While most Americans are preparing to box up their Christmas decorations, local Orthodox Christians are preparing to celebrate the nativity.
Members of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church at 244 Sunset Drive in Corning will be celebrating the sacred Feast of the Nativity, commonly known as Orthodox Christmas, on Jan. 7.
The feast’s date, which is observed as Christmas in some Orthodox churches, is set by the older Julian calendar. Others follow the Gregorian calendar and observe Christmas with the majority of Christian denominations on Dec. 25.
For the members of St. Mary’s, this is an opportunity to celebrate traditions that have been passed down for generations, according to the church.
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church was founded in 1914 by immigrants from the Carpatho-Russian Mountain region, in what is now Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Today, about 50 or so regular churchgoers climb the steep stairs to attend services in the church building that was erected in 1917.
Like most Americans, the period before Christmas is marked with many activities. For Orthodox Christians, a period of 40 days is focused not on shopping and parties, but prayer, fasting and charity, according to St. Mary’s.
Christmas celebrations continue for 12 days, until Theophany.
Members greet each other with “Christ is born; glorify Him,” and travel to each other’s homes to sing carols.
All are welcome to join the celebration at St. Mary’s at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 7 for Divine Liturgy followed by a Christmas reception.
For more information, please contact Father Daniel Mahler at (607) 962-5285.