Orthodox Christmas in Russia in 2021

Orthodox Christmas in Russia in 2021

  Dates of Orthodox Christmas in Russia
2022 Jan 4, Jan 5, Jan 6, Jan 7
RussiaFri, Jan 7National Holiday
RussiaThu, Jan 6National Holiday (additional day)
RussiaWed, Jan 5National Holiday (additional day)
RussiaTue, Jan 4National Holiday (additional day)
2021 Russia Thu, Jan 7 National Holiday
2020 Jan 6, Jan 7, Jan 8
RussiaWed, Jan 8National Holiday (additional day)
RussiaTue, Jan 7National Holiday
RussiaMon, Jan 6National Holiday (additional day)
2019 Russia Mon, Jan 7 National Holiday
2018 Jan 4, Jan 5, Jan 7
RussiaSun, Jan 7National Holiday
RussiaFri, Jan 5National Holiday
RussiaThu, Jan 4National Holiday
  Summary
The Orthodox Church recognises January 7th as the day that Jesus was born
  Orthodox Christmas in other countries
Orthodox Christmas internationally

Orthodox Christmas in Russia

Despite having the world's biggest Orthodox Christian community, during the period of the Soviet Union, Christmas was effectively banned as it was not officially recognised by the atheist Soviets.

Christmas was reinstated as an official holiday in 1991: on December 27th 1990, in response to an appeal by Patriarch Alexy II, the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR declared Christmas a holiday. The resolution came into effect on January 14th 1991.

Since its reinstatement, the holiday has not proved to be overwhelmingly popular. In fact, many Russians may not celebrate the day at all, while others will just have a small family dinner. Very few Russians will exchange gifts.

The Russian government often gives extras days off around the seventh. This can create a very long holiday when the days are joined with the long New Year's break.

When is Orthodox Christmas?

The Orthodox Church recognises January 7th as the day that Jesus was born. Elsewhere in the world, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.

The difference in the timing of the Christmas celebrations stretches back to 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII, ruled that the Catholic Church should follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was closer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.

History of Orthodox Christmas

The Julian calendar had been established by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.

Because it was the Catholic pope who ruled on the adoption of the new calendar, many churches not aligned to the papacy ignored it, such as Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox church. Protestants accepted the new calendar in the early 1700s.

In 1922, the patriarch of Constantinople decided that the Gregorian calendar should be followed for the observance of Christmas, but not for Easter, and this edict was followed by many of the other Orthodox churches.

The only Orthodox churches that still observe the January 7th date are the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian churches, the Serbs and the Mount Athos monks in Greece.

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