Believers celebrate Orthodox Christmas Day amid pandemic

Kiev, Jan 7 (EFE).- Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas Day on Friday amid surging coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Unlike Catholics and Protestants who follow the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Day according to the Julian calendar, on January 7.

Ukrainians dressed in traditional attire sang carols as they walked from house to house in Pirogovo village near Kiev while in Northern Macedonia, believers attended Christmas mass despite a sharp increase in infections.

Meanwhile, Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow and All Russia spoke of the challenges presented by the pandemic in his traditional Christmas message to Russian Orthodox believers.

“This feeling of safety, protection and peace is what we lack for today, when the pernicious pestilence still exerts its effect on our life, when it is difficult to make prognoses and plans, when the uncertainty of the morrow keeps people on their toes and causes alarm,” the Patriarch said.

“In these adverse circumstances we have experienced with particular acuteness the fragility of human life,” he added, referring to the challenges of “forced solitude” and the importance of spending time with “relatives and friends”. EFE


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