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Zelensky signs law moving Christmas in Ukraine to Dec. 25

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 28, 2023 6:18 PM 1 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky in his office in Kyiv on July 21, 2023. (Photo: President's Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law on July 28 changing the date of the Christmas state holiday in Ukraine from Jan. 7 to Dec. 25 as part of the efforts to "renounce Russian heritage," the president said.

As further changes, the Day of Ukrainian Statehood will be moved from July 28 to July 15, and Oct. 1 will mark the Day of Ukraine's Defenders and the Day of Intercession of the Holy Mother of God instead of Oct. 14.

On July 27, the independent (autocephalous) Orthodox Church of Ukraine adopted the revised Julian calendar, with the change taking effect on Sep. 1. The revised Julian calendar currently coincides with the Gregorian calendar.

This means that the date of religious celebrations of Christmas will move from Jan. 7 to Dec. 25.

Until recently, both the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Ukrainian Greek Catholics had used only the older version of the Julian calendar, also used by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Roman Catholics use the Gregorian calendar, while the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and most other autocephalous (independent) Orthodox churches use the revised Julian calendar, which currently coincides with the Gregorian calendar.

Previously the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Ukrainian Greek Catholics had celebrated Christmas only on Jan. 7 - the same day as Russia. Most Orthodox churches and Roman Catholics celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25.

The developments come amid a backlash against the Russian Orthodox Church's Ukrainian branch.

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