Until “Christmas” day.. Ukrainians are breaking away from Russia in their own way

Although Ukrainian Orthodox Christians used to celebrate Christmas on January 7, most of the festivities this year began on December 25 after Ukraine’s main Orthodox Church severed its relationship with Moscow and turned its attention to the West.

While the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčcelebrating Christmas in December was until recently settled in Ukraine, the Russian war changed hearts and minds.

This year, the idea won the blessing of the leaders of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which is not in line with the Russian Church, and decided last October to allow its followers to celebrate on December 25th.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church announced its separation from the Russian Church

The choice of date carries clear political and religious connotations in a nation of rival Orthodox churches, and slight revisions to ritual can carry strong significance in a culture war running parallel to the firefight raging in separate parts of Ukraine.

For some, choosing the date of December 25th represents a break with Russia, its culture and religion.

“What began on February 24 as a total invasion of our country is an awakening and an understanding that we can no longer be part of the Russian world,” said Olena Bali, 33, a resident of Pobretsya.

The Russian Orthodox Church, which claims sovereignty over Orthodoxy in Ukraine, and some other Eastern Orthodox churches continue to use the old Julian calendar, seeing that Christmas currently comes 13 days later than it is in the Gregorian calendar used by most churches and secular groups.

And last October, the Synod of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine issued a decree stating that officials of local churches can choose the date with their communities, indicating that the decision came after years of discussion, but it also resulted from the circumstances of the war.

Outside an Orthodox church in the capital Kyiv on December 25, 2022

When a vote was held last week in Pobretsia, 200 out of 204 people agreed to adopt December 25 as the new day for Christmas.

As in all areas of Kyiv, Sunday morning in Pobrytsya started with the sound of sirens from Russian bombing hitting infrastructure, leading to prolonged blackouts, but that didn’t stop people from gathering in the church for Christmas mass on December 25. for the first time.

In his sermon, Rev. Rostislav Korczak used the words “war”, “soldiers” and “evil” more than the words “Jesus” and “Christ”.

Ukraine had religiously followed the Russian spiritual leadership since the seventeenth century at the earliest, but a section of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church defected from Moscow in 2019 against the background of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, which led to the strong protest of the Russian Orthodox Church at the time.

And in May this year, in the third month of the invasion, the Russian-backed branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church also announced its severance of relations with Moscow.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *