By Kostas Onisenko
In an interview on Saturday, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine referred to the calendar issue, which remains a topical matter and is of particular concern to Ukrainian public opinion in recent years.
Ukrainians, like Russians, celebrate religious holidays according to the Gregorian calendar, that is, they celebrate Christmas on January 7 and all other holidays are celebrated in different dates.
Upon the establishment of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the question of harmonizing the calendar with the rest of the Orthodox is increasingly raised.
Answering a relevant question, Metropolitan Epifaniy stated that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was not ready to raise this issue at that moment for various reasons, mainly that 60% of Ukrainians were opposed to the change of the holiday calendar.
Until that is the case, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine said that the Church and the media should inform the public to avoid a rift on this occasion.
“The transition period has not begun. When the conditions are right for the faithful, the conditions for the church will be right, too. Then the appropriate decision will be made […] I have repeatedly said that it was a matter of time. It will happen, but when the Ukrainian people consciously reach this stage,” said the primate.
At the same time, Metropolitan Epifaniy stressed that any decision the Church will make should take into account the faithful who are currently under the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine and will be later transferred to the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
As of today, as there are believers in Ukraine of various denominations, both dates (December 25 and January 7) are public holidays at the state level. However, some already celebrate Christmas with the “new calendar” while others celebrate it on both dates.