Volyn, Ukraine, November 18, 2019
“Metropolitan” Mikhail Zinkevich of Lutsk and Volyn of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” has expressed his support for a group of Lutsk activists who asked a blessing to celebrate the Nativity of Christ according to the New Calendar on December 25 in order to differentiate themselves from Russia.
The request came from Provincial and Lutsk City Council Deputies, members of the “Prosvita” society, and other activists, reports the site of schismatic diocese. According to pershyj.com, it came from more than 300 activists altogether.
Although Ukrainian Orthodox Christians have always celebrated feasts according to the Old Calendar, with Nativity falling on January 7, the petitioners argue that this tradition keeps Ukraine too much like Russia and the Soviet Union, and so it should be changed.
“December 25 is not only the Catholic Christmas, but the general Christian Christmas. The pan-Orthodox Council in Constantinople decided in 1923 that Orthodox Christians, according to the more accurate Gregorian calendar, should celebrate Christmas on December 25. All countries except those that were under the influence of the Soviet Union agreed to it,” the petition reads.
“Most Local Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25. However, Ukraine still remains in the Soviet (now—Russian) paradigm, celebrating Christmas on January 7 in the company of the aggressor Russia,” it continues.
Accordingly, the activists asked to begin the Nativity Fast on November 15 rather than November 28.
According to the schismatic diocesan website, “Vladyka Michael is sympathetic to this initiative and can bless the celebration of the Christmas service on December 25,” noting that those who intend to celebrate on the 25th should begin fasting on November 15.
At the same time, he emphasized that his blessing does not abolish the celebration on January 7.
In November 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament established December 25 as an official holiday, as there are about 800,000 Roman Catholics in the country.
Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic OCU, earlier explained that the Ukrainian people should be catechized to eventually accept the calendar change.