Merry Christmas! History of the Eastern Celebration on January 7 + FULL Text Christmas Message of Pope Francis to Oriental Christians


Christmas is celebrated on January 7, 2023 for those following the Julian Calendar. This applies to many Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. There is a custom is to refrain from meat on Christmas Eve. The Julian calendar was also used in Europe until 1582 and in England until 1752. The Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian. Pope Gregory XIII introduced this calendar which corrected some inaccuracies of astronomy. The Julian Calendar is 13 days behind and the Gregorian. Russian, Serbian, Macedonian, Coptic, Georgian, Ukranian follow this date for Christmas. Most American Orthodox follow the Revised Julian Calendar which uses Dec. 25. 

On Twitter Pope Francis wrote: "I extend my heartfelt best wishes to the communities of the Eastern Churches who celebrate the Nativity of the Lord, in particular the suffering people of Ukraine. May the Lord’s birth instill comfort and inspire concrete steps that can finally lead to peace."