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Ukrainian Catholics will not change to Gregorian calendar

September 10, 2013

Citing “very painful calendar wars in North America,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that his Eastern Catholic church will continue to follow the Julian calendar in the Ukraine.

“The introduction of the calendar historically reveals that it was not the main instrument of convergence or unity of the Church,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk told the Religious Information Service of Ukraine. “It is rather a question of internal discipline, which can contribute to unity or stand in the way.”

“As for our church in Ukraine, we do not see the necessary prerequisites nor do we have the required consensus among our bishops, among our clergy and faithful, in order to switch to the Gregorian calendar in Ukraine,” he said, acknowledging that his church “lives according to the Gregorian calendar in various countries according to local needs.”

Churches that use the Julian calendar celebrate Christmas on January 7.


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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Sep. 10, 2013 11:19 PM ET USA

    I agree with Abp. Sviatoslav. It's important that folks can celebrate with those around them, especially in being off work on holidays. The nation's Orthodox Church and environment will not change to Gregorian to suit the Catholics, so they will be out of sync in their environment. This is also tied up in trying to nation-build and in patriotism. In the US the change led to actual fights and violence. For the same reasons American Ukrainians changed to Gregorian,the homeland should stay Juln.

  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Sep. 10, 2013 9:04 AM ET USA

    In my humble opinion, the Major Archbishop is minimizing the value of achieving a state of affairs in which all Christians (or in a first step all Catholics...) would celebrate the Rising of Lord on one single day of the year. And the discrepancy between the two calendars will only increase with time. It's not a matter of one part of the Church dominating the other, just of keeping time with the actual motion of the celestial bodies.