Many Eastern Orthodox Christians today celebrate Christmas. Western Christians use the Gregorian Calendar, whereas Eastern Orthodox Christians, including Russian Orthodox, uses the Julian Calendar, which is 13 days behind. So, today is January 7th in the Gregorian Calendar, but December 25 in the Julian.
No matter the day, I wish all Russian Orthodox a Merry Christmas! С Рождеством!
Besides the cultural significance – for example, their equivalent of Santa Claus (Дед Мороз; Ded Moroz) is called Old Man Frost – Russia has had a rich religious history with the holiday. This is unsurprising considering the holiday’s religious nature. In Russia today, in a survey conducted in 2012, 41% of Russians identify themselves as Russian Orthodox, the largest religion in the nation (the runner up, Islam, had 6.5%).
Therefore, for this post, I’ll embed a video of a Russian Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, and attended in 2015 by Vladimir Putin and other high government officials. You don’t need to understand Russian to know how important the occasion is.