Ukrainian orthodox Christians observe Christmas in December for the first time

| Updated: 14 December, 2023 8:31 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Ukraine’s legislative move to shift its official Christmas holiday from January 7 to December 25 marks a strategic divergence from the Russian Orthodox Church’s customs, aligned with Russia’s traditions. The war-torn country is shifting from its invaders’ tradition, getting closer to its western ally.

The bill, passed by Ukraine’s parliament and signed into law by President Volodymyr Zelensky, signifies a departure from the Russian heritage of celebrating Christmas in January. Its proponents aim to reassert Ukraine’s autonomy in embracing its unique traditions and festivities.

READ MORE: Biden shot Western Europe in the foot through his Ukraine war – THE NEW INDIAN

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region in 2014, a significant portion of Ukraine’s Orthodox community has distanced itself from Moscow, amplifying the shift away from Russian influence.

Father Mykola Matwijiwskyj, apostolic administrator of Britain’s London-based Greek Catholic eparchy, emphasised that the essence of traditions remains unchanged, only shifting the Christmas celebration to late December instead of January. “The traditions will remain the same, and we’re planning to do everything as in the past — just in late December rather than January,” he said to a Florida based news outlet.

READ MORE: Move to deter India: Canadian PM Trudeau on India’s alleged link to Nijjar’s killing – THE NEW INDIAN

“The Western calendar has already been used for years in much of the Ukrainian Catholic diaspora, and this formal change has been accepted by Ukrainians at home and abroad,” he added.

The rift between the Orthodox branches escalated due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, with Patriarch Kirill of Russia’s Orthodox Church endorsing the invasion, framing it as a cultural clash between Russian values and Western liberalism.

The legislation formalises practices already adopted by some Ukrainian churches, including the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Ukraine’s main Greek Catholic church, which initiated celebrations on December 25 last year.

READ MORE: Geopolitical dimensions of BRICS – THE NEW INDIAN

Also Read Story

Kuwait fire: 40 Indians dead, many injured; Jaishankar ‘shocked’

Pak-made medicines, food items recovered from Kathua encounter site

CISF officer administers CPR, saves passenger’s life at IGI Airport

Chandrababu Naidu takes oath as Andhra Pradesh CM