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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.

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  1. June 1st, 2009 at 19:12 | #1

    I’m with you absolutely, Andrew.

    The Julian calendar provides an extended opportunity to celebrate religious holidays and reduces the stress of having to choose between in-laws, shiftwork, and other priorities and realities of contemporary urban life.

    Who knows what the agenda of clerics is who push through changes against the wishes of their parishioners.

    Could be they are just “following orders.” But as for whar kind of “higher authority” might be issuing those orders, I would hazard a guess that it’s the kind with clay feet.

  2. June 2nd, 2009 at 12:48 | #2

    Is this going to be the plight of the Greek Catholics all over again? Me thinks I have an idea for another blog post, already started to collect some reading material http://delicious.com/ukrcdn/greek-catholic

  3. Oleh
    January 6th, 2010 at 13:10 | #3

    That church and hall in the photo look like St. Mary's in Mississauga ON Canada

  4. ukrcdn
    January 6th, 2010 at 20:32 | #4

    It is! The church is mentioned at the end of the article.

  5. Oxana
    March 16th, 2010 at 19:29 | #5

    As a Ukrainian Orthodox follower, I, honestly, don't see a difference between Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox churches. But I have good memory from my history knowledge – Slavic nations and their religion belong to Kuivska Rus, not to Vatican that is a hart of Catholicism. And I also remember that our religion came from Greece and not from Moscow (how many Ukrainians think). For Ukrainian Catholics – you don't attend polish churches (kostel), my simple question is – polish and ukrainian people go to different catholic churches (Roman-catholic and Greek catholic), then why both consider Vatican and Pope as a center of their religion? Of course, it's a lot of questions to ask? But why? We are all Christians. Let's unite.

  6. Leila
    March 29th, 2010 at 22:26 | #6

    Let us be Christians first. Don't let Political influences (Russia/Ukraine politics) stand in the way. this division fractures us. It's no wonder other Religions in the world seem so strong & growing unless they split from each other. Does it matter if we're catholic, orothodox, anglican, prostestant, etc. If we stick to the foundation of pure Christianity, the rest doesn't matter really, does it? It seems to be a battle of the Churches really.

  7. Lubka Belanska
    April 7th, 2010 at 21:57 | #7

    It is more complex than to just say “let's all unite”. Especially between the Protestants and the Catholic Church, there are major disagreements on many important dogmas, (like the Pope, Mary, sacraments, etc.) which are, by the way, mentioned in the Bible, but which the Protestants, in most part, chose to ignore. Christian values are, of course, crucial, but that isn't everything. These values are reflected in the dogmas, and the Bible cannot be ignored – that would mean ignorance of God! And “pure Christianity” cannot accept that.

  8. Lubka
    April 7th, 2010 at 22:28 | #8

    Religion doesn't, or at least isn't supposed, to come from culture, but from the Truth. The way it was is that Ukrainians were originally part of the Orthodox Church, but after realizing that they are falling into bludy, many decided to leave and join the Roman Catholic Church instead. Today, Roman and Ukrainian Catholics both accept the Pope and Vatican because that is what they consider to be rightful church with the correct dogmas. And one cannot just say “let's all unite”, because it is much more complex than that. Protestants and Catholics disagree on a lot of important things – (Catholics cannot tolerate what we believe to be ignorance of the Bible). There are much less confrontations between the Orthodox and Catholics, and that's why they are slowly starting to come together these days – Ukrainians were the first, and more are coming! It would be nice that we would all be united in Christ, but there still is only one true Church and one true Head of it which Jesus established, and until all Christians don't accept that, we cannot be One.

    And one more thing – the reason why Ukrainians go to their Catholic churches (although it, according to the Catholic Church, doesn't matter what Church they go to) is not because they believe in different things, but purely due to cultural and language reasons. They want to celebrate with other Ukrainians. I go to a Catholic church that is spoken in Czech, because I find it easier to sing, pray aloud, etc. in Czech than English. (Not really me but rather my family). But it wouldn't matter what church I would go to, as long as it's Catholic, because we are all united under the Vatican. The calendar and liturgy differences don't matter, because they are both in accordance with the Bible and Church teachings. (Sorry for talking so much). I hope this answers your question :) ; please let me know.

  9. Hanya
    December 30th, 2012 at 03:39 | #9

    People get confused because we do not use ‘standard’ terms/words…and because entire truths are not told, so deceptions lead to confusion. So…I pray I am not confused…
    With regard to wording: I personally think since the splitting of the Church in 1050AD that clearer distinctions should be made. For instance, both sides are considered Catholic Christian (Eastern Orthodox & West Roman), so I think we should stop referring to only one as Catholic (West). Perhaps the distinction should be Western Roman Catholic Church…and Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church. Then, we must come to an understanding about those appearing to be caught in the middle, following Eastern Rites & calendar appearing to be Orthodox (East), & likely are in spirit & in their hearts, but technically are NOT and come under the Roman Vatican (West). This area causes many people confusion.
    With regard to ‘entire truths’: There is too much corruption within the West Roman Catholic Church for me to ‘trust’ much of what they say anymore. Most of Ukraine WAS Eastern Orthodox Catholic throughout it’s history (not Western Roman Catholic). Some Ukrainians conveniently chose to become members of the Western Roman Church after early immigration to America (1883-87) because there were no other options for them as a place of worship. Other Ukrainians fought to maintain their Orthodoxy, but could not obtain the Eastern Orthodox help needed…so when the WESTERN Roman Catholic Church agreed to help, the Orthodox Ukrainians, out of necessity, agreed. They would maintain their Ukrainian language, the Orthodox Ukrainian Rites & traditions, follow the old Julian calendar & their priests would be able to marry.
    My Ukrainian ancestors came to America in 1907. They longed for an Orthodox Christian place of worship & attempted to found their church in America, but it was difficult. These poor people were extremely persecuted, mocked, beat up & thrown stones at. The only church where they could worship was Roman Catholic, primarily he Poles & Hungarians (Slav brothers/sisters) were quick to take them in, but they still yearned for their own church. While all efforts failed to obtain help including Priests to construct their Orthodox Church, the Roman Church came to their aid thru letters & help of primarily one Roman Priest (I forget his name). The Roman Church agreed to grant them their own Eastern Byzantine Rites & keep their Orthodox traditions, but they would come under the rule of the Roman Vatican.
    It is often unclear to the outsider, where a particular church belongs. Are they pure Western Roman Catholic…or Eastern Rite under Roman Catholic…or are they pure Eastern ORTHODOX under the EASTERN Church. Clearly when we see the word ORTHODOX, such as Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox or Ukrainian Eastern Orthodox, it is quite certain, that church is of the Eastern ORTHODOX Catholic Church, not of West Roman Catholic Church. But it is not so clear when we see the name St. Joseph’s Eastern Catholic Church or St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church or St. Nicholas Eastern Byzantine Church. We do NOT know those churches are ORTHODOX; we only know that St. Joseph is of the Eastern Rite … & one of the St. Nicholas’ is of the Eastern Rite, the other ‘might be’…but going by the names alone, ALL 3 could be either under the Western Roman Church OR the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church. Generally speaking, however, a church never has the title Orthodox unless it is indeed Orthodox…of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church…whereas many others will leave us ‘wondering’.
    I think therefore, to say we are ALL under the Vatican (West Roman) is very misleading because the Church is SPLIT since 1050. While it is true, there are some Eastern Rite churches the past century who have come under the Western Roman hierarchy, (as explained above)…the Eastern ORTHODOX are ONLY of the EAST Orthodox Church. I believe I am correct to say, the EAST Church recognizes the Roman Pope as the Bishop of Rome but that is all. Rome is not considered the head of the EAST Church… therefore … IS THE SPLIT. For if we ALL came under WEST Roman Church, we would not NEED TO BE PRAYING FOR UNIFICATION of the EAST & WEST. I predict Rome will FALL in humility to the EASTERN Church, to their Rites & traditions, their calendar & the marrying of priests…so very SOON, probably less than 1-2 years I believe…Christ’s true Church for worship, etc, will be ONLY EASTERN ORTHODOX. THIS will be a GLORIOUS DAY & bring us everlasting peace!! This I KNOW will happen & SOON & will probably be the beginning of the 1,000 years…for His Greater Glory!

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