Verkhovna Rada makes Catholic Christmas a non-working holiday

On November 16, the Verkhovna Rada decided to officially make December 25 an All-Ukrainian non-working holiday.

The vote officially introduces the December 25 holiday into the Ukrainian Code of Labor Laws, making May 2 a working day. Of the 331 deputies present for the vote, 238 voted in favor of establishing the new official holiday, against – 8; abstained – 17, 68 deputies did not vote.

Among those MPs who called to vote for the bill were Yevgeny Rybchinsky (deputy group "People’s Will"), Oleg Liashko (Radical Party), Igor Gryniv (BPP). Against the draft law were Igor Shurma (Opposition bloc) and Anatoly Matvienko (BPP).

"Dear colleagues, deputies, you are all appealing to the people of Ukraine, but you yourself want to vote and resolve some issues with 226 votes at the12th attempt. It's not human," people's deputy Igor Shurma said. "Name a civilized state where a day off determines the European course of the state! What nonsense are you talking? Again, I say I am a Greek Catholic. If we want this issue to be resolved, we must turn to the Churches from the VR. Let the Churches determine which days should be non-working, and then they will turn to the Parliament and legalize this matter. At the beginning of independence, the interfaith issue almost led to the collapse of Ukraine, and you again throw this stone among people!"

Deputy Irina Podoliak ("Samopomich") backed the adoption of the bill: "Dear colleagues. What are we solving today? Today we are not talking about religious and theological problems. We are not deciding today when Jesus Christ was born. Today we are showing respect to millions of Ukrainian citizens in the context of human rights. Today we are talking about setting the date of the Nativity of Jesus Christ as a non-working day for millions of citizens of Ukraine. I want to tell you that in all countries of the world, and Ukraine is not an exception, there are 10, 11, 12, 13 days off and holidays. We do not dictate to the Churches when and how to celebrate. We show respect to millions of Ukrainians and give them an opportunity to have a day off on December 25."

The Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Andrey Parubiy, called the adoption of the bill a "big victory".

There are about 800,000 Roman Catholics in Ukraine who celebrate Christmas on December 25. Greek Catholics, like the Orthodox, celebrate Christmas on January 7.
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