The monopoly of the West: why do Christians celebrate Christmas

© RIA Novosti / Ilya Petliurite in photobacteria Catholic Christmas in MoscowThe monopoly of the West: why do Christians celebrate Christmas© RIA Novosti / Ilya Petliurite the image Bank

Decorated Christmas tree, ruddy Turkey and fancy boxes with gifts — this Hollywood paraphernalia associated with Christmas, even the Russians, who say it is not December 25. At the same time in the mass consciousness of this holiday have long been divided on Catholic and Orthodox Christmas. Whether so it actually and whether Christians around the world ever celebrate it in one day — in the material RIA Novosti.

Double Christmas

In its architecture and atmosphere of the historic center of the city, a typical Western European city: narrow streets, rectangular tower with a clock and held tightly to each other at home. And in December, the center of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine slowly acquires all the Christmas lights.

A third of the population of Lviv, the Greek Catholics (Uniates). What was the surprise of the parishioners of one of the Uniate churches, when 24 Dec I asked: «what time tomorrow will begin the Christmas service?» It turned out, the Greek Catholics celebrate Christmas on the same day with the Orthodox — January 7.

The event is truly unique — the same festival at the same level, there is two times. The authorities of Ukraine there is a simple explanation: to celebrate Christmas, «along with most civilized countries».

«According to all sociological polls, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. It was not until the election of these deputies, so it will be after them,» — said in an interview with «Vesti» the head of the outreach Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Kliment of Irpen.

«One of the compromises»

Meanwhile, December 25, Christmas masses are held in churches, 10 of the 15 local Orthodox churches of the world. However, this order of things was established, by the standards of ecclesiastical history, a comparatively recent and had not religious reasons.

«It happened in the XX century. The initiator of the transition to a new Western style was the Patriarch of Constantinople, Meletios II (Metaxakis) who, being in a difficult socio-political situation of the new Turkish state sought help and support the Christians of the West. One of compromises and mutual gestures became and the transition to the Western calendar. It was followed by one way or another focused on the Patriarchate of Constantinople and other local churches,» says the Professor of the Moscow theological Academy Archpriest Maxim Kozlov.

And in order to extinguish the discontent of ordinary believers, it was agreed to make the revised Julian calendar. The fact that the Orthodox did not want to adopt the Catholic calendar, designed in the XVI century by Pope Gregory XIII in order to adjust the growing difference between the astronomical year and calendar. The indignation of the Greek flock «Western innovations» has led even to the fact that one of them is the custom to put the Christmas tree — root in Greek is unusually long, compared to other Orthodox countries.

Calls to move Christmas to December 25 there have been repeated in Russia. In 1923 Patriarch Tikhon, under pressure from the Soviet government issued a decree on transition to a revised Julian calendar. But the believers of this idea have not supported, and in less than a month later the decision was reversed.

However, since the early 1990s, proposals to move the Christmas in the two weeks ahead are constant. They say that during the years of the godless regime in the New year were completely overshadowed by the next Christmas, and the believers will be easier to observe the last — the most severe days of advent.

«I think there is some sense in that we have a New year post. Turned into rampant alcoholism and various other hazardous action, the celebration of the new year holidays, Orthodox Christians still constrained by the factor of advent. Any other special reasons, the transition to the new calendar no. And shifting one holiday, leaving all the rest in the old way, it is impossible from the point of view of the liturgical rubrics,» explains Archpriest Maxim Kozlov.

So the need for the postponement of Christmas on December 25 in the Russian Church, he said, do not see. A two-week difference between the dates, though «somewhat unfortunate from the point of view of the lack of unity among the local Orthodox churches in the world» is not really a serious problem.

© RIA Novosti / Pavel Kamerorkest in the Catholic Cathedral of the TransfigurationThe monopoly of the West: why do Christians celebrate Christmas© RIA Novosti / Pavel Kamerorkest in the Catholic Cathedral of the Transfiguration

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