The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) is reportedly considering a significant change in one element of its tradition, which has existed since the 16th century; switching to the Gregorian calendar. If implemented, this change would mean that religious holidays will, in future, be celebrated at the same time as other Christian denominations. Christmas, for instance, would be celebrated on Dec. 25 instead of Jan. 7 and Easter, which in 2023 was observed the week after the Catholic church, will now be the same.
A decision on whether or not to implement the switch in the calendar will be made at the Bishops' Council in May, according to Metropolitan Epiphanius, the head of the OCU. He believes that adopting the Gregorian calendar will allow for greater accuracy in the observation of these most sacred of dates and prevent a gradual shift in the dates of fixed holidays in the future.
In an interview with Gazeta.ua, he explained that although there are still some challenges ahead, he is confident the church will overcome them with God's help.
It is worth noting that the OCU currently follows the Julian calendar, which is also used by the Russian Orthodox Church. However, the Julian calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar, because of days that were ‘lost’ since the Gregorian calendar was widely adopted in 1582, due to the way the length of the year is calculated. The difference is currently 13 days.
In February, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church also announced its intention to begin using the Gregorian calendar from Sep. 1, after numerous requests from its congregation, as well as consultations with its clergy.
The Church said, however, that even though it will switch to the new calendar, it will retain the current method used to calculate the date of Easter. It also announced that for those parishes that do not yet feel ready to take such a step, they may retain calculations of liturgical life, in line with the Julian calendar until 2025.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter