Orthodox Christians in area getting ready for Jan. 7 holiday
By EMILY SCOTT, escott@...
For many of us, the holiday season came to an end on Tuesday.
Presents have been opened, cookies eaten, and New Year's Resolutions
made and some even already broken, but for some Orthodox Christians,
Christmas has not yet arrived.
Father Milan Pajic of Saint George Serbian Orthodox Church in Midland
said that while the Orthodox churches of many countries have switched
to the Gregorian calendar, the most commonly used calendar in the
world, on which Christmas falls on Dec. 25, the Serbian Orthodox
Church is one of the few that still goes by the Julian calendar, on
which Christmas is Jan. 7.
The date is not the only thing that is different about Orthodox
Christmas, and many customs unfamiliar to other Christian
denominations are celebrated.
Pajic, who emphasized that customs vary depending on the Orthodox
church's country of origin, said that at his church's Christmas Eve
service, a Yule log tree is brought into the church and blessed.
Pajic said an oak tree is used because it still has leaves in the
winter. Logs from the tree are given to members of the church to take
home, and the rest of the tree is taken outside and burned, to
symbolize the warmth from the tree the shepherds brought to Joseph
and Mary to start a fire at Jesus' birth.
Straw is also brought into the church to represent the manger in
which Jesus was born.
After the Christmas Eve service, church members drive through the
town, honking their horns and sometimes playing music, in a
processional that ends at the Serbian Club.
At the club, the children receive a visit from Santa Claus and get
presents from him. The adults are served pastries, coffee, and drinks
and spend quality time with their friends and family.
On Christmas Day, Pajic said a service is held in the morning. That
service is mostly in English, but some is in Serbian, including the
After the service, a family dinner is held, which traditionally only
the immediate family is invited to, according to Pajic. The meal
usually consists of a pig that is roasted on Christmas Eve. Pajic
said some Orthodox churches use lamb because that was more available
to their ancestors.
Saint George Serbian Orthodox Church, located on 10th St. in Midland
Ohio, will hold Christmas Eve services at 5:30pm on Jan. 6.
210 East Fourth St.
East Liverpool, Ohio