Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas in the shadow of the Ukraine-Russia War
Orthodox Christians all over the world on Saturday (7 January) celebrate Christmas in accordance with the Julian Calander. On the eve, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill delivered a Christmas service in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, and the scene was repeated in Christian Orthodox Churches across Eastern Europe and the Middle East and world wide. This Christmas however sees the Orthodox world in conflict with itself as the Ukraine-Russia War rages on.
In the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Ukrainians ventured out into a light dusting of snow to buy gifts, cakes and groceries for Christmas Eve family celebrations.
In a video message, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Ukrainians as “united as never before” and lamented that the conflict has forced many to abandon Christmas folk traditions that prohibit sewing and hunting.
“It is forbidden to sew and knit, but we weave camouflage nets and sew bulletproof vests, overcoming evil. Our ancestors did not go hunting in these days, but we fight so that we do not become prey and to defeat the beast,” he said.
Putin attended services at the Annunciation Cathedral, one of several churches on the grounds of the Kremlin.
Sat, 01/07/2023 - 07:06
Putin orders Orthodox Christmas ceasefire, rejected by Ukraine
Following an appeal from Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a 36-hour ceasefire along the front line in Ukraine over Orthodox Christmas.
Scheduled to begin on Friday at 12pm Moscow time, the ceasefire ordered by Putin was quickly rejected by the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian presidential advisor Mikhailo Podolyak responded by saying that "[The Russian Federation] must leave the occupied territories - only then will it have a 'temporary truce'". He added that Russia should "keep hypocrisy to yourself".
Over the New Year celebrations, Russia launched one of its biggest drone attacks on critical infrastructure and main population centres in Ukraine since the start of its full-scale war. Ukraine says that it successfully destroyed all 84 of the drones that Russia launched over the New Year period.
Patriarch Kirill had asked "all the parties involved" in the conflict to "cease fire and establish a Christmas truce". A subsequent statement by the Kremlin read: "Taking into consideration the appeal by [Kirill], the president hereby instructs the minister of defence of the Russian Federation to impose a ceasefire regime along the entire line of contact in Ukraine", ending at midnight on Sunday.
Thu, 01/05/2023 - 18:13