Russia is given the holiday in Ukraine as a snub
Russia is given the holiday in Ukraine as a snub

Kyiv: In contrast to the Russian Orthodox Church, which celebrates Christmas on January 7, Ukraine has moved its official holiday to December 25 as a result of legislation passed on Friday.

The law that President Volodymyr Zelensky signed reveals the widening gap between Moscow and Kyiv churches since Russia invaded its pro-Western neighbour.

According to a note explaining the bill posted on the parliament's website, "the relentless and successful struggle for their identity contributes to... the desire of every Ukrainian to live their own life with their own traditions and holidays."

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The law was intended to "abandon the Russian heritage of imposing Christmas celebrations on January 7," according to the note.

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Since at least the 17th century, Moscow had been the spiritual leader of Ukraine, but in 2019 a portion of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church severed ties with Moscow in protest of Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in their nation's east.

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The Ukrainian Orthodox Church's branch supported by Russia claimed to have severed ties with Moscow in May 2022.

Christmas' relocation is the most recent action Ukraine has taken to distance itself from Moscow in recent years, including renaming streets and towns that had been named after Soviet leaders.

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