Home Europe Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas in Europe and beyond

Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas in Europe and beyond

by editor

A variety of traditions mark Christmas Day, which falls on 7 January for the Orthodox faith.


Orthodox Christians in Europe and the wider world packed churches on Saturday night for Christmas Eve services.

Traditions vary, but typically the main worship service for Orthodox Christians takes place the night before Christmas Day, which falls on 7 January. 

The date is taken from the Julian calendar proposed by Roman dictator, Julius Caesar and is observed by many Orthodox Christians.

In Bethlehem, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem led Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity.

In Moscow, the Russian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Kirill  – or Cyril – led the Divine Liturgy service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

In his Christmas message, Kirill spoke about sacrificial love, noting that Jesus Christ “saved us from the wrong path in life, from the wrong life orientation.” 

He also called for prayers for Russia, so that “no alien evil will could disrupt the peaceful flow of life.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was joined by families of military personnel who have died in the war in Ukraine at Christmas Eve services at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence, in the western suburbs of Moscow.

In Belgrade, Serbian believers marked the Orthodox Christmas Eve by burning oak branches at sermons held outside churches and temples.

Many residents in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, celebrated the feast of Epiphany on the eve of the Orthodox Christmas by diving into the cold Dnipro River.

Thousands of worshipers dived into the wintry waters of rivers and lakes across Bulgaria to retrieve crucifixes cast by priests during Epiphany ceremonies.

The legend goes that the person who retrieves the wooden cross from the river will be freed from evil spirits and will be healthy throughout the year. 

Epiphany marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas, but not all Orthodox Christian churches celebrate it on the same day.

Source link

Related Posts