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Serbian Orthodox Christians usher in Christmas

Meeting in their new sanctuary on Mallard Creek Road, members of St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church ushered in Christmas on Monday night with Vespers and Holy Liturgy. For them, the holiday marking Jesus’ birth officially falls on Jan. 7, which is Tuesday.

In calculating their liturgical calendar, Orthodox Christian churches with roots in Slavic countries such as Russia and Serbia go by the Julian calendar, which was introduced by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar and was in effect when Jesus was born 2,000 years ago.

Protestants and Catholics, who celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25, follow the Gregorian calendar, named for Pope Gregory VIII, who refined the Julian calendar in 1582.

About 100 families worship at St. Simeon, which had its beginnings two decades ago when Serbian families began gathering for worship in Charlotte.

The church is still looking for a full-time pastor. On Monday, the services were conducted by two priests, Fathers Theodore Kyritsis and Jovan Todorovich, who are helping the congregation.

Tim Funk

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