Alilo and the Old Calendar

Alilo and the Old Calendar


Photo Source: CNN

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In world news, BBC took a moment to recognize Orthodoxy. They displayed images of Old Calendar Christmas and Theophany throughout the world. Russia, home to the world’s biggest Orthodox Christian community, had some 350,000 people celebrating the Old Calendar Christmas Divine Liturgy in Moscow alone.

Some of the lesser seen, but just as vigorous old calendar celebrations of our Lord’s birth, are celebrations like that of “Alilo” in Tbilisi, Georgia. The procession for this great celebration begins in Rose Revolution Square and ends at the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi. During the procession, icons, crosses, and banners are carried through the streets and gifts are given to the needy. During the Soviet times many processions like this were banned, yet they were joyously restored again in the 1990s. “Alilo” is the name for a traditional Georgian Christmas Carol (Georgia About).

Many orthodox Christians, such as the Russians and Georgians still observe the Julian Calendar which creates a variation in the dates of the major church feasts, like Christmas and Pascha. For example, the Greek Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar and their Christmas was on December 25th 2015, while the Russian Orthodox Church follows the Julian Calendar and their Christmas was on January 7, 2016.

This variation in church calendars will be a topic of discussion for the Great and Holy Council in 2016. The Great and Holy Council of 2016 will be the first gathering of this magnitude since the 1970s, as there are many pertinent matters to be discussed in relation to the Orthodox Church in the modern world.  As far as the calendar is concerned, it would be great to have a unified liturgical voice on the major feast days.



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About author

Dean Franck

Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.