for more than a year already. “But this year, even more believers consider celebrating the holiday with the rest of the civilised world on December 25”, she writes on her Facebook page. Traditionally, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on a different day than the Western churches. Generally, the West celebrated the holiday 13 days before the East. That is because the West uses the Gregorian calendar for the ecclesiastical year, while the East bases its holidays on the Julian calendar.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shifted the attitude towards the date of Christmas in Ukraine. Recently, December 25 was instituted as a national day, Zamula points out. Many Ukrainians have fled to Western European countries, where Christmas is celebrated on December 25. Therefore, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine had already allowed its believers to go with the Western tradition, as CNE.news reported earlier.

By allowing churches to celebrate Christmas on December 25, the OCU and the UGCC leaderships want to study the opinion of the believers themselves. The main problem with changing the calendar is that it affects the whole year, including all other holidays, Zamula writes. At the same time, she thinks that this should not be an insurmountable objection. “I agree that these changes will only be a matter of time and unified steps of the churches”, she states.

Earlier this year, Ukrainian Baptists also decided to switch calendars, CNE.news reported at the time.


On Tuesday, the civil authorities of Lviv also accepted a proposal to ask the Ukrainian Parliament for a ban on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the former sister church of the Russian Orthodox Church. That is reported by Risu.ua. Deputies call to outlaw the activities of UOC, “whose leadership centre is located outside Ukraine in a state recognised by law as having carried out military aggression against Ukraine and temporarily occupied part of the Ukrainian territory.”



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