ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – It’s Orthodox Christmas – 13 days after December 25th – and St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Belmont County is starting their celebrations with the Divine Liturgy service.

”We’re thirteen days behind everybody else, but on that old calendar this is December 25th, so we’re celebrating the birth of Christ.”

Father Michael Kabel – Priest & Pastor, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

Orthodox Christians follow the Julian calendar, while much of the western world follows the Gregorian Calendar.  

Families spent the night prior serving 12 fasting dishes, excluding meat and dairy to represent the 12 apostles in preparation for Nativity, as cantor Kim Hurley explains. 

”On Christmas eve, they have the Holy Night Supper where we have traditional foods that are fasting foods before we come to church on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day, of course is opening presents and a big, non-fasting meal,” she said.

Today, they gathered together for their Divine Liturgy service on Christmas Day. 

”It’s really lovely and one of the things we like best about Christmas is when the families come in, and because we’re an Old Calendar Chruch, we have – many times we have many different people here from many different countries. We have Romania, we have Russia, we have people come for the traditional service.”

Kim Hurley – Cantor, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

Bringing families together in celebration and faith is the centerpiece of the holiday, and in the words of Father Michael, greeting each other with the news of Christ’s birth seizes the opportunity to glorify salvation. 

Greeting each other with ‘Christ is Born’ and ‘Glorify Him’ in different languages is typical practice.

‘Христос рождается,’ and ‘славьте Его!’

Celebrations of Orthodox Christmas continue into the next few days. Here is their schedule of events for the holiday: