Orthodox Christians Celebrate Christmas

Amidst the natural gas crisis, Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Georgia, Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, and the Ukraine, among others, celebrated Christmas on January 7, following to the Julian calendar.
According to Reuters, because of the gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine, in the Balkans, people celebrated Orthodox Christmas in churches lit by candles and scrambled to find alternative sources of heat for their homes.
Reuters quoted Serbian officials as saying they had no more natural gas reserves and that tens of thousands of people were without heating when most were at home to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.
Serbian Orthodox Church leader leader His Holiness Patriarch Pavle warned in his Christmas message that the world economic crisis is a result of hidden spiritual and moral crisis, Serbian broadcaster B92 said.
“It is true that the economic crisis is tied to the political crisis, and that the lack of respect for international law and ignoring the United Nations human rights charter have given birth to the political crisis, as well as this economic crisis and financial chaos,” B92 quoted Patriarch Pavle as saying.
Patriarch Pavle issued a special greeting to Serb Christians in Kosovo and Metohija, B92 said.
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Russians on Orthodox Christmas, Russian news agency RIA Novosti said.
“Over many centuries this festival has given people the unfailing light of faith, hope and love. Christmas festivities bring conciliation, good intentions, mercy and mutual respect into our lives,” RIA Novosti quoted a Kremlin media statement.
Christmas services at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in central Moscow were led by Metropolitan Kirill, interim leader of the Russian Orthodox Church since the death of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II in December.
Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church HH Stefan conducted the main liturgy at Skopje Church St. Kliment Ohridski, Macedonian news agency Mina said.
The Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia HH Stefan sent out a Christmas message for peace and God’s blessing to Orthodox believers, Mina news agency said.
Orthodox churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria adopted the New Julian Calendar in 1923 (though Bulgaria only in 1963), which synchronised Orthodox holidays with the Gregorian calendar that was in general use.In these countries, Christmas is celebrated on December 25.