Orthodox Christmas Eve was celebrated on Jan. 6 with Orthodox Christmas following on Jan. 7 and Prince Albert’s Ukrainian Orthodox community was ready to celebrate the season.
Father Michal Lomaszkiewicz of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church said the season brings joy, hope, and a lot of questions about the Julian calendar.
“You know the season at our church is usually people asking why we Orthodox (are not) celebrating until 10 days later after the Christmas that the western world celebrates mostly,” Lomaszkiewicz said. “But (it’s) also to celebrate (and) many people come to church.”
For Lomaskiewicz and his parish, Christmas started with a meatless supper of 12 dishes, followed by a celebration at the church. Even with the influx of newcomers fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the attendance was not as high as expected.
“We expect more people from Ukraine but unfortunately, I don’t know why, not many of them came,” he said. “We have members of our Church in Prince Albert, usually they are coming with their family.”
Regardless of the turnout, Lomaszkiewicz said celebrating the Nativity of Jesus ensures it will always be a meaningful time of year.
“It’s one of the beautiful seasons of the year for us,” he said. “You have many different celebrations, but Christmas (is) always the time for gathering together the family—the family of the church, the family at home, the family in the community—and have the joy of the Christmas, the joy of coming to us of our saviour. It is a beautiful time,” he said.
Lomaszkiewiczwished everyone all of the best in the New Year no matter which calendar they followed.
“The best wishes to everyone of you, those who celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25, those who celebrate on January 7. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you because it’s not about the day, (it’s) about the spirit (of) how we celebrate because many of us have a different point of view on, you can call it Christmas, but we call it Nativity of our Lord. Sometimes it may be different but you are celebrating some holy seasonal time.”