Waterloo Record, Canada
Jan 5 2012
Christmas about to begin for some in region
WATERLOO REGION – Christmas may be over for many of us, but for some
Orthodox congregations, it’s just beginning.
Waterloo Region is home to Greek, Armenian, Coptic (Egyptian),
Eritrean, Ethiopian and Serbian Orthodox congregations. Most celebrate
Christmas Day on Jan. 7; Armenians, on Jan. 6.
About 2,000 people will gather at The Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in
Kitchener today to celebrate Christmas Eve with Rev. Milan Jovanovic.
The service, in Serbian, will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. followed by a
On Saturday, there will be a Christmas Day service from 10 a.m.-noon.
The tradition is that a six-week fasting take place before Christmas,
starting on Nov. 28. The fast allows only non-dairy products and fish.
At St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Kitchener, a Christmas service
will be held Saturday, from 7 p.m. to midnight, led by Rev. Athanasius
Iskander. About 300 people will listen to the service in English along
with a little Arabic, Coptic and Greek.
Following the service there will be a communal meal of meat and poultry.
For 40 days before Christmas, the faithful follow a regimen in which
only vegetarian meals and fish are allowed.
`The tradition surrounding Christmas is joy at the birth of Christ
more than gift giving and feasting,’ said Iskander.
In Cambridge, about 150 of the Armenian Apostolic Church members will
celebrate Christmas today through a divine liturgy at 11 a.m. The
service will be in Armenian.
Following the liturgy, coffee and Armenian pastries will be served.
A traditional Christmas dinner will be served Jan. 8 at the Armenian
Community Centre in Cambridge, following the Sunday liturgy and water
blessing at 10:30 a.m.
Most Eastern churches celebrate holy days by the Julian calendar,
established by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. Western churches follow a
calendar refined by Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century.