Away from Moscow: Orthodox Church of Ukraine switches to new calendar

May 25,2023 2293
Away from Moscow: Orthodox Church of Ukraine switches to new calendar

On May 24, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) decided at the Bishops’ Council in Kyiv to switch to the new calendar from the beginning of the new church year, September 1, 2023. One bishop out of 53 voted against the transition, and one abstained.

“This decision is not an easy one, we have been coming to it for a long time, gradually, step by step, and we are making it carefully. But it is as necessary as the decision to introduce the Ukrainian language in worship instead of the traditional Slavic language, to introduce an autocephalous structure of the Church’s life instead of centuries of subordination,” said Metropolitan Epifaniy, commenting on this historic decision of the Council.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) was the first to announce the transition to the new calendar in early 2023. Accordingly, from September 1, Ukrainians from the UGCC and the OCU will celebrate Christmas on December 25, not January 7. St. Nicholas Day will now be on December 6, and Epiphany will be on January 6. The Intercession will be celebrated on October 1. At the same time, the changes will not affect Easter and some other holidays, such as Trinity. 

The transition from the Julian calendar without changes in the celebration of Easter is called the New Julian calendar and is already used by some Orthodox churches in Europe. 

“They used to say Polish (Catholic) and Ukrainian (Orthodox) holidays, but today they say Ukrainian and Moscow holidays. The new calendar will be Ukrainian, and those who remain on the old calendar will be a little bit on the Moscow calendar,” Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnytsia commented to BBC Ukraine at the beginning of the OCU Bishops’ Council in Kyiv, which decided to switch to the new church calendar.

The full text of the resolution of the Bishops’ Council can be found here.


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