Ukraine Changes National Date of Christmas in Further Separation from Russia

July 31, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law Friday changing the national date of Christmas to December 25, further separating Ukrainian culture from Russia. 

Russia’s Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7 in line with the Julian calendar, as did the Orthodox Church of Ukraine until this past week. 

The December 25 date is marked by the Gregorian calendar recognized by the West. 

The law Zelensky signed also impacts the dates of two other Ukrainian holidays, as well.

Ukraine was given permission by the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide to undertake a schism and form a church independent of Moscow in 2019, though many parishes, especially in the east of Ukraine, had elected to remain loyal to Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow the at the time. Since Russia’s February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine, though, more than 400 parishes have left the Moscow-affiliated church.

Further, the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, last year condemned Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. 

PHOTO: Christmas Caroling in Lviv, Ukraine 2012

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