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Please take a moment to read this message from Kate Mikhaylenko 12W. The Christmas
prayer is particularly beautiful.
С Рождеством Христовым!
(literally: “with Christ’s birth”)
In Russia, Christmas is a much quieter affair than Christmas in the UK: as the festive giftgiving and celebrating typically takes place on New Year’s Eve, Christmas remains a religious
festival first and foremost, with a 40-day fast taking place beforehand and multiple church
services taking place on Christmas Day.
The reason Christmas is celebrated on January 7th is because the Russian Orthodox Church
still follows the Julian calendar, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar used here in the
UK. It’s also important to note that whilst the 7th of January is often referred to as ‘Russian
Christmas’ it is, in fact, Christmas for everyone who follows the Orthodox churches of
Belarus, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia,
Ukraine, and the Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Russian Orthodox church services are sung, not spoken – even the sermon and
prayers. Here is a typical Christmas
prayer: (2 minutes)
Below is a traditional Christmas icon from the 19th century (artist unknown) titled 'Nativity
and adoration of the Magi' (Russian: Рождество Христово с поклонением волхов). A few
more Russian icons can be seen here:
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