Maryna Bahrova, a member of the board of the Institute of National Policy international union, noted that in addition to the decision of historical justice, the change of the celebration’s date can also help the foreign policy of our country, as most European Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas on the 25th.
“The change of the celebration of Christmas to December 25 is necessary to restore historical justice. After 332 years of the actual annexation by Moscow, the Kyiv Metropolis was returned to the church jurisdiction of Constantinople. Constantinople Orthodox Church, as well as a number of other Orthodox Churches, celebrates Christmas on December 25th. Therefore, the restored Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church has to celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In addition, Ukraine has clearly defined its foreign policy course on joining the European Union and NATO to return to its historic European family. The vast majority of European Christians, including the Orthodox, celebrate Christmas on December 25,” the expert left a comment to Opinion.
Maryna Bahrova also admits, that there are some risks. According to her, Ukrainian authorities and clergy should speak more often in the media and bring to Ukrainians true information about the potential change in the date of celebration. But the lack of such communication can only generate additional myths.
“Of course, during such a short period of time, in 10 days after the Unity Synod, some Orthodox Christians in Ukraine can painfully perceive the information about the celebration of Christmas on December 25. After all, until the Unity Synod, the vast majority of Orthodox Christians of Ukraine celebrated Christmas on January 6th. It is worth noting, that the formation of the restored Ukrainian Orthodox Church is still ongoing in connection with the transition of the clergy and laity of the UOC-MP. Therefore, as an alternative, it is possible to celebrate Christmas on December 25 and January 6 in 2019.
Speaking about the additional risks associated with the celebration of Christmas on December 25, Metropolitan Epiphanius is right. For such risks to disappear, the Ukrainian authorities and the clergy have to speak more often in the media, religious scholars should be invited to different TV shows to bring to the Ukrainian society the historical truth about why it is worth celebrating Christmas on December 25. They should work with people, people need an explanation. The lack of proper information interaction between the clergy and their lay people, the lack of attention to such a pressing issue of the media can lead to the emergence of various negative myths and insinuations in society “, explains Maryna Bahrova.
Opinion By Dmytro Zhuravel