St michaels golden domed monastery in kyiv ukraine
St. Michael's monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo by Karyna Panchenko on

Ukraine has moved its official Christmas holiday to December 25 in a break with the Russian Orthodox Church which celebrates it on January 7, according to legislation passed on Friday.

The bill signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky highlights the deepening rift between churches in Kyiv and Moscow since Russia's invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.

"The relentless and successful struggle for their identity contributes to... the desire of every Ukrainian to live their own life with their own traditions and holidays," according to an explanatory note to the bill on the parliament's website.

The purpose of the law was to "abandon the Russian heritage of imposing Christmas celebrations on January 7," the note said.

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