Russian Orthodox Christmas holiday debate yet to take center stage (1)

The Russian Orthodox church in Lasnamäe, Tallinn. (Postimees/Scanpix)
1/7/2015 9:49 AM
Category: Society

Estonian political parties are yet to hold major debate over whether to make the Russian Orthodox Christmas, held on January 7, a national holiday.

Social Democrat Vadim Belobrovtsev also said his party has not debated the subject, but the need to open a discussions exists. He said he personally supports the idea for an additional national holiday.

Viktor Vassiljev, Center Party MP, said there are currently more important questions. He added that Estonia is not Russia, but the nation does have a sizable Russian Orthodox population. Vassiljev said his party has not had internal debate over the topic, although the party did recently present Parliament with a bill to make January 7 a national holiday.

Maksim Rogalski, IRL, said he also backs the idea, or at least some state-level recognition.

According to the latest national census, from 2011, Estonia now has more Orthodox Christians than Lutherans. Around 176,000 people said they are Orthodox Christians, although many belong to the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, which is not attached to the Russian Orthodox Church and celebrates Christmas at the end of December.

From next year, the official school holiday will be stretched to encompass January 7, although it will begin on December 23, not December 20 as in 2014. This year's winter school holiday ended on January 4.

M. Järvekülg, J.M. Laats

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