Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

Orthodox Christmas

Posted by vmsalama on January 7, 2008

Today worshippers of the various Eastern Orthodox faiths celebrate Christmas – to be followed only by the Armenian Orthodox holiday which is celebrated on January18.  The various Orthodox denominations celebrating today include the Russian Orthodox, the Coptic Orthodox of Egypt, the Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syrian Orthodox.  I recently wrote about the Coptic Orthodox Christmas celebration for WashingtonPost.com – click here if you’d like to read it.  Also, I’ve got a short article in this week’s Newsweek Magazine about the alarming exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.  Click here to read: The Other Christmas Rush Is Christians Fleeing Arabia.

The Canadian Press released an interesting news story this afternoon about celebrations in Russia.  It would appear the country has come a long way since the days of the Soviet Union.  Let’s see if China will one day follow in their footsteps!  Here is an excerpt:

Russians stream to churches for Orthodox Christmas

MOSCOW – Russians crowded into candlelit churches and stood solemnly for hours Sunday night as priests chanted the liturgy for masses celebrating Orthodox Christmas.

Christmas falls on Jan. 7 for Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, Russia and other Orthodox churches that use the old Julian calendar instead of the 16th-century Gregorian calendar adopted by Catholics and Protestants and commonly used in secular life around the world.

Patriarch Alexy II, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, presided at the country’s most symbolically important Mass, at Christ the Savior Cathedral near the Kremlin in downtown Moscow.

The cathedral, a reconstruction of the church dynamited under the officially atheist Communist regime of Josef Stalin, embodies the Orthodox Church’s resurgent importance in the post-Soviet era.

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