Ukraine will celebrate Christmas Day on December 25 rather than January 7 this year in another example of the country severs ties with for Russia.
President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday rubberstamped a parliamentary bill intended “abandon the Russian heritage of imposing Christmas celebrations”.
Kyiv is increasingly cutting religious, cultural and other links with Russia in favour of Western traditions, and the process has been accelerated since Vladimir Putin ordered invasion on February 24, 2022.
Mr Zelensky signed the bill in to law two weeks after it was ratified by Ukraine’s Parliament.
Two state holidays, the Day of Ukrainian Statehood and the Defenders’ Day, commemorating armed forces veterans, have also been moved, from July 28 to July 15 and from October 14 to October 1 respectively.
The Kremlin is yet to comment on the situation.
The recently created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was granted independence from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the worldwide spiritual leader of Orthodox Christianity, infuriating ROC leaders including Patriach Kirill, who has steadfastly defended Putin’s invasion
The OCU this year celebrated Christmas Day on January 7, in line with the Julian calendar – but the new law means many Ukrainians are likely to switch to December 25.
However, millions of others who still belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the other established branch, will likely stick to the former date, given it is yet to commented on recent developments.
Officially it too split with Moscow last year, but some of its clerics have faced prosecution prosecuted for pro-Russian activities.
The UOC denies there is any evidence to support the charges of collaboration.
Speaking to CNN, Vitalina and Pavlo, a couple from Lviv visiting Kyiv, backed the decision, with Pavlo saying: “Celebrating December 25 is logical. This is how Europe celebrates.
“We celebrated in December this year and there was nothing difficult about it. We want to be closer to Europe and to the world.
Tetyana, an Orthodox Christian from Kyiv, said: “If necessary, we will celebrate on December 25.
“It is no longer about religion, it is more a sign of statehood. Let it be so. I support the president and my country.”