The Ukrainians no longer want to celebrate Christmas “Russian-Orthodox” but Ukrainian-Orthodox. They want to focus on “Western values” and free themselves from “Russian heritage”. Rome should be very pleased with this decision.
Inhalt / Content
Ukraine wants to introduce “Western values”.
Christmas will take place on December 25th in 2023 and not on January 7th of the coming year as has been the “traditional” way up to now. In a “quick fix” action, the government in Kiev abolished the tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church and introduced the customs of the Roman Catholic Church, even though this is still seen as a tradition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. President Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed the draft law already passed by Parliament, as the US news channel CNN reported.
Elimination of the “Russian heritage”
The motive for detaching from the tradition of the Russian Eastern Church is the desired task of the “Russian heritage” with the aim of being able to live one’s own life with one’s own traditions and holidays.
But just like Russia, the Orthodox orientation also forms the majority of the population. CNN explains that much of the Orthodox community left Moscow after the annexation of the Crimea peninsula and the start of support for separatists in the eastern Donbass region. Two different patriarchs are at the head of Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine and the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Filaret resides in Kiev and Patriarch Kyrill in Moscow. Their views, particularly on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, couldn’t be more different. The Russian church leader fully supports Russia’s President Putin, while Filaret has Zelensky’s back.
Kyrill describes the war between the two countries as a “cultural clash” between the larger world of Russia and the liberal values of the West.
In addition to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the local Greek Catholic Church also signaled a change in the previous tradition towards Roman Catholic holiday regulations, including Christmas on December 25th.
The agreement of a few voices
The broadcaster CNN was “vote-catching” and wanted to hear and present what the people in Ukraine actually think of the change in the public holiday calendar. According to a survey, a majority of 59 percent agreed.
So a teacher named Alla replied: “Ukraine should be a civilized European country”, this should “be the norm for all of us”.
A Pavlo from Lviv said: “Celebrating December 25 is logical. This is how Europe celebrates. We celebrated in December this year and there was nothing difficult about it. We want to be closer to Europe and the world.”
A Tetyana from Kyiv said she didn’t think the date was important but supported the move “because of its symbolic value.” It’s not about religion anymore. Rather, it is a sign of statehood. That should be the case, because she supports the President and her country.
Patriarch Kyrill on a lonely route
Even if the orthodox churches in Ukraine don’t seem to have much to do with the Roman Catholic Church, this decision is likely to have been received with great favor by the Vatican. After all, Christmas and Easter are an innovation of the church of Rome and thus also the “authoritarian” originators of these celebrations.
Moscow Patriarch Kyrill is virtually the last of all Orthodox Church leaders who has not yet joined Rome’s ecumenical efforts. The so-called “early church” and “post-imperial” orthodox churches with their respective patriarchs include Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Russia (Moscow).
Contrasts still evident
The “cultural conflict” against the “values of the West” described by Kyrill is specifically directed against gender, LGBTIQA+ and the respective subcategories, against same-sex marriages and thus the destruction of the traditional family. Putin is arguing with Christian values here and has his moral supporter in Kyrill. However, the patriarch of Kiev and the other orthodox church leaders are worlds closer to the Vatican than the patriarch of Moscow.
The Vatican is currently apparently occupying a position in the intermediate world. Just recently, the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainer Cardinal Woelki, reprimanded a pastor in his diocese for giving the blessing to non-heterosexual couples in St. Lambertus Church in Mettmann.Pope Francis has already “regulated” homosexual acts as “unnatural”. The pontiff did not refer to the gospel, but natural law, but still in a clear position.
At first glance, this constellation looks quite confusing. The Patriarch Kiev is close to the Pope in Rome. Politically, they seem to be largely in agreement. However, the Patriarch of Moscow appears as an opponent of Rome, as does President Putin. But the values represented by Putin and Kyrill correspond to those that are also being urged in the Vatican. How does that fit together?
At first glance, nothing fits at all. That looks just as nonsensical as the defended Christmas according to “western values”, which on the other hand also have a big problem with Christian festivals due to the “woken” parts of society.
The “big compromise” is pending
Thesis and antithesis result in a synthesis. Papal efforts to bring about peace between Russia and Ukraine are already underway. The commissioned Cardinal Matteo Zuppi has already had the doorknobs in Kiev and Moscow in his hands. Recently, Pope Francis “asked” Putin for the continuation of the grain agreement. A catastrophic famine must be prevented. However, the fact that China has stored more than half of all world wheat deposits is another matter. If the mediation talks result in a ceasefire and if grain can be transported through the Black Sea again, the “hero of the decade” will be known in no time. The religious and moral head of the Roman Catholic Church. A ceasefire usually results from compromises on both sides. Exactly what the details are remains to be seen, as will how far this current conflict will be fueled. But the “cultural conflict” is also affected by a compromise. A compromise between “Western” and “Christian” values.
Pope Francis has been preaching nature and climate protection at least since the publication of his encyclical “Laudato si‘” in 2015. With the encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” that followed, the pontiff appealed to common sense and to more brotherhood and inclusivity. A united humanity, once divided into “Christian” and “Western liberal” values, now united in peace and mutually benevolent exchange. And this with the Pope as the guiding “light figure” at the top.