Sunday, January 8, 2012

Orthodox Christmas

Merry Christmas again.....the 2nd Christmas Day.

To many people, Christmas day was over on 25th December 2012, but not Orthodox Christian. Orthodox Christian celebrate Christmas on January 7th, 2012.

The original date of the celebration in Eastern Christianity was January 6, in connection with Epiphany, and that is still the date of the celebration for the Armenian Apostolic Church and in Armenia, where it is a public holiday. As of 2012, there is a difference of 13 days between the modern Gregorian calendar and the older Julian calendar. Those who continue to use the Julian calendar or its equivalents thus celebrate December 25 and January 6 on what for the majority of the world is January 7 and January 19. For this reason, Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Republic of Moldova celebrate Christmas on what in the Gregorian calendar is January 7; all the Greek Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25.

The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world,[5] with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine, all of which are majority Eastern Orthodox. It is said to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ and his Apostles almost 2,000 years ago.

Based on the numbers of adherents, Orthodoxy is the second largest Christian communion in the world after the Roman Catholic Church. The most common estimates of the number of Orthodox Christians worldwide is approximately 300 million.

Orthodoxy is the largest single religious faith in Greece (95%) and in Eastern Europe, including Russia (80%), Ukraine (80%), Romania (87%), Belarus (85%), Bulgaria (83%), Serbia (84%), Georgia (89%), Moldova (93%), the Republic of Macedonia (65%), Cyprus (80%) and Montenegro (74%).

The number of Orthodox adherents represents about 36% of the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian Serbs). In Albania, the adherents number around 25% out of a 40% Christian population, the others being Roman Catholic. As the dominant religion in northern Kazakhstan, it represents 40% of Kazakhstan, and 4% of Lithuania and 13% of the Estonian population.

Large Orthodox Christian communities exist in the Mediterranean countries of Lebanon (40% of Christian population, and 10% of the whole Lebanese population), Jordan (80% of Christian population), Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Palestinian Christians) with some families able to trace their ancestry to the earliest Christians of the Holy Land. Orthodox minorities live in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary (Romanian minority), Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Ancient Eastern Orthodox communities still have large populations in countries such as Lebanon and Israel (Jerusalem and Bethlehem).

The Orthodox Church traces its development back through the Byzantine or Roman empire, to the earliest church established by St. Paul and the Apostles. It practices what it understands to be the original ancient traditions, believing in growth without change. In non-doctrinal matters the church had occasionally shared from local Greek, Slavic and Middle Eastern traditions, among others, in turn shaping the cultural development of these nations.


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