The Orthodox Church celebrated Christmas this week, in contrast to the Catholic and Lutheran Churches which celebrate Christmas on December 24 and 25. The Serbian royal family celebrated the Orthodox Christmas at the Royal Palace in Belgrade.
The day was marked with traditional celebrations, including cutting down a tree that was then burned. The celebration was also attended by the leadership of the Orthodox Church in Serbia and a number of guests. Crown Princess Kathrine also attended andPrince Philip posted a Christmas greeting on his Twitter account.
Crown Prince Alexander issued the following Christmas message: “On the occasion of this Holy Day, the birth of the Son of our Lord ,our Savior Jesus Christ, to all citizens of Serbia, the Republic of Srpska, and all people around the world who celebrate this sacred day tomorrow, I extend my warmest congratulations. I wish you happiness and prosperity, and to spend Christmas in peace and love, surrounded by your loved ones. Let the fire of the yule-log, which we traditionally light on this day to remind us of that Holy night in Bethlehem, when the Father sent his Son to all the people in the world to bring them Salvation, brings warmth into our hearts and fill them with the love of our God. May it remind us of all the importance of being and staying on Christ’s path and not only following but also living by His words”.
The Crown Prince continued: “Most of all, my family and I wish you good health. Let your home and your family be a source of peace, warmth, and love. On this Holy Day, each Orthodox home is a small sanctuary, and the love should be spread from them around the world. With great joy, I am saying the words of our traditional greetings – Peace of God, Christ is born”.
When the Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7, it is not because they reckon that Jesus was born on a different date, but because they still use the Julian calendar which has had more leap years than the Gregorian one, and is therefore 13 days behind. When the leap year in 2100 is completed, the difference will increase further, and the Greek Orthodox Christmas will then fall on 8 January.