Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Moscow Celebrated Despite Coldest Christmas Night “In 120 Years”

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Bitterly cold temperatures didn’t stop worshipers from celebrating Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas. Christian believers across the globe joined in celebrations. Those who attended midnight liturgy at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour had to bundle up for the bitter cold as temperatures in the capital dropped to about -30 (-22 Fahrenheit) on Christmas night. In Moscow Oblast, temperatures dropped below -32 (-26 Fahrenheit). Extremely cold weather hit the whole country, with some regions such as Siberia and Yakutiya recording temperatures of -40 (-40 Fahrenheit). In Moscow, the MChS deployed around 500 emergency personnel to help worshipers. Authorities provided around 200 mobile food tents with hot meals during the Christmas celebrations due to the cold. RIA Novosti quoted a meteorologist from Fobos weather centre:

This Christmas night was the coldest in the last 120 years, although the absolute record was more than 130 years ago in 1881, it was -35 (-31 Fahrenheit).

Frost hits Russia as Christmas Comes for Orthodox Christians (IMAGES)

The Orthodox Church follows the Julian Calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar adopted by the Catholic Church in the 16th Century. This is why Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January, and not on 25 December. The Local Churches of Jerusalem, Serbia, Poland, Czechia/Slovakia, and Georgia, as well as the so-called Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniates) and some Protestants, use the Julian calendar, so they also celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

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On Friday, in Serbia, where temperatures dropped below -15 (+5 Fahrenheit), Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas Eve in front of St Sava Cathedral in Belgrade with a traditional oak log fire.

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In Turkey, Orthodox Christians also joined the celebrations despite sub-zero temperatures. On Friday, believers jumped into the Golden Horn strait in Istanbul in a traditional ceremony celebrating the Orthodox celebration of Epiphany, or the baptism of Christ. Traditionally, Orthodox Epiphany is on 19 January, according to Julian Calendar. However, some Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany on 6 January as they use the Catholic calendar for fixed feasts.

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Orthodox believers in Bulgaria waded into the icy waters of the Tundzha River and danced the Hora, in a traditional male-only event to celebrate Epiphany. The men dressed in folk costumes and dived into the freezing waters to find a crucifix thrown in by the priest, before handing it to the youngest participant of the dance. The folk belief is that the person who retrieves it will be healthy all year.

7 January 2017

RT

https://www.rt.com/news/372902-orthodox-christmas-frost-celebrate/

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A Christmas Wish from Syria

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Merry Christmas to our Russian Orthodox friends who are defending the roots of Christendom and Normal Muslims in the Middle East.

7 January 2017

This is Christian Syria

Facebook

Sputnik Presents: Pray, Sing Carols and Tell Fortunes… How Russia Celebrates Christmas

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The majority of those celebrating Orthodox Christmas on 7 January live in Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. Minority populations in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria also observed the holiday according to the Julian calendar.

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President Putin attended Nativity services at the Yuriev Monastery in Novgorod Oblast.

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Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias served on Nativity at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

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In 337 AD, Roman Pope Julius I approved 25 December as the date of Christmas. Since then, Christendom celebrates Christmas on December 25 (except the Armenian Church, which celebrates Christmas and Epiphany as a single feast on the Epiphany). The Russian Orthodox Church also celebrates Christmas on 25 December, but as it didn’t accept the calendar reform by Roman Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni, the Church observes the feast on that date according to the old Julian calendar, which is 7 January on the “new” Gregorian calendar.

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President Putin talked to fishermen after attending Nativity services at the Yuriev Monastery.

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At Christmas, it is customary in many families to decorate a Christmas tree and give each other gifts. People adorn Christmas tree branches with various sweets and glowing lights.

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After attending services on Christmas day, people would break the fast with all kinds of meat and fish dishes, as well as a jellied or roasted goose with apples. Roasted poultry adorned the Christmas table. Chicken was served cold, whilst goose or duck was served hot. People garnished cold chicken with pickles, tomatoes and herbs; they served hot poultry with roast potatoes. In every home, there were pies and cakes made of unleavened rye dough with various fillings. People also gave out Christmas cakes to “starrers” (kolyadki* singers).

  • Kolyadki: Russian equivalent of Christmas carols, sung during the entire Svyatki period, and sometimes, in some places, right up until the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on 15 February

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In Russia, tradition and religion intertwine. Christmas celebrations last from 6 to 18 January in most places. People still follow old customs such as “Starring” (Russian carolling), which is the Russian equivalent of “trick-or-treat” (but without the pranks).

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On the evening of 6 January, Chairman of the Government D A Medvedev and his wife Svetlana prayed at Orthodox Christmas services at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow.

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“Starrers” walk from house to house of friends or acquaintances singing Christmas carols in their honour and ask for treats. People show generosity and hospitality to their unexpected guests and give them traditional gifts.

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The “starrers” sing songs wishing their benefactors a rich harvest, newborn livestock, and good order at home in thanks for their generous gifts. Then, they go on to the next house.

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On 6 January (Nativity Eve), a woman prayed during services at Vigil mass at St Serge Russian Orthodox church in Paris.

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The Svyatki period is also known for its fortune-telling tradition. Eastern Slavs consider Christmas and Epiphany Eves to be the best time for fortune-telling. If a girl wants to see her groom, she must sit in a dark room between two mirrors, light candles, and peer into the gallery of reflections, hoping to see her future husband. Questions about love, marriage, and family life have always been the most popular in fortune-telling.

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Participants in the Winter Malanya Festival of ethnic groups and historical reenactment at Klyuchi Oblast Park in the village of Kostroma in Prokhorovka Raion (Belgorod Oblast).

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Archpriest Pavel, the parish rector, oversaw Christmas services at the Church of the Icon of the Birthgiver “of Tikhvin” in Kazan.

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Truth in Advertising Department:

Some of these images are from last year or the year before… but that doesn’t matter, as they illustrate Russian Nativity and Svyatki customs well. Just tellin’ you what is…

BMD

7 January 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/photo/201701071049349536-russia-celebrate-christmas/

8 January 2017. Where Was Vladimir Vladimirovich on Christmas?

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Where else, but at services? He attended Nativity services at the Yuriev Monastery in Veliki Novogorod…

BMD

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