Voices from Russia

Saturday, 12 January 2013

12 January 2013. A Photo Essay. It Happened on Orthodox Christmas in 2013…

00a Orthodox Christmas 2013. Jerusalem. Patriarch Theophilos. 12.01.13

Most Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on 7 January. Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos Giannopoulos of Jerusalem served on Christmas Eve in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in Palestine.

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00b Orthodox Christmas 2013. Cairo. Patriarch Tawadros. 12.01.13

Coptic Orthodox believers came to St Mark Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo for a service led by newly-elected Patriarch Tawadros Sulayman of Alexandria and all Africa.

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00c Orthodox Christmas 2013. Ethiopia. 12.01.13

Ethiopian Orthodox believers celebrated the holiday.

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00d Orthodox Christmas 2013. Serbia. Badnjak. 12.01.13

In Šabac, west of the Serbian capital of Belgrade in Mačva Okrug (Šumadija and Western Serbia Region), believers took part in the badnjak, a traditional Serb Christmas Eve custom.

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00e Orthodox Christmas 2013. Belarus. Verbovichi. 12.01.13

Believers in Verbovichi (Gomel Oblast. Narovlya Raion), a town south-east of the Belarusian capital of Minsk, at Christmas services. Most Orthodox Christians follow the Julian Calendar for calculating the feasts of the Church Year. There isn’t any such thing as the “Revised Julian Calendar”… that’s just a cobbled-together pseudo-intellectual abortion consisting of the Julian Calendar for calculating Easter and the Gregorian Calendar for fixed feasts… neither fish nor fowl, it isn’t defensible in scholarly terms, nor is it logically-sound in its argument or application, and it shows a lack of charity towards the faithful majority of Orthodox believers who continue to follow the Received Tradition.

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00f Orthodox Christmas 2013. Russia. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Patr Kirill. 12.01.13

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias served at Christmas at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow (he visited Maternity Home nr 3 afterwards to bring holiday cheer to the mothers, families, and staff).

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00g Orthodox Christmas 2013. Russia. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Dmitri Medvedev. 12.01.13

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev was amongst the believers that attended Christmas services at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

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00h Orthodox Christmas 2013. Russia. Krasnoyarsk. 12.01.13

Fireworks were part of the celebrations outside the newly-built Church of the Nativity of Christ in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.

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00i Orthodox Christmas 2013. Gaza. Palestine. 12.01.13

In Gaza, Greek Orthodox believers attended Christmas service at St Porfirios Church.

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Over 80 percent of all Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on its traditional date. The rest should reconsider their position. Don’t you want to be in union with the rest of Christ’s Church? What the heterodox do is of no moment to us… they do what they do, and that’s that, and it has NO relevance to the Church. There are three midwinter holidays called “Christmas”:

  • Xmas: C S Lewis used this term for the secular midwinter holiday… it’s a good distinction. When most people wish you “Merry Christmas”, this is what they refer to. Show them kindness and charity… say, “Thank you, and the same to you and yours”. Orthodox can keep this as a secular holiday… we keep all the rest of ‘em like the Fourth of July, Fête du Canada, Australia Day, and the May Day Bank Holiday, don’t we? In any case, to give your kids some gifts on this date is good, as it allows them not to feel out-of-place amongst their mates at school. It’s a secular bank-holiday… keep it as such.
  • Catholic Christmas: This is the 25 December religious holiday. The Proddies keep this date, too, as they’re the bastard children of Rome. This is a heterodox celebration, and the Church enjoins us to show respect to other religions and their believers. If you’re wished “Merry Christmas” in this sense, again, show charity (for that’s what Christ’s Church COMMANDS you to do), and say, “Thank you, and the same to you and yours”. Many religious people will be hip to the fact that Orthodox Christmas is a different day. Be kind… show respect to their holy day. Oh… don’t forget to break the opłatek with the Soloniewiczs down the street and get the scungilli and calamari for Nona Sophia next-door (she’ll call ‘em scungil and calamad in Sicilian). You might get an invite to the feast… accept and show your gratitude… that’s what real true-blue down n’ dirty Christians do.
  • Orthodox Christmas: This is on 7 January on the civil calendar for the rest of this century (it’ll be 8 January in 2100). Most Eastern and Oriental Orthodox believers keep this date; this is Orthosphere Christmas. Don’t you wish that all of us celebrated together on this day?

If you’re not keeping Orthodox Christmas… you should. Most Orthodox who follow Catholic Christmas are guiltless… they didn’t decide to do such… that was the work of notional and misguided heretics such as Meletios Metaxakis and Aleksandr Schmemann. All Russian Orthodox believers in the diaspora should follow the Mother Church… we should not only celebrate when she celebrates, we should be as one, and scrap all the foolish divisions that split us now. The OCA, Paris Exarchate, ROCOR, and MP Abroad are false and pernicious artificial constructs. We should be as one, under the omofor of our Mother Church. God willing, that day will be soon…

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