One of my most popular posts was on Orthodox Christmas last year. So, again, here's a glimpse on how the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox celebrated Christmas and Epiphany.
First off, know that some Orthodox Churches use the Gregorian calendar for fixed feasts, eg Christmas, and the Julian calendar for moveable feasts such as Easter. These, such as the Greek Orthodox of Churches of Constantinople, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. Others such as the Russian, Georgian, Coptic and Armenian Orthodox use the Julian calendar for both and celebrate Christmas on January 7th.
These are images of Christmas and Epiphany celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar. The Julian celebrations are in the next post.
An Armenian Orthodox clergy leads mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City December 23, 2007. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM)
Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim attends a Christmas mass in Sofia's golden-domed cathedral, Alexander Nevski, December 25, 2007. The Balkan state, unlike some other fellow Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on December 25. REUTERS/Nikolay Doychinov (BULGARIA)
Orthodox priests attend a Christmas mass in Sofia's golden-domed cathedral, Alexander Nevski, December 25, 2007. REUTERS/Nikolay Doychinov (BULGARIA)
Shiite tribal leaders attend Christmas mass at an Assyrian orthodox church in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007. The church, which is located next to a Shiite mosque, hosted their neighbors for Christmas mass as a gesture of friendship. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Here are some Orthodox Epiphany Traditions.
Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I conducts the Epiphany day ceremony in Aya Yorgi (St. George) church at the Fener Greek Orthodox patriarchate in Istanbul January 6, 2008. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)
George Goutzgoudis, a-30-year old Greek Orthodox man from Thessaloniki, holds up a wooden cross thrown into the water by Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, not pictured, in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008. Greek Orthodox men braved the cold winter weather to dive into Istanbul's Golden Horn and retrieve a wooden cross in a ceremony commemorating Epiphany or the baptism of Jesus Christ. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)
An Orthodox priest carries a cross during a water blessing ceremony on Epiphany Day in Flisvos beach, south of Athens January 6, 2008. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis (GREECE) [Andrew: From the Encolpion of the Panagia around his neck and the crozier he's carrying, he's a bishop, not a priest.]
A priest blesses the water in a fountain during the Epiphany religious service in the village of Izvoru, Romania, Sunday Jan. 6, 2008 . As part of the local Epiphany custom, following the religious service, the villagers get their horses blessed with holy water and then participate in a horse race. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Men jump into the icy water of a lake in an attempt to grab a wooden cross on Epiphany Day in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia January 6, 2008. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov (BULGARIA)
Bulgarians sing and dance in the icy river of Tundzha during Epiphany Day celebrations in the town of Kalofer, Bulgaria, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008 . The Eastern Orthodox priests throw a cross in the river and the men take it out. It is believed that those who dance in the river will be healthy throughout the year. (AP Photo/Petar Petrov) [Andrew: They usually don't mention the fellows who died immediately after catching a chill.]
A horse reacts as a priest blesses it during the Epiphany religious service in the village of Izvoru, Romania, Sunday Jan. 6, 2008 . As part of the local Epiphany custom, following the religious service, the villagers get their horses blessed with holy water and then participate in a horse race. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Men ride during the annual horse race ahead of the annual race organised by Orthodox believers during the Epiphany day celebrations near the Romanian town of Macin, 250 km (155 miles) northeast of Bucharest January 6, 2008. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel (ROMANIA)
2 hours ago