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Orthodox Christians in area getting ready for Jan. 7 holiday

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.reviewonline.com/News/articles.asp?articleID=11786 Orthodox Christians in area getting ready for Jan. 7 holiday By EMILY SCOTT,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2008
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      http://www.reviewonline.com/News/articles.asp?articleID=11786

      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
      choir's responses.

      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.

      The Review
      210 East Fourth St.
      East Liverpool, Ohio
      43920
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