Orthodox Christians mark Christmas Eve
On Saturday, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was formally got independence at a ceremony in Istanbul after receiving the Tomos of Autocephaly (autonomy) from Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew at the Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Marina Poroshenko along with many tourists from Greece were also present during the service.
The service will be followed by ritual at the Fener dock in the Golden Horn, during which the patriarch will throw a large cross into the sea to be retrieved by a group of swimmers.
Several countries including Russia, Georgia, and Armenia celebrate Christmas in January.
The majority of Orthodox churches worldwide use the Julian calendar, created under the reign of Julius Caesar in 45 BC, and have not adopted the commonly used Gregorian calendar, proposed by Latin Pope Gregory of Rome in 1582.
The former calendar runs 13 days behind.