Christmas and Easter, two of the most important religious holidays in the Christianity, might be celebrated by believers of both rites on the same days. Myroslav Marynovych, human right activist, publicist and theologian, said this in an interview with ZIK, a Ukrainian TV channel.
As is known, Christians of the Western Rite celebrate Christmas on December 25th, along with believers of many Orthodox churches. However, some Orthodox churches, for example, Ukrainian and Russian, celebrate the holiday two weeks later, January 7th. The difference is based on the Julian and the Gregorian calendars, with the latter officially adopted by many Christian churches - yet in the Middle Ages.
According to Myroslav Marynovych, there is an ongoing discussion among common believers and churchmen of the both rites whether the Orthodox and Catholic churches should merge, so that principal holidays would be celebrated on the same days.
“See, the Catholic Church admits that the Gregorian calendar offers much more precise calculation of the date of the Christmas. On the other hand, the Julian calendar is more precise when it comes to calculation of the Easter day”, he said. In the interest of merging the Christian churches into one, Marynovych added, “it would be a great move if Roman Catholics marked Easter on the same day with the Orthodox Christians, and Christians of the Eastern Rite would adopt December 25th as the Christmas day”.
Previously, Pope Francis (on the photo above) agreed on an offer to set a unified date for Easter, so that Christians of different confessions would celebrate the holiday on the same day. The idea belongs to Tawadros II, Head of Coptic Orthodox Church; it was later supported by patriarchs of Antioch and Constantinople. Tawadros II supposed that in 2016, all Christians could celebrate Easter on the second Sunday in April. Some theologians consider this idea a step to merge Christian Churches into one. The press service of the Holy See so far hasn’t provided any comments on the issue.
In Ukraine (where the majority of residents adopted the Orthodox faith), people at all levels discuss the issue of possible celebration of Christmas on the same day with Roman Catholics. Politician, MP and Euromaidan activist Olexandr Doniy reminds that historically, it is a custom for most Christian churches to mark the holiday on December 25.
Doniy reiterates that after Russian military aggression, Ukraine still adheres to the old Russian tradition of celebrating Christmas January 7. He offers to gradually force out this tradition coming from the aggressor state – in favor of the custom adopted by the West. To avoid opposition and resist of the conservative part of the society, the politician offers that – at least for some time – Ukrainians officially celebrate the holiday twice – both December 25 and January 7. “Two days off for Christmas would be nice, wouldn’t it?”, Doniy said.