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Eastern Orthodox/John Chrysostom and Christmas


There is much debate among the Protestant churches over whether Christians should celebrate Christmas because some believe it has pagan roots. Specifically on the date of December 25th one writer said that John Chrysostom rebuked Christians for adopting this pagan holiday. Is there any truth to this?

St. John Chrysostom gave his homily In Diem Natalem on 25 December 386. He did not rebuke believers for celebrating Christmas on that day. He speaks forcefully and reverently on the greatness of the Nativity in that homily. Gregory Nazianzen similarly in his Oratio 38. The Christian Church took the 25 December date as the date to celebrate the Lord's birth because the pagan celebration of their Sol Invictus was on that day. Exegetes seem to agree that Christ, the Son of God, was born in the Spring, and not in December. The Holy Orthodox Church celebrates Christ's Nativity on January 6, following the Julian calendar. It predates the Gregorian calendar, which is what the Western Church uses. I.e., in our calendar (the Julian) the Gregorian December 25 is actually 6 January.

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Chrysostomos Robert Geis


I am academically and canonically qualified to answer all questions on ethics, ritual, and questions of philosophy as it regards Eastern Orthodoxy. I see that some questions answered here in the site on Eastern Orthodoxy are given a black and white tone. My approach is more [pastoral, which would acknowledge that the human situation does not always come in answers of black and white.


I am a Prelate Protosyncellus in the Eastern Church, and oversee a community of Priests in the Society of Saint Basil, an autocephalous congregation established and approved under Russian Orthodox Primate in the US in 1917.

I have published thirteen books on Philosophy and Theology (see Robert Geis at or and have published in scholarly journals

BA, MA, and PhD, as well as DD

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