Muhammad, thou shalt assuredly find those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ to be the nearest of them in love to the believers. That is because amongst them are savants and monks and because they are not proud. (Al Quran 5:82/83)
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
While many in the United States believe that Christmas has come and gone, a sizable population of Christians in the world will be celebrating the Christmas today.
Orthodox Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas today on January 7th. Merry Christmas to all our 225–300 million Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters from the editorial team of the Muslim Times.
Communities from Europe, Africa and the Middle East are marking the event – each with their own unique traditions – on Thursday, in line with the Julian calendar.
In the Russian capital Moscow, the authorities expected 350,000 people to take part in Christmas liturgies.
Head covering of the women in the above picture of Prime Minister Putin easily proves that Hijab is not a Muslim dress only. The Christians and Jews, including mother Mary had worn it over the centuries.
Other countries celebrated with firework displays, traditional log-burning ceremonies and processions.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, teaching that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission to the apostles, and practicing what it understands to be the original faith passed down from the Apostles.
Orthodoxy has no Papacy or bishopric of similar authority. The commonly-used but unofficial designation “Eastern” derives from its geographical relation to the “Western” churches, now known as the Roman Catholic Church, and from Constantinople being the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Geographically, the majority of Orthodox Christians in the 21st century reside in Greece, Eastern Europe and Russia, with less numerous communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Middle East and around the Eastern Mediterranean. There are also many small but growing communities in other parts of the world, formed in part through immigration and in part through conversion and missionary activity.
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC); alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches, in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox patriarchates. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’.