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Merry Christmas-History of Orthodox Christmas

Christmas greetings

to Orthodox fathers, monks, nuns, friends and colleagues who celebrate the The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ according to the Julian Old calendar.

History of Orthodox Christmas

Тhe difference in the timing of the Christmas celebrations stretches back to 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII, ruled that the Catholic Church should follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was closer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.

The Julian calendar now runs 13 days behind, so Orthodox Christmas falls on January 7th—through 2099; in 2100, when the world next omits a leap year, it will move to January 8th.

The Julian calendar had been established by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.

Because it was the Catholic Pope who ruled on the adoption of the new calendar, many churches not aligned to the papacy ignored it, such as Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox church. Protestants accepted the new calendar in the early 1700s.

In 1922, the patriarch of Constantinople decided that the Gregorian calendar should be followed for the observance of Christmas, but not for Easter, and this edict was followed by many of the other Orthodox churches.

The majority of Orthodox believers, including the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Russian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Macedonian Orthodox Church, Polish Orthodox Church, Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Georgian Orthodox Church and the Mount Athos monks in Greece, celebrate Christmas on January 7th. The churches in Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Greece mark it on December 25th along with other Christian denominations.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Coptic Orthodox Church as well celebrate Christmas according to the old calendar, they do not have Holy Eucharist unity with other Orthodox churches.

The Armenian Orthodox Church observes Christmas Day on January 6th. This was the original date for Christmas until the 4th century, rather than some Julian/Gregorian adjusted date.

It makes no difference which calendar you use to celebrate Christmas. May God bless you every Christmas, no matter what your circumstances are. A Christmas where you can feel his love.


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