Are ‘Ukrainian Christmas’ and ‘Ukrainian Easter’ coming to an end?
From the Kyiv Post:
GENEVA (AP) _ Christianity’s largest ecumenical movement expressed hope Thursday that churches were moving closer to a common Easter for the world’s Christians, despite a historical debate nearly as old as the religion.
Catholic and Protestant congregations will celebrate their belief in Jesus’ resurrection on the same day as Orthodox churches in 2010 and 2011 because of a coincidence in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The common holiday has happened three times this decade.
But the World Council of Churches says consensus is emerging that these should not just be occasional occurrences.
At a recent meeting in Lviv, Ukraine, theologians representing nearly the breadth of Christianity agreed in principle on a strategy for all the faithful to continue observing their feast together.
Christian Ukrainians (Catholic and Orthodox alike!), celebrate their holidays based on the Eastern Rite Julian calendar. Christmas is on January 7th and Easter this year was on April 19th while in the West it was celebrated on April 12th. In the United States it varies by church which calendar they follow for holiday mass, if not both. In Canada the holidays are mostly celebrated on the same traditional days as their Eastern counterparts.
Growing up in Canada, if you mentioned you celebrate Christmas in January most people assumed you celebrated ‘Ukrainian Christmas’ (there are over a million Canadians of Ukrainian descent). Nowadays with the rise of immigration from the Baltics and Russia they assume you celebrate ‘Orthodox Christmas’, but this label is incorrect because many Canadians whose descendants came from Western Ukraine are Catholic, even when they celebrate their holidays on a different day (I’m looking at you Canadian Press).
I don’t agree with trying to ‘unify’ these holidays for whatever purpose (convenience or control?). Ukrainian churches have enough on their plate, the Orthodox are trying not to be absorbed by the Orthodox Russian church, and Catholics have been re-establishing themselves after being exiled in Soviet times. In Canada, the new Bishop of St. Mary’s Dormition Catholic Church in Mississauga, Ontario is trying to make the push to towards the new dates, against the wishes of his clergy and parishioners. What do you think?
Update: Read what Ukrainian Christmas is all about.