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Christians in Union County Celebrate Christmas in the Julian Calendar

LEWISBURG, Pa. — More than a dozen people from Holy Protection Mission gathered at the Lewisburg Club on Market Street to celebrate Christmas. They are pa...

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- More than a dozen people from Holy Protection Mission gathered at the Lewisburg Club on Market Street to celebrate Christmas. They are part of the church which follows the Julian Calendar.

"Which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. That's why today is Christmas for us as opposed to December 25," Deacon George Sharonoff said.

Many fast for 40 days prior to Christmas. After the Christmas liturgy, it was time to feast.

"Hymns that are sung about Nativity itself. As you can see, now we are having our meal breaking a 40-day fast," Sharonoff said.

Holy Protection Mission formed three years ago in Lewisburg. It has around two dozen members.

Olesya Siewers moved here from Russia 22 years ago.

"It makes it great for our children. I think it's a great asset to the community too for people who are looking for a home church," Siewers said.

But the majority of this parish is not Russian. Vincent Mazeski was raised Roman Catholic.

"With some of the other original families, we all found our way to the Orthodox church and we all found a nice home here," Mazeski said.

The parish has worshiped here at the Lewisburg Club on Market Street for the past three years, but recently bought land in nearby Winfield so they can build a church of their own.

"We've purchased two acres at this point in time. We're going to be purchasing another two acres right next to it. We've also purchased a cemetery right next to it," Sharonoff said.