Ukraine officially moves Christmas observance to Dec 25

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed into law a bill moving the official observance of Christmas Day to Dec 25 from Jan 7, when Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church mark the holiday.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, approved the measure — which also adjusts the dates of the Day of Ukrainian Statehood and the Day of Defenders of Ukraine — on July 14, with Zelenskyy formalising it on July 28.

Zelenskyy introduced the legislation on June 28 with an explanatory note that the change would “discard the Russian legacy of celebrating Christmas on Jan 7,” the date for the holiday according to the Julian calendar, which the Russian Orthodox and other Eastern Orthodox churches use.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars — implemented in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII and used by Western churches — differ by 13 days.

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