Orthodox Christmas

On the Julian calendar, today is December 25, ergo Christmas (the Feast of the Nativity). Out of curiosity, I looked up three different Orthodox Christian congregations in nearby Cincinnati to see if they were celebrating Christmas today or had already done so.

Christ the Savior, part of the Orthodox Church in America (a historically Russian Orthodox church gone autocephalous–depending on who you ask), celebrated on the Western date.

Holy Trinity-Saint Nicholas, part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, celebrated on the Western date.

Saint George, part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), celebrated today.

During the Soviet era, ROCOR functioned as a kind of separatist fundamentalist wing of Russian Orthodoxy, so I’m not too surprised that they’re the only church of the three to retain the non-Western date. I’m curious to know if Christ the Savior and Holy Trinity-Saint Nicholas celebrated earlier because they’ve shifted to the revised Julian calendar or have simply adopted the Gregorian: if the former, then one could interpret that as a more modest accommodation to their American milieu. I’m also curious to know when they made the shift and how much internal resistance there was.

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