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Russian Orthodox Church Official Calls For Switch To Julian Calendar

A senior Russian Orthodox Church official is calling for Russia to return back to its traditional Julian calendar that was used until February 1918.

In a televised interview with church-affliliated Spas TV on January 16, Aleksandr Shchipkov said the shift to the Gregorian calendar by the Bolsheviks a century ago was a bad idea.

"[Their] goal was to break tradition, psychologically break the Russian people, to paralyze their will," said Shchipkov, first deputy chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church's public relations department.

"The only structure that preserved the old style is the church, which is truly the preserver of tradition," he said. "A calendar is not just numbers on paper; it is a part of the people's world. We are in our Orthodox paradigm and we must stay in it."

In June, lawmakers from Russia's nationalist Liberal Democratic Party unsuccessfully proposed restoring use of the Julian calendar, which lags behind the Gregorian calendar by 13 days. Russian Orthodox Christmas falls on January 7.

The influence of the Orthodox Church, which has close ties with the government, has increased in recent years.

President Vladimir Putin has appealed to what he describes as traditional Russian values, held up the church as an example, and suggested that the West is morally flawed.

With reporting by RIA and
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