Amid all the Iowa chatter, I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas on behalf of the Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Let me explain. As many people know, the Roman Church in the fourth century shifted the celebration of Christ’s birth from January 6 to December 25, to co-opt the pagan feast of Saturnalia. The Greek and Russian churches also celebrate December 25, but since they still use the Julian calendar, which is now 13 days off, they end up marking the holiday on January 7.
The Armenian Church, on the other hand, kept the feast of Christ’s birth (along with His revelation — Nativity and Theophany) on January 6, which in the West is known as Epiphany. All parts of the Armenian Church now observe the new, Gregorian, calendar — except for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which still uses the Julian calendar. Thus, Christmas on January 19. Enjoy!