From September 1, 2023, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine switches to a new style for fixed holidays while adhering to the current Paschalia. This was stated by the Father and Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, on the live broadcast of “Live TV,” announcing the decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in Ukraine.
“Taking into account the numerous requests of the faithful and having conducted prior consultations with the clergy and monastics of our Church about the urgent need to reform the Liturgical Calendar of the UGCC in Ukraine, as well as taking into account pastoral reasoning:
A. The UGCC in Ukraine will switch from September 1, according to the new style (beginning of the Indictus) of the Year of our Lord 2023, to a new style for fixed holidays with the preservation of the current Paschalia.
B. For those parishes or separate communities that feel they are not yet ready for such a step (with the individual blessing of the diocesan bishop), to keep the possibility of liturgical life according to the Julian calendar for the period until the Year of Our Lord 2025,” says the 5th resolution of 93 rd session of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in Ukraine, which took place on February 1–2, 2023 in Lviv-Bryukhovychi.
According to this decision, starting from September 1 this year, the UGCC in Ukraine will celebrate all fixed feasts in the new style. Primarily, Christmas — on December 25, Epiphany — on January 6, Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary — on March 25, Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary — on October 1, St. Nicholas Day — on December 6, etc.
“I would emphasize that it is not only Christmas! During the summits and preparations for our Synod, we did not talk about Christmas but all the holidays that belong to the fixed cycle. Because it is absolutely against any liturgical rules to change the date of celebration of only one holiday, you cannot change the date of Christmas, moving it to December 25, and leave all the others in the old style,” explained His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
The transition to the new style will take place on September 1, which marks the beginning of the new liturgical year.
Parishes that are not yet ready for such a step will have the opportunity, with the permission of their bishop, to celebrate fixed feasts in the old style until September 2025 (Christmas — January 7, Epiphany — January 19, Annunciation — April 7, etc.). “For those parishes or separate communities that do not feel ready for such a step (with the individual blessing of the diocesan bishop), to keep the possibility of liturgical life according to the Julian calendar for the period until the year 2025,” follows the 2 nd paragraph of the 5th resolution of the Synod.
The UGCC in Ukraine will celebrate Easter and all related holidays in the old style, as before.
“We are switching to the new style only for fixed holidays. We have decided to leave Paschalia as it is today. The actual Paschalia remains valid,” said the Head of the UGCC.
According to the Primate, the calendar reform of the UGCC in Ukraine will have two stages. The first step has already been taken. Regarding the celebration of Easter, the bishops “decided to wait for a while.”
His Beatitude Sviatoslav explained that in 2025 the 1700th anniversary of the First Council of Nicaea would be celebrated. In preparation for this anniversary, collaborative work is underway in a dialogue between Rome and Constantinople on a renewed Paschalia, according to which all Christians will celebrate Easter on the same day.
The Head of the UGCC noted that when the survey was conducted, the bishops decided that if about 70 % of those support the decision to reform, we can move forward. “But it turned out that there is support for almost 90 %, which is in nearly every diocese. That is, the desire and need for the calendar reform were much more potent than we could have hoped, and this is good news,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized asking all the faithful to listen to their Mother Church’s voice and maintain unity and unanimity during the calendar reform.