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Posted by on Jan 7, 2009

Merry Christmas to our Orthodox Sisters and Brothers – January 7

Merry Christmas to our Orthodox Sisters and Brothers – January 7

Celebrating Orthodox Christmas - Photo by Muhammed Muheisen, AP

Celebrating Orthodox Christmas - Photo by Muhammed Muheisen, AP

January 7 is the Feast of Christmas in much of the Orthodox world. We don’t hear much about it in our Western cultures, in part because it is not the big commercial event that it has become in North America and Europe. Nevertheless, it is a time for celebration and remembering that we share the roots of our faith with these ancient communities as well.

For more information about Orthodox history and beliefs, as well as why our calendars don’t match, there’s a good explanation on the BBC’s website. The quick answer is that most Orthodox communities still follow the Julian calendar for certain feasts. That calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, so Christmas falls on January 7. 

Western Christians who’d like to celebrate in solidarity with Orthodox Christians might want to try a dish typical of Christmas celebrations in the Eastern Church. Some interesting ones can be found at: http://www.prosphora.org/page17.html.

So, as the festival arrives, we wish you a Blessed Christmas, with time for family and friends to gather and enjoy the gift of love. We also pray for peace – in our entire world, and especially in those areas torn by war. May the coming of the Prince of Peace bring hope and courage to all of us, to work together and make it real in our day.

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