While many in the United States believe that Christmas has come and gone, a sizable population of Christians in the world will be celebrating the holy day this Saturday.
A photo of the interior of the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection and Chapel of St Innocent of Irkutsk in New York City.
Due to a difference in calendars, Jan. 6 marks Christmas Eve for many Orthodox churches and Christmas will be celebrated on Saturday.
Archimandrite Christopher Calin, dean of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection, explained why so many Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas later than most other people.
“The majority of the Orthodox churches worldwide use the Julian calendar, created under the reign of Julius Caesar in 45 BC, and have not adopted the Gregorian calendar, proposed by Latin Pope Gregory of Rome in 1582,” said Calin.
There are 13 days in difference between the two calendars, the Gregorian calendar being the one long adopted by Western nations.
“December 25 on the Julian calendar actually falls on January 7 on the Gregorian calendar. So strictly speaking, Christmas is still kept on December 25, which just happens to fall 13 days later on the Julian calendar,” said Calin.
For Orthodox Christians who have adopted the Gregorian calendar, Christmas falls on Dec. 25 as it does for others, and Jan. 6 marks the Epiphany, a Christian holiday that celebrates the revelation of God the son as a human being in Jesus. For those remaining on the Julian calendar, the Epiphany is celebrated on Jan. 19.
Adoption of the Gregorian calendar among Orthodox churches varies among jurisdictions within the denomination. Though many Orthodox in the United States have made the switch, former Soviet Union and Middle Eastern churches tend towards the “Old Calendar.”
Source: Christian Post | Michael Gryboski