Macedonia Church Rules Out Moving Christmas


By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

“We have no reason to change the church calendar. We are not discussing this issue at all” the Macedonian Church Synod spokesperson Metropolitan Timotej said.

Macedonia is one of a few predominantly Orthodox countries that celebrate Christmas 14 days after most of the Christian world, on January 7 instead of December 25.

The Russian, Serbian and Ukrainian churches also use the Julian calendar.

Orthodox Greece, Romania and recently Bulgaria have adopted the Gregorian calendar, bringing them into line with the Catholic and Protestant world.

They did so out of practical reasons. The change in these countries has met resistance. In Greece, some religious hard-liners still defy the change and continue following the old calendar.

Few years ago a group of Macedonian businessman sent a letter to the Macedonian Church leadership asking them to change the calendar for practical reasons.

They complained that their businesses suffered from the discrepancy between the holiday in Macedonia and the rest of Europe.

Archbishop Stefan replied in a diplomatic manner, saying that he would wish to see a “joint calendar for all Christians, Orthodox or Catholic alike”.

Sources from the Skopje-based Faculty of Theology told Balkan Insight that the issue remained highly sensitive for the Orthodox Church.

Although a change in the calendar might have a practical benefit many local religious officials and scholars would see it as a betrayal of tradition.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

4 thoughts on “Macedonia Church Rules Out Moving Christmas

  • December 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    “religious officials and scholars would see it as a betrayal of tradition”

    How old is the Macedonian Church? The first version was founded in 1943 by a Hungarian Catholic Count Gyula Cseszneky de Milvány et Csesznek, and the second one in 1967 by a Croatian ex-Catholic atheist Josip Broz Tito. Interesting tradition, isn’t it?

  • December 26, 2010 at 9:34 am

    kojak read the bible chapter acts, st.paul had a vision in his dreams from a man asking him to come to macedonia and help the people in which he did so and preaching christianity to the people and in turn making macedonia the first country in europe to accept christianity, then it says st.paul went southwards to greece where he went to athens and was given a very hostile reception from people who did not like what he was doing there which was preaching christianity so he left and went back to macedonia were he was gladly accepted, the macedonian church is 2000 years old.

  • December 26, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Acts Chapter 20 1: And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.
    2: And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece

  • December 26, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Paul spends the next few years traveling through western Asia Minor and (some believe) founds his first Christian church in Philippi. Paul then travels to Thessalonica, where he stays for some time before departing for Greece. In Athens, Paul visits an altar with an inscription dedicated to the Unknown God, so when he gives his speech on the Areopagos, he proclaims to worship that same Unknown God whom he identifies as the Christian God.

    from wikipaedia a usually greek progandist web written facts. Seems funny how St.Paul is always departing macedonia for greece when greeks say macedonia is in greece, well it is only since 1913 illegaly spoils of war, freeing the people but taking there land too.


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