It may be over for some, but for others it is just getting underway. Members of the Orthodox Church have been holding traditional Christmas Eve ceremonies around the world. The Russian Orthodox Church is among several orthodox churches that celebrate Christmas on January 7. It uses what’s known as the Julian calendar, whereas other countries use the Gregorian calendar.
The head of the Russian church, Patriarch Alexy II, called for peace in the Middle East in his Christmas message. Patriarch Bartholomew I, based in Istanbul, has also led a congregation to the shores of the Golden Horn. In a traditional ceremony, Greek Orthodox men dived into the water to retrieve a wooden cross.