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Julian Calendar #256511
10/13/07 06:14 PM
10/13/07 06:14 PM
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asianpilgrim Offline OP
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Dear all,

I've been reading a lot about the calendar debates in Orthodoxy, but I've never seen anything addressing the reasons as to why the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, as a rule, favor it. So, here's my first question...

Why do Ukrainian Greek Catholics prefer the Old Calendar?

My second question is:

Can somebody here (Fr. Keleher?) please give a clear list of reasons as to why the Julian Paschalion should be kept raher than the Gregorian? I remember Fr. Keleher saying something to the effect that the Julian Calendar is actually more accurate than the Gregorian.

I'd also like to be enlightened more about the alleged violation of the canons of Nicaea I by the Gregorian Paschalion, as well as about the historical reasons for the differences in cycle between East and West (the former using a 19-year cycle anf the latter using an 84-year cycle, etc.)

I've been reading things like Modernists vs Traditionalists and it seems like the arguments for the Gregorian Paschalion are gaining ground even among the Orthodox.

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: asianpilgrim] #256521
10/13/07 06:47 PM
10/13/07 06:47 PM
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This thread should be a real crowd pleaser! Actually, I am quite interested in reading some of the responses. On an Orthodox Forum, this discussion would turn into a flamefest, with heavy casualties on all sides. To my knowledge, it has not been such a divisive issue amongst the Eastern Catholics as it has with the Orthodox. There are still areas of Pennsylvania where one does not even mention the "C" word unless one is prepared to resort to physical means to settle the inevitable scuffle.

Let me start thusly:

1.Why do Ukrainian Greek Catholics prefer the Old Calendar?

Because they have uncommonly good sense, are intelligent, refined, and are obviously people of distinction, and most likely good looking as well. whistle
Actually, there still exists a strong Traditional sense amongst the Ukrainian congregations that I am familiar with, and in this area they have remained true to that which has been handed down to them.

2.Can somebody here (Fr. Keleher?) please give a clear list of reasons as to why the Julian Paschalion should be kept rather than the Gregorian?

Because Christ was crucified at Passover, which the Gregorian Paschalion does not take into consideration. And once again, it is what has been handed down to us from the Church Fathers and Holy Church Herself.

3. I'd also like to be enlightened more about the alleged violation of the canons of Nicaea I by the Gregorian Paschalion, as well as about the historical reasons for the differences in cycle between East and West (the former using a 19-year cycle anf the latter using an 84-year cycle, etc.)

I'll let Priest Andrew Phillips answer this one:

Let us now turn our attention to the lunar calendar. This is based on the time the Moon takes to turn around the Earth. This period of time is not constant but varies between approximately 29 days 6 hours and 29 days 20 hours, Using modem techniques astronomers have fixed a mathematical average of 29.530588 days or 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and approximately 2.8 seconds. This period represents the duration of an average lunar month. 12 lunar months thus represent about 354 days. It is clear that it is therefore very hard to reconcile the solar year with the lunar year. Indeed to do so with mathematical exactness is impossible, except over periods of millions of years. In other words there is no common denominator or multiplier between the solar year and the lunar year. And yet to find the date of Easter, it is absolutely essential to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars. What did the Fathers of the Church do when faced with this issue at the First Qecumenical Council at Nicca in 325? How did they overcome this seemingly intractable problem? Before answering these questions, we should perhaps first consider a theological aspect of time.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians (5, 16), we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. St. Gregory of Nyssa in his De Octava, PG XLIV 609A, talks of time as 'dirty' or 'sullied'. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin - and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutise' or eternalise time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia - tables for the dating of Easter - in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this - to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation - the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:
1)

The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.

The Fathers also asked the question why Christ chose to rise from the dead at precisely this time. According to the Gospels, the Saviour chose His time, often fleeing from the Jews, but finally accepting death with the words, 'the hour has now come' (John 12, 23 and 17, 1 for example). The Fathers explained this by drawing a parallel between the first 'week' of the world (the Six Days of Creation) and the week at the end of which Christ rose from the dead. These two weeks are the most important in the history of the world, and the second one we celebrate liturgically as Great and Holy Week. (For details of this explanation, see the 'Anatolian Homily' on the date of Pascha, written in 387, which portrays what the logic of the Fathers must have been at the First Council).

According to the Fathers the first day of Creation coincided with the spring equinox (Gen. 1, 2-5). The day and the night were equal and the world was created as coming into flower. The fourth day of the Creation was the day of the full moon (Gen. l, 16). This was the day when the moon was created; it is natural to suppose that it was created as a full moon, i.e. fully illuminated as seen from the Earth, for the inhabitants of which it was created. The creation of man took place on the sixth day (Gen. 1, 26-31). The sixth day, considered to be the day of the Fall, was Friday, the seventh day, the Sabbath, was the day of rest (Gen.2, 2).

In the week of Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection, the first event is the equinox, the second the full moon, followed by Friday, the sixth day, the anniversary of the Fall, when Christ was crucified for the sins of the world. On the seventh day, the Sabbath, Great and Holy Saturday, Christ rested. On the eighth day there occurred the third event, Christ rose from the dead. The eighth day is also the first day of a New Creation. And the first day is the day when the world began (Gen. 1, 3), when God created the Light. Thus Christ, the Lord of Creation, 'by Whom all things were made', becomes the New Adam, 'recreates' man by redeeming him. All that was undone by man through his Fall is made anew in the Re-Creation, the Resurrection of Christ. Together with man, all Creation is renewed. Thus time, also part of Creation and sullied by the Fall, is hallowed, purified and resurrected by the time which the Saviour chose for His saving Passion. The half-light of the equinox is illuminated by the full light of the full moon and then fully lit by the glorious light of the Resurrection, when the sinless human nature of the God-Man was irradiated and transfigured by the Uncreated Light

The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonized with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonize the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar. Let us look at this more closely.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonize the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity - Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Qecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonization of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos.

In sixteenth century Rome, however, none of this theological depth was understood. This was because the criteria of thought at the time were not Christian but humanist, worshipping not Christ, but fallen man, with his fallen reason and its fallible understanding of the world around it. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII agreed to change the calendar that had been universally observed more or less since the First Council for a new calendar, one which would be astronomically more correct. Having introduced this calendar, the dating of Easter, the Paschalia, would also be affected. This change led to disharmony between the solar and lunar calendars and the loss therefore of all the dogmatic and theological harmony and symbolism of the Julian calendar and its associated Paschalia.

Indeed, as the Orthodox Church in the sixteenth century saw, the new Gregorian calendar and Paschalia are anticanonical. A number of canons (The Apostolic Canons VII and LXX; Laodicea XXXVII and XXXIX; Antioch I) state quite clearly that the Christian Easter must neither coincide with or fall before the Jewish Passover. These ancient canons had been established to preserve the historical and therefore theological order of events of the Passion of Christ. It would be senseless to celebrate Easter before the Jewish Passover, for Christ is precisely 'the New Passover'. The new calendar of Rome was thus condemned and anathematised by the Orthodox Church almost as soon as it was introduced in 1583, 1587 and 1593 at councils of the Four Eastern Patriarchs and representatives of the other local Orthodox Churches. This condemnation was upheld by all Orthodox until the beginning of our own century, until after the Fall of the Russian Empire. Indeed even Patriarch Meletios did not dare introduce the Gregorian calendar into the Orthodox Church, given the awful anathemas of the Patriarchs; instead he resorted to a piece of most un-Orthodox casuistry, with the 'Meletian calendar', which is not the Gregorian in theory, but in practice runs parallel for the first 800 years.

In parentheses it is interesting to note that the calendar change of Pope Gregory was not the first one. As early as 1324 certain Greeks, influenced by the same rationalistic, pagan philosophy as the humanists of sixteenth-century Renaissance Italy had already attempted to change the calendar. And at that time too the Church had rejected any change, putting Theology above Astronomy. (For details see The Calendar Question by Fr Basil Sakkas, pp. 23-27).

A recent Russian study of the calendar by A. N. Zelinsky confirms that between 1851 and 1950, for example, Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrated Easter no fewer than 15 times before the Jews celebrated their Passover. This is clearly anticanonical. Unfortunately the Orthodox Church in Finland and a few parishes of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchal Church in Holland also celebrate Easter according to the new calendar and associated Paschalia. In Finland this innovation was responsible for the virtual destruction there of monastic life. Monks, refusing to live in conflict with the canons, fled the country.

Another problem exists for those who, like the Greek Church, retain the Church calendar for Easter but have introduced the new calendar for feasts with a fixed date. Firstly they celebrate these fixed feasts at a different time from the majority of Orthodox, not to mention from the dates kept by countless generations of their forebears and the saints now in Heaven. Secondly, when fixed feasts coincide with feasts whose date is determined by the date of Easter, chaos and absurdity ensue. Let us take the case of the Fast and the Feast of the Holy Apostles. For example, in 1983 Easter fell on April 25 (May 8 in the new calendar) and thus the Fast of the Holy Apostles (which starts every year 58 days after Easter) began on June 21 (July 4 in the new calendar). The Feast of the Holy Apostles, however, fell according to the new calendar on June 29. Thus the Fast in preparation for the Feast began 5 days after the Feast! Such absurdity causes regular embarrassment and ridicule. Worse than this, the new calendar churches seem to dishonour the two greatest Apostles of Christendom.

There is also yet another problem for the local churches that have adopted the new calendar for the fixed feasts. This is schism, particularly serious in Greece and Romania. Those who have wished to observe the old calendar have been and still are directly or indirectly persecuted. With calendar schisms these churches have been undermined and unable to offer the resistance that they might well have been able to offer to the secular-minded governments of their countries. Such governments have of course taken advantage of these splits to further weaken the churches and secularise the country. In Poland and North America, the local churches have permitted some parishes to retain the church calendar, while others follow the new. There are even some parishes which have both calendars at the same time! The results everywhere are chaos, confusion, discord and disharmony - which was precisely the situation before the First Oecumenical Council and one of the main reasons why that Council was called.


Nevertheless, at the present time, a number of arguments are put forward in favour of the new calendar and its associated dating of Easter:
1) All Christians should celebrate their feasts at the same time.

In answer to this, it may be asked what is the most important thing - the unity of Orthodox with Non-Orthodox, or the unity of Orthodox with one another and their hundreds of millions of ancestors in the Church Triumphant?
2) For Orthodox Christians living in states that have fixed public holidays according to the new calendar, it is easier and much more convenient for them to celebrate feasts according to that calendar.

In reply it may be said that an Orthodox Christian must decide what is more important: to live in convenience and psychological comfort conforming himself to the others around him or to live in accordance with the ordinances and traditions of the Church of Christ? Ultimately, whatever the concessions we may make on secondary questions, we have to accept the Church with all the discomforts. Do we live according to the ascetic path of the Cross or according to the world? The Cross of Christ has always been a stumbling-block to 'Greeks', as St. Paul called those who put rationalism above Love. And where do we see the greater piety and church-going - among those who live according to the new calendar or among those who have remained faithful to the Church calendar? It cannot be denied that many who wish to change to the new calendar are motivated only by worldly reasons, an inferiority complex before the world, a wish to become like 'the others', a wish to integrate secular establishments. If we follow such logic, then it would lead us to abandon Orthodox Christianity altogether. Orthodox living in Muslim countries should become Muslim, in Roman Catholic countries Roman Catholic, in Protestant ones Protestant. The logical conclusion of such an argument is, in a word, apostasy. Whatever concessions on the calendar question may be made in exceptional circumstances out of pastoral economy, we must remember that these are but concessions to our weakness. We must not attempt to justify them. For this is the path of apostasy.
3) It is absurd to continue to live according to a calendar that everyone admits to be astronomically wrong. We live in the 20th century and we can no longer keep this unscientific anachronism.

In answer - do we then live according to science which, with all its fads and fashions, is merely a constantly fluctuating attempt to define the laws of the fallen world with our fallible and fallen reasons? Do we not rather live according to Theology, the teaching and life of the Church, revealed through Her by the Holy Ghost? (Or is it that many prefer science to the Church because, apart from the outward, human aspect of the Church, they do not know Her, as our Mother?). Given that an absolutely accurate calendar is in any case impossible, we must choose between a theologically harmonious calendar, canonical though astronomically inexact, and on the other hand, a calendar which is theologically disharmonious, uncanonical, unhistorical, anathematised but astronomically less inexact, which since its introduction has caused untold strife and schism. Which should we choose?
4) If we continue to observe the Church calendar, then eventually we shall find ourselves celebrating Easter in the autumn and Christmas in the summer.

In answer - no feast has to fall in a particular season. To say otherwise is either folklore or else nature-worship. Indeed Orthodox in the southern hemisphere already celebrate Easter in the autumn and Christmas in the summer. They do not seem to suffer from it. In any case it would take some 20,000 years for this to happen in the northern hemisphere - and then those in the southern hemisphere would have Easter in the spring and Christmas in the winter.
5) To adhere to a certain calendar is a sign of judaizing ritualism, from which Christ freed us. The calendar can have no importance for our salvation, what is important is love for others.

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

As regards the calendar for example, if the whole Church met in a Council, blessed and hallowed by the Holy Ghost and saintly Fathers, and took a decision to change the calendar, then it would be wrong to disobey. In the history of the Orthodox Church, we have an excellent example of this in the case of the Russian Old Ritualists. They refused to give up certain rites peculiar to the local Russian Orthodox Church in favour of other rites observed by the rest of the Orthodox Church. The Russian Church as a whole had decided to adopt these other rites in order to strengthen the bonds of catholic unity in the Church; the Old Ritualists rejected this conciliar decision of the Church and thus formed a sect. The error of the Old Ritualists was not their wish to conserve their rites, but to disobey the Church. Indeed, in the nineteenth century some Old Ritualists returned to the Church, but kept their old rites. The sole thing that is important is the unity of the Church in the Faith.

The catholicity of the Church is upheld in numerous writings: 'Hold fast the traditions which ye have received' (2 Thess. 2, 15); 'Guard the deposit' (1 Tim. 6, 20); in the canons (Seventh Oecumenical Council, Canon VII; St Basil the Great, Canons LXXXXII and LXXXXIII; Apostolic Canons XXXI) any tradition or teaching of the Church must be preserved, if it is of the Holy Ghost. We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels (Luke, 16, 1-13), we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church. Some have remarked that, so far, there have been no saints in the new calendar.

When we see the spiritual confusion and the schisms sown in the Church because of the introduction of the new calendar, perhaps we recall Esau (Gen. 25, 29-34), who exchanged his birthright for a mess of pottage. Surely the Orthodox birthright is the theological, dogmatic and symbolic beauty of the Church calendar? Surely we should keep this spiritual heritage, the spiritual heritage of both East and West, from the dark forces and powerbrokers of this world. Should we not be thankful that we have managed to keep the church calendar, which signifies our obedience to the Church, which is in the world, but not of it? Is it not rather the world that in recent times has become out of step with the Church, turning to worship the stars and not the Maker of the stars? As Orthodox Christians, we must decide what we praise more, our own fallible attempts to measure the movements of 'the sun, moon and all the stars of light' (Ps. 148, 3), or the God-Man Who rose from the dead, giving the Resurrection unto Life to all those who are faithful to Him. Do we then value fallible human reason more than the Word of God? Do we respect Astronomy more than Theology, the temporary more than the Eternal? Ultimately - which do we worship - the Creator or the Creation? - This is what we must decide and our decision will be reflected in our attitude to the calendar.



For further info see: The Calendar Question, Fr. Basil Sakkas, Jordanville 1973.

Alexandr

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #256625
10/14/07 04:46 PM
10/14/07 04:46 PM
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The thing that I think is kind of screwy is using the old paschalion in conjuction with the Gregorian calendar for fixed feasts. I think you should just use one or the other.

My wife prefers having Christmas celebrated in church after it has been celebrated in the secualar world. I think there is something to be said for that, even though it's a little inconvenient in some ways.

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: asianpilgrim] #256726
10/15/07 09:20 AM
10/15/07 09:20 AM
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What a thing to do to me on a Monday morning! But here goes:

Quote
Why do Ukrainian Greek Catholics prefer the Old Calendar?


The large majority of Ukrainian Greek-Catholics prefer the Julian Calendar because it has served us well for centuries, because it emphasizes our connection with the Christian East, because it helps to differentiate us from [well, never mind whom!] and, finally, because it is traditional. Ecclesiastical tradition is a good thing; one should not tamper with ecclesiastical tradition unnecessarily. Attempts to introduce the Gregorian Calendar in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church have invariably been associated with several other undesirable phenomena and hence are perceived as a "package deal" aimed at undermining the Greek-Catholic ecclesiastical identity.

So far, that covers almost everyone who holds an opinion on the matter. Those who are more sophisticated are aware of the damage which the calendar innovation has brought about in other Local Churches, incluidng some Greek-Catholic Churches, and have no desire to replicate that negative experience. Always the advocates of the Gregorian Calendar offer a veritable Promised Land of wonderful results from the innovation, but the promised wonderful results never seem to materialize.

At the same time, few if any Greek-Catholics are on some sort of crusade demanding that everyone else should use the Julian Calendar. That others choose to do things differently does not particularly disturb us. The argument that "everyone should be the same, have the same, and do the same" is more than a little childish - we do not, after all, require everyone to have one and the same time zone! Nor does anyone think that the International Date Line is an assault on the Faith.

Quote
Why should the Julian Paschalion be kept rather than the Gregorian?


a) the Julian Calendar Paschalion follows the prescriptions of the Council of Nicea - reason enough right there. The Gregorian Paschalion violates Nicea I in that, in most years, Gregorian "Easter" occurs before or with the Jewish Passover, which the rules of Nicea I forbid.

b) the entire Typicon of the Eastern Orthodox and the Greek-Catholic Churches is predicated on the Julian Calendar Paschalion.

c) [please make sure your chairs are comfortable and safe] The Julian Calendar Paschalion is indeed more accurate and better calculated than the Gregorian Paschalion - the Gregorian Paschalion is badly confused, and failed to take sidereal time adequately into account. That, incidentally, is why NASA uses the Julian Calendar for scientific purposes.

I won't attempt here to speak for the Eastern Orthodox; they are quite capable of speaking for themselves, and of describing the usual results of efforts to introduce the calendar innovation.

Fr. Serge

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #256727
10/15/07 09:41 AM
10/15/07 09:41 AM
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asianpilgrim Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
[please make sure your chairs are comfortable and safe] The Julian Calendar Paschalion is indeed more accurate and better calculated than the Gregorian Paschalion - the Gregorian Paschalion is badly confused, and failed to take sidereal time adequately into account. That, incidentally, is why NASA uses the Julian Calendar for scientific purposes.
Fr. Serge


shocked shocked shocked

they do?

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #256751
10/15/07 01:57 PM
10/15/07 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher


c) [please make sure your chairs are comfortable and safe] The Julian Calendar Paschalion is indeed more accurate and better calculated than the Gregorian Paschalion - the Gregorian Paschalion is badly confused, and failed to take sidereal time adequately into account. That, incidentally, is why NASA uses the Julian Calendar for scientific purposes.


Fr. Serge


Having researched this calendar issue to some considerable degree I am indeed perplexed by this statement. Can more information, references, links be provided? I am here distinguishing between the Julian, the Gregorian and the "Orthodox" calendars.

This is a complex issue with many subtleties. Consider this for example [link] :

Quote
Whereas in the Gregorian Calendar a century year is a leap year only if division of the century number by 4 leaves a remainder of 0, in the Eastern Orthodox system a century year is a leap year only if division of the century number by 9 leaves a remainder of 2 or 6. This implies an average calendar year length in the Orthodox Calendar of 365.24222 days. This is very close to the present mean solar value of 365.24219, and the Eastern Orthodox Calendar is at present significantly more accurate in this respect than the Gregorian. Were the mean solar year to remain constant, the Orthodox Calendar would be off by one day only after about 33,000 years. However over the next few millennia the Orthodox calendar, like the Gregorian, will become increasingly inaccurate with respect to the mean solar year until possibly recovering around 10,000 years from now. However, in terms of the vernal equinox year the Gregorian Calendar is more accurate than the Orthodox and will remain more accurate in the coming millennia.
In particular, the distinction between the Julian and the "Orthodox" calendars, and the relationship between the "Orthodox" and Gregorian calendars, is often not appreciated [link]:

Quote
Thus as the centuries passed the Julian Calendar became increasingly inaccurate with respect to the seasons. This was especially troubling to the Roman Catholic Church because it affected the determination of the date of Easter, which, by the 16th Century, was well on the way to slipping into Summer.

...

In 1923 the Eastern Orthodox Churches adopted a modified form of the Gregorian Calendar in an attempt to render the calendar more accurate (see below). October 1, 1923, in the Julian Calendar became October 14, 1923, in the Eastern Orthodox calendar. The date of Easter is determined by reference to modern lunar astronomy (in contrast to the more approximate lunar model of the Gregorian system).


Dn. Anthony


Re: Julian Calendar [Re: ajk] #256787
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Yes, NASA uses the Julian Calendar for anything which requires sidereal time (this does not mean that they are likely to date other materials by the Julian Calendar). NASA'S reasons for this have nothing to do with anybody's religion, and everything to do with the need for scientific consistency and accuracy.

Compiling a calendar is a very complicated matter and unfortunately the commission which produced the Gregorian Calendar did not take sufficient care.

Fortunately - especially for me! - there are books in print these days in English which explore the matter from a scientific standpoint. As to sidereal time, go look it up! Sorry to be brief and blunt, but it's been a hard weekend.

Fr. Serge

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #256802
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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Yes, NASA uses the Julian Calendar for anything which requires sidereal time (this does not mean that they are likely to date other materials by the Julian Calendar). NASA'S reasons for this have nothing to do with anybody's religion, and everything to do with the need for scientific consistency and accuracy.


I think you are confusing Julian Day (Julian Date) [link] with the Julian Calendar:

Quote
The Julian day system was introduced by astronomers to provide a single system of dates that could be used when working with different calendars and to unify different historical chronologies. Apart from the choice of the zero point and name, this Julian day and Julian date are not directly related to the Julian calendar, although it is possible to convert any date from one calendar to the other.


Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Compiling a calendar is a very complicated matter and unfortunately the commission which produced the Gregorian Calendar did not take sufficient care.
If this were so, one would not expect it to have become, as is has, "the most widely used calendar in the world." [link]

Dn. Anthony

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: ajk] #256803
10/15/07 06:20 PM
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I agree with Fr. Deacon Anthony - the majority of the field instrumentation I use in geophysical work has internal clocks predicated on the Julian day/date - which has little to do with the Julian Calendar for determining the date of Pascha. The Julian date is a numeric reckoning of the day of the year that is in a different numerical format than the usual delineated way of day/month/.

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Diak] #256827
10/15/07 08:10 PM
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Correct. Julian dates take up less memory, hence their use in computing and instrumentation. Although today they are used less often in software.

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #256874
10/16/07 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
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Why should the Julian Paschalion be kept rather than the Gregorian?


a) the Julian Calendar Paschalion follows the prescriptions of the Council of Nicea - reason enough right there. The Gregorian Paschalion violates Nicea I in that, in most years, Gregorian "Easter" occurs before or with the Jewish Passover, which the rules of Nicea I forbid.


These two often heard assertions are, I submit, incorrect.

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Since the First Ecumenical Council (325 AD), this principle for determining the Paschal date (nearest Sunday after the first full moon occurring no earlier than the vernal equinox) was the mandatory rule for the whole Christian Church and remains so even to this day, both for the Eastern and Western Christians.

...

As for the significance of the Hebrew Pesach in determining the time for the celebration of the Christian Pascha, the Fourth century document noted above mentions the day of Pesach only to say that in no event is it to be considered in determining the time of the Christian Pascha. Furthermore, the documentís author includes among the known groups of heretics those Christians who, in calculating the Paschal date, take their cue from Pesach. Some of these heretics, the Quatrodecimanians, observe Pascha on the same day as the Jews, others, the Novatians, observe Pascha on the first Sunday after Pesach.
The date of Pascha and the reason for the differences between the Western and Eastern Christians Nicholas Ossorguine Instructor in Liturgics St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, Paris [ link ]

And:
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Events in Jewish history contributing to the dispersion of the Jews had as a consequence a departure from the way Passover was reckoned at the time of our Lord's death and resurrection. This caused the Passover to precede the vernal equinox in some years. It was, in fact, this anomaly which led to the condemnation reflected in Canon 1 of Antioch (ca. 330) and Canon 7 of the Holy Apostles (late 4th century) of those who celebrate Pascha "with the Jews." The purpose of this condemnation was to prevent Christians from taking into account the calculation of Passover in determining the date of Pascha.
[link ]Dating Pascha in the Orthodox Church, Dr. Lewis J. Patsavos, Ph.D.

Further evidence is that the Pascha/Easter-after-Passover rule was not followed:

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The Orthodox Easter is determined in the Julian Calendar. It has been claimed that Orthodox Easter does not fall on the date of Passover (15 Nisan in the Hebrew Calendar), or before it; this is true recently, but using the modern formulae for determining the date of Passover (rules which go back to the fourth century A.D.), one finds that, in fact, Easter occurred on the first day of Passover several times before the year A.D. 1000.
[link]

Finally, one of the main items of the Gregorian reform was to adjust the date so that the very date specified by the Council, March 21, would coincide as much as allowable with the vernal equinox.

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So thus that the vernal equinox, which was fixed by the fathers of the [first] Nicene Council at XII calends April [March 21], is replaced on this date, we prescribe and order that there is removed, from October of the year the 1582, the ten days ...
Inter Gravissimas Issued by Pope Gregory XIII, February 24, 1581/2[link ]


That is, Gregorian March 21 is within 2 days of the equinox but Julian March 21 is 13 days off and moving away.

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The "REVISED" JULIAN CALENDAR dates from 1923. Since 1582 the Spring Equinox in the "New Style" Calendar continued to fall on that calendar's date of March 21st. In the 17th century the Spring Equinox arrived on the "Old Style" Julian Calendar date of March 11th, in the 18th century on March 10th, in the 19th century on March 9th, and in the 20th century on March 8th - 13 days earlier.
"New Style"=Gregorian. [link ] The "Revised" Julian Calendar Memorandum of Explanation By THE HOLY SYNOD

As I understand these references, the criticisms voiced against the Gregorian calendar actually apply to the Julian.

Dn. Anthony


Re: Julian Calendar [Re: ajk] #256976
10/16/07 10:33 PM
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About 11 years ago Holy Trinity Monastery at Jordanville published an excellent book on the matter, consisting of two separate studies of the calendar question. Apart from a few mis-spellings, I recommend it highly.

Fr. Serge

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Slavipodvizhnik] #257538
10/19/07 02:03 PM
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Slavipodvizhnik wrote:
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"In sixteenth century Rome, however, none of this theological depth was understood. This was because the criteria of thought at the time were not Christian but humanist, worshipping not Christ, but fallen man, with his fallen reason and its fallible understanding of the world around it. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII agreed to change the calendar that had been universally observed more or less since the First Council for a new calendar, one which would be astronomically more correct. Having introduced this calendar, the dating of Easter, the Paschalia, would also be affected. This change led to disharmony between the solar and lunar calendars and the loss therefore of all the dogmatic and theological harmony and symbolism of the Julian calendar and its associated Paschalia."


Someone who writes the above is, I am assuming, a.) non-Catholic and b.) unfamiliar with the Western symbolism of keeping Easter in the spring and well as focusing on a solar calendar.

a.) I mention the point made in 'a' because any Catholic would acknowledge the authority of the Holy Father to make such a decision on behalf of the Church. Catholics believe that the popes have the authority (conferred upon St. Peter and his successors by Christ Himself) to defend and interpret Holy Tradition.

b.) There is a strong reason in the Western Church to keep Easter in the spring. Spring is, symbolically speaking, the season of new life, of resurrection. Many of the antiphons and verses in the Roman Breviary during Easter-tide have many refernces to spring. There are also many feasts assigned to fixed dates that have similar texts relating to the time of year. "For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. Arise my beloved and come." Imagine having such things at the Divine Office when the feast falls during the winter. I am not yet very familiar with the Byzantine Horologion, but I can say that the Divine Office of the Western Church is very much based on the natural season.

As for there being no symbolism with the Gregorian Calendar, I can say that precisely because it is focused on the sun that there is symbolism. Throughout Sacred Scripture there are many allusions to Christ as the Sun, "the Orient [Day-Star] from on high".

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"But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:" (1 Peter 2:9.)


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"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world." (St. John 1:6-9.)


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"And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow." (St. Matthew 17:2.)


To say that focusing on the Sun rather than the Moon is devoid of symbolism is absurd.

The issue comes down to the fact that the ecclesiastical traditions in the West and East developed differently after a certain point. Therefore, the best solution is for all Eastern Christians to follow their traditional calendar, while those of us Western Christians should follow ours.

Both can live side-by-side in harmony.

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Byzantophile] #257617
10/19/07 08:17 PM
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Whether we celebrate Pascha in the spring - which is the case in much of the Northern Hemisphere - or in the autumn, as is the case in much of the Southern Hemisphere, is beside the point and certainly has nothing whatever to do with infallibility. I've never had the opportunity to attend Holy Week and Pascha celebrations in Australia, but I don't doubt that they are just as joyful and edifying as they are in Canada.

I have never met any Greek-Catholics who demand that the Latins should restore the Julian Calendar. I have met entirely too many Latins who demand that we should get rid of the Julian Calendar.

Fr. Serge

Re: Julian Calendar [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #257624
10/19/07 08:54 PM
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I suspect that Easter is not an actual anniversary date on either calendar and that both calendars are probably inaccurate. So keep both of them and let the individual churches use the one they prefer. I don't care.

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