Bulgarian Orthodox Church Tempted to Move Christmas in Time

Society | December 1, 2009, Tuesday // 12:05| Views: | Comments: 6
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Bulgaria: Bulgarian Orthodox Church Tempted to Move Christmas in Time The leaders of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church might produce a Christmas miracle by shifting the date of the holiday to January 7. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church may decide in favor of restoring the Julian Calendar, which means that Christmas will have be celebrated on January 7 instead of December 25.

Senior bishops have made it clear that in 2009 Bulgaria might celebrate Christmas on December 25 for the last time, if the Church decides to renounce the Gregorian Calendar.

On December 20, 2009, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is going to hold a meeting to consider the plea of a group of believers and their priest from the village of Chelopechene, asking that Christmas be celebrated on January 7. The plea was filed on November 20, 2009.

The local priest Mariy Dimitrov has been serving according to the Julian Calendar for the last 20 years in his parish with the special permission of Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim.

Those who filed the plea remind that a similar case for the restoration of the Julian Calendar in 1997 attracted the support of five bishops.

Bulgaria switched to the Gregorian Calendar in 1916, and has been celebrating Christmas on December 25 since it was restored as an official holiday after the end of the communist regime.

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Tags: Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Holy Synod, bishop, Gregorian Calendar, Julian Calendar, Christmas
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» To the forumComments (6)
DrFaust - 1 Dec 2009 // 19:23:30


cheers and have a good time with your family!

In some countries, especially when there is not one dominating religion, they have resolved the question which religious holidays are also public holidays very simple. All religious holidays are also official public holidays. This seems to be the only possibility not to discriminate one religion or confession. The result is usually a huge number of public holidays, nice for employees in the public sector, but not so good for the GNP. In Albania for example, Orthodox and Catholic Eastern and Christmas, but also the Moslem and Bektashi holidays are official holidays for all. Hardly one week without additional day off (practically mostly limited to the public sector only).

Franie - 1 Dec 2009 // 18:21:19

I actually don't see a solution when it comes to public holidays. Just think the outcome will be interesting. I shall always celebrate Christmas on 25 Dec with my family, they travel here from abroad and that's their holiday. However I would respect the 7th January and celebrate it with Bulgarian friends. Cheers!

DrFaust - 1 Dec 2009 // 14:39:24


I see your point too, but what is the solution? 'Real' Christmas on Januar, 7, a working day, with the 'Christmas for the Non-religious' on December 25th, a public holiday? I don't think this is a good idea. It means to punish those for whom Christmas is more than a party with family and friends. Or another public holiday additional on 7th January? Bulgaria has already quite a lot of public holidays...

Franie - 1 Dec 2009 // 13:47:52

I see your point but most people celebrating Christmas these days are not really religious. I think it's nice to celebrate this family gathering and goodwill when millions all over the world are doing the same. There's not much else which unites so many people around one day.

DrFaust - 1 Dec 2009 // 12:56:27


I agree with you, it's up to the Church to decide which calendar they are using, but to me it doesn't make sense to have Christmas according to the Julian calendar and the Georgian calendar as well. Why should people have a holiday called Christmas at 25th December, when Christmas is moved to 7th January? So in case Christmas is 'moved', the government should 'move' the public holiday as well.
As for the disruption of banking and business, I really don't see a big problem here.

Franie - 1 Dec 2009 // 12:46:30

The Bulgarian church has every right to use whichever calendar it wishes. As do their practicing believers. However, if the Church does restore the traditional Julian calender I hope Parliament doesn't follow by moving the public holidays accordingly. I think most people have got used to Christmas being 24/25 December. It would also cause a lot of disruption to international business and banking.

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