Georgia celebrates Christmas
Wednesday, January 6
The Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7, which is December 25 on the Julian Calendar, as do the majority of Orthodox Christians. Although Easter is the principal Orthodox Church celebration, Christmas and New Year are celebrated as an extended holiday.
The Nativity of Christ was initially celebrated as a joint feast with Theophany, January 6/19, as it still is in neighbouring Armenia. The actual date of the birth of Christ is not known, but after the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in 312 a number of official pagan festivals were transformed into Christian ones, on the same dates, as a means of supplanting pagan worship. December 25 was one such date, and became fixed as the date of Christmas throughout the Christian world when the cycle of fundamental feasts and fasts was developed during the first six centuries of the Common Era. Most Orthodox continue to use the Julian Calendar because this cycle of feasts and fasts cannot be kept on the Gregorian Calendar in some years.
The Messenger wishes its readers of every faith and none, from every part of the world, a very happy Christmas. Our next issue will appear on Friday December 8.