Dating as a russian orthodox
WHILE Christmas festivities may have come to an end for us, the holidays are just beginning for Orthodox Christian countries, who are celebrating Christmas today.From Russia to Israel, there are actually scores of countries celebrating Jesus' birth in January instead of December. The reason these dates vary so much from what we know as Christmas is down to a difference in calendars.Those that celebrate in January include Orthodox Christians in Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt and Bulgaria.Serbia, Belarus, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Georgia and Moldova also all stick to the traditional Orthodox date meaning they are also celebrating today.
Some Orthodox countries - including Greece, Cyprus and Romania - adopted a revised Julian calendar in 1923, and now celebrate with us on December 25.But, in much of the Soviet bloc and Middle East, they still use the Julian calendar - which was created by Julius Caesar in 45BC.This means that there is a 13-day gap between the two calendars, so Christmas Day in those nations falls on what we now know as January 7.Orthodox Easter preparations begin with 40 days of strict fasting prior to Easter Day.Many Orthodox Christians attend liturgies during the Holy Week that leads up to Easter Sunday.
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Nowadays, most Orthodox countries follow the Gregorian calendar, but still observe a number of religious holidays on the Julian dates.