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Re: Common Easter date? [Re: chadrook] #313266
02/21/09 07:00 PM
02/21/09 07:00 PM
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Azarius Offline
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Re "Pascha should not fall before jewish passover".
This seems like a noble intention, but there are several problems.

1) The way most Jews calculate Passover today is based on rules only finalised by Rabbi Maimonides in the 12th century. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Calendar
The way Passover was determined at the time of Christ was observational. Observation of the ripening of barley, and observation of the new moon was used instead of calculating the vernal equinox and calculating a lunation.
The evolution from observation to algorithm does not seem to have started until about 70 AD.
Between 70 AD and the 12th century there were contentions among Rabbis about the correct method. There will have been years when different dates were used for Passover. Even today the Karaites who reject the rabbinic tradition use the observational method so their Passover is likely to be different to the rabbinic Passover (and could be after the Julian Pascha).
I hope this gives the real reason why Pascha calculation should take no notice of the current Jewish "Passover". Passover today is different to Passover at the time of Nicea (the Passover date rules were not published till later), which was probably different to Passover at the time of Christ.

2) Applying the current rabbinic algorithmic method for Passover to dates before 800 AD shows some odd results. For instance in 475 AD Easter Sunday (according to the Alexandrian method) was on 6 April. But this was two days before Passover (15 Nisan) on 8 April! This is presumably because the "ecclesiastical moon" in the Alexandrian method was earlier than the real astronomical full moon, but the Julian drift from the real Vernal Equinox was not then so great as it is today.
Because the leap year method in the current Hebrew calendar is more accurate than the Julian method, the Julian calendar has since drifted further from the real equinox than the Hebrew calendar. This is the only reason why this "problem" cannot happen in current times (well not until the Julian "March 21" has drifted all the way round the real calendar).

3) Some Old Calendarists pretend that celebrating Pascha before Jewish "Passover" is forbidden by the canons of the Church. These claims are false. An example of such a claim is from Fr Andrew Philips
Quote
...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.

But if you actually look at these canons you will not find anything forbidding Pascha before Passover. Some of these canons forbid celebrating "together" with Jews. But celebrating Pascha before or at the same time as Passover did occur before 800 AD see here
If there really were canons demanding excommunication for celebrating Pascha before Passover then a Jewish sect could set a late date for Passover and get the whole Church excommunicated! If canons (like "Apostolic" LXX) that forbid celebrating "together" with Jews are talking about dates, then everyone using the Julian calendar would have been excommunicated since 367 AD - the first time the Alexandrian Pascha coincided with Passover! That's just 42 years after the Council that some claim finalised everything about the date for Pascha.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Azarius] #313270
02/21/09 08:27 PM
02/21/09 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Azarius
But I doubt that Leo the Great would have accepted a recommendation from a group like the WCC that arose from outside the Church ...
Leo would have needed to understand two things to put WCC-Aleppo into perspective and make an informed decision.

1. From the WCC website, note the affiliations and participants.

Quote
WCC member churches today include nearly all the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of denominations from such historic traditions of the Protestant Reformation as Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed, and a broad representation of united and independent churches.

The world’s largest Christian body, the Roman Catholic Church, is not a member of the WCC, but has worked closely with the Council for more than four decades and sends representatives to all major WCC conferences as well as to its Central Committee meetings and the assemblies.


Also, from AND SO SET UP SIGNS...The World Council of Churches' first 40 Years, WCC Publications, Geneva , pp 4-5

Quote
In a memorandum for a meeting of mission leaders in 1920, J.H. Oldham had written that any organization to coordinate international Christian mission would "probably have to give way to something that may represent the beginning of a world league of churches".
At the time Oldham was unaware of an encyclical letter sent in January 1920 by the synod of the Church of Constantinople (the Ecumenical Patriarchate) "to all the churches of Christ everywhere". Its call for the formation of a "league of churches" was the first official ecclesiastical proposal for an institutional expression of worldwide ecumenical collaboration.
...

A moving force behind the 1920 encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate calling for a "league of churches" was Germanos Strenopoulos, later archbishop of Thyateira. Germanos, who had met Mott, Soderblom and other ecumenical pioneers at the 1911 World Student Christian Federation conference in Constantinople, represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate at every international ecumenical conference between 1920 and 1938.


2. Aleppo gave an unbiased answer to a question about a periodic astronomical event. It took as a given that the Church (at least for the most) claims that identifying that celestial event is necessary to determine the feast of Pascha. Once that given is established it is basically a matter of astronomy and mathematics/physics to get an answer. The Church at the time of Nicaea accepted this.

The required event to be identified is the first full moon after the (northern) vernal/spring equinox. It is not pagan, it is not Christian, it is just an astronomical observable. That is really what Aleppo produced for a particular well define location, since the event timing varies depending on where one is located on the earth; so some place or places must be specified. That is the basic, unbiased, non-denominational, non-dogmatic, non-ecclesial etc. primary, "primitive" neutral determination that must be made. It is not Julian or Gregorian or Cathoic or Orthodox or western or eastern. It has NOTHING intrinsically to do with a calendar.

It is, however, the foundation giving the reference points on which the concept of a calendar is established. A calendar is a proposed grid of days (the natural ca. 24 hour period of the appearance of the sun) laid over the seasonal reference points that repeat every year, the reference points being the winter and summer solstice and the spring and autumn equinox. The calendar then is a grid of days that overlays the celestial reference points. Then if the calendar is a good one, it keeps those reference points fixed at the given dates. The beauty of the calendar is that anyone can time the seasons by looking at the calendar rather than making detailed observations of the heavens. The timing of the phases of the moon are then based on the timing of the calendar, the length of the average year, and are referenced to the date the calendar establishes as, for instance the vernal equinox.

A serious problem occurs, however, when the calendar does not keep the designated calendar date fixed on or around the celestial event. When the calendar date moves, the date it gives for the celestial event is no longer the date on which the event is occurring. The determination of the phase of the moon is fixed to that moving (incorrect) date and the incorrect length of the year on which the moving date is based -- a smaller error adding to the larger error.

Both the Julian and Gregorian Calendars intend and claim that the vernal equinox occurs on that calendar's March 21, the date when it actually did occur at the time of the Council of Nicaea, and thus re-presenting that sequence corresponding to the same sequence as at the time of the crucifixion and resurrection. Both calendars intend and act, function, on this basis. It is saying -- by means of aligning with that sequence -- the liturgical sēmeron, hodie, dnes', TODAY, even though 2000 years after the chronological event.

There is one last element in the prescription for Pascha, that it is the next Sunday after the vernal full moon. Fortunately, all Christians (and Jews) agree on what day of the week it is, so that is never a factor. One can then do a test of the calendars' determinations.

On March 1 (by either calendar) go to a source of the best current astronomical determinations (Aleppo, US Navy, etc.) or to some culture or civilization that is known to have a highly developed accurate calendar (Mayan? Persian?) and ask them (or inquire of their calendar) how many days before the first full moon after the vernal equinox, since that is THE event that was the foundation for the determination. Note that there is nothing doctrinal about this and that the truth is independent of the affiliation of the sources. They should all tell you the same number at least to within a day. Count that number of days using your calendar and then go to the next Sunday. Mark that as Pascha according to the uniform prescription that is agreed upon as adhering to the intent of Nicaea.

One can give that date on any calendar once the 7-day week is properly referenced, even if that calendar is not itself based on a 7-day week. The Aleppo study chose the current widely used civil calendar to report the date of Pascha so determined. Churches with differing calendars can then compare and see for themselves how well their calendar does in adhering to the agreed upon determination.

So one should not be like the student that complains to the teacher, "You gave me a bad grade," because the teacher will respond, "No, you gave yourself the grade on the basis of your performance, I just wrote it down in the book." That is what Aleppo did, like the teacher grading the students fairly on the basis on their answer to the same question based on the same agreed upon facts.

The unbiased result:

Gregorian calendar: A

Julian calendar: D and heading to an F






Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Azarius] #313279
02/21/09 11:42 PM
02/21/09 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Azarius
Re "Pascha should not fall before jewish passover".
This seems like a noble intention, but there are several problems....

3) Some Old Calendarists pretend that celebrating Pascha before Jewish "Passover" is forbidden by the canons of the Church. These claims are false. An example of such a claim is from Fr Andrew Philips
Quote
...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.

But if you actually look at these canons you will not find anything forbidding Pascha before Passover. Some of these canons forbid celebrating "together" with Jews. But celebrating Pascha before or at the same time as Passover did occur before 800 AD see here
If there really were canons demanding excommunication for celebrating Pascha before Passover then a Jewish sect could set a late date for Passover and get the whole Church excommunicated! If canons (like "Apostolic" LXX) that forbid celebrating "together" with Jews are talking about dates, then everyone using the Julian calendar would have been excommunicated since 367 AD - the first time the Alexandrian Pascha coincided with Passover! That's just 42 years after the Council that some claim finalised everything about the date for Pascha.


The entire post and these in particular are all good points. The irony and tragedy is that the actual intent of the canons that 'forbid celebrating "together" with Jews' meant the Church should pay no attention whatsoever to any Jewish method used to determine Passover; the Church was to use its own, independent criterion. Instead, Julian calendar zealots do the exact opposite, violate the norm, falsely accuse others who are in conformity, and convince the average person in the pew that their interpretation makes sense, that our Christian Pascha must fall after the Jewish Passover. Not so. As stated for instance in The "Revised" Julian Calendar, Memorandum of Explanation By THE HOLY SYNOD, link (website of Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco):
Quote
The "OLD STYLE" JULIAN CALENDAR dates from AD. 325. By the fourth century the Spring Equinox was arriving on March 21st on the "Original" Julian Calendar. When the First Ecumenical Council met in Nicea in 325 to settle the date for celebrating Pascha, the Church adopted the "Original" Julian Calendar and ruled that Pascha shall be observed on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox on March 21st, and independent of the Jewish Passover.
[emphasis added]

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: ajk] #313326
02/22/09 04:52 PM
02/22/09 04:52 PM
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Interesting that you mention this
Quote
At the time Oldham was unaware of an encyclical letter sent in January 1920 by the synod of the Church of Constantinople (the Ecumenical Patriarchate) "to all the churches of Christ everywhere". Its call for the formation of a "league of churches" was the first official ecclesiastical proposal for an institutional expression of worldwide ecumenical collaboration

Here is the "Genuine Orthodox Church" (Old Calendarist) take on this:
Quote
In 1920 the Constantinopolitan Church officially cooperated with the Masonically-inspired ecumenical movement by publishing an encyclical by Archbishop Dorotheus of Prusa seeking rapprochement between the various “Christian” Churches and proposing the adoption of a new calendar common to all denominations. In 1923 the Masonic infiltrator “Ecumenical Patriarch” Meletius IV Metaxakis convened a “Pan-Orthodox Congress,” in which he proposed the adoption of the “New Julian” or “Revised Julian” Calendar (Gregorian Calendar thinly disguised, consisting of the incompatible Orthodox Paschalion and the Gregorian Menologion) among other blasphemous innovations.


Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Dr. Eric] #313328
02/22/09 06:23 PM
02/22/09 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Eric
Originally Posted by Ghosty
Wouldn't it be most prudent for the Catholic Communion to fully switch over to the old calendar for the purposes of celebrating Easter, in the interest of Charity and in pursuit of Reunion? Then we could leave the question of changing the method of calculation for a Reunited Ecumenical Council, so that no one is left out, and everyone has the chance to voice their concerns?

Seems like the most sensible approach to me.

Peace and God bless!


Considering that the Catholic Church was the "agency" that revamped the Calendar, this doesn't seem the least bit likely.
The Catholic Church, in general, is also less emotionally attached to the issue, however, and therefore much more likely to be able to safely move the date without greatly upsetting its members.

For what it's worth, I do think the most accurate method for determining the date should be used, which would rule out the Julian Calendar. I also recognize, however, that Church unity and pastoral sensitivity are the most important aspects of this question, and on those grounds I think the Catholic Church should change pending a united Council to address the matter.

Peace and God bless!

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Ghosty] #313334
02/22/09 07:42 PM
02/22/09 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghosty
For what it's worth, I do think the most accurate method for determining the date should be used, which would rule out the Julian Calendar.
Desiring accuracy, "rule out the Julian Calendar," therefore...

Originally Posted by Ghosty
I also recognize, however, that Church unity and pastoral sensitivity are the most important aspects of this question, and on those grounds I think the Catholic Church should change pending a united Council to address the matter.
... "the Catholic Church should change" to what? To the above Julian Calendar, ruled out on the basis of accuracy?

Pastoral sensitivity is not a euphemism for assuring the misinformed that they are indeed correct. I consider this a proper example of pastoral sensitivity, responsibility and leadership:
Quote
At the same time, as the Aleppo Statement notes, in many of the Eastern churches adherence to their present method of calculation often has been a symbol of the Church's integrity and freedom from the hostile forces of this world. Implementation of the Aleppo recommendations in these circumstances must proceed carefully and with great pastoral sensitivity. The material presented in the Aleppo Statement can be of great help to these churches should they attempt to carry out this effort to be faithful to the great tradition of the Church.
7. The Aleppo Statement is faithful to the decisions of the First Ecumenical Council regarding the date of Easter/Pascha. At the same time, it takes into account the contemporary situation, which calls for a common witness to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the central mystery of the Christian faith. Our consultation therefore urges our churches to give serious consideration to its recommendations.
Common Response to the Aleppo Statement on the Date of Easter/Pascha North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, Washington d.c., October 31, 1998. link

Pastoral sensitivity is not the cure for the pastoral distortions that have been allowed to propagate and fester on this issue, fueled by unchecked misrepresentations, polemics and a zealotry that have made the Julian calendar/Paschalion effectively an idol, and the frenzied adherence to it idolatry. The people don't know the Julian calendar/Paschalion itself, they know instead the prejudice that they have been taught about it, and the evil of all other approaches. If this is what is repeatedly preached to them, what are they going to believe? I don't blame the people as I do their teachers who I think deserve to be denounced in proportion to their irresponsibility as teachers and leaders in failing to recognize truth:

Quote
The sole criterion is TRUTH. Over the centuries man has succeeded in discovering more and more truths about the God-created universe. The calendar is a device invented by man that attempts to correlate his measurement of time with the natural, astronomical phenomena. Should some Orthodox persist in using a calendar based on a 44 B.C. estimate of the length of the orbit of the earth around the sun?
If the Orthodox Church is the Pillar of Truth, it cannot afford to ignore the scientific truths discovered by man. How can we claim 'I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth..' and refuse to accept the truth of the scientific measurement of the length of the year that He created? In 44 B.C. Julius Caesar's astronomer, Sosigenes, made a fairly close estimate. Man has come a long way in his knowledge of our solar system since then.
The "Revised" Julian Calendar, Memorandum of Explanation By THE HOLY SYNOD:link




Re: Common Easter date? [Re: ajk] #313342
02/22/09 09:21 PM
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A talk delivered by Fr. Maximus (Marretta) to the Inter-Orthodox Conference "Orthodoxy and Modern Ecumenism," University of Chicago, March 5/18, 2007.

Your Grace, Fathers and Brethren, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to speak to you today about the problem of conservative New Calendarism. By conservative New Calendarists I mean those who consider the institution of the Gregorian calendar and involvement in the ecumenical movement to be misguided, unfortunate, or even to some degree heretical, but nevertheless remain in churches which follow the New Calendar and foster Ecumenism. While conservative New Calendarists rightly consider Orthodoxy to be the one and only true Church of Christ and adhere to Orthodox doctrines and practices with admirable zeal, they find themselves under bishops who deny those doctrines and shun traditional piety. Although this situation is certainly uncomfortable for them, they are obligated to justify it, and to this end employ the following argument: the participation of our bishops in the ecumenical movement is wrong, but it is only an abuse, not a heresy; and if it even descends to the level of heresy, it occurs only on a personal, not an official, level. Thus the church as a whole is not implicated in the heresy, and one may in good conscience continue in communion with the bishops in question. This line of reasoning underlies virtually all serious attempts to justify remaining in the New Calendarist, or Ecumenist church, and not returning to the Old Calendarist, or traditional Orthodox Church.

The argument in itself begs the question of what constitutes an official act; yet actually, the distinction between a heresy official and one unofficial was never made by the Fathers. Church history bears witness that when a bishop proclaimed a heresy while preaching in church, his hearers would immediately break communion with him, while the other bishops of the Church would sever communion as soon as they had ascertained whether he truly did hold such opinions, and had given him an opportunity to recant. This was precisely the case with Nestorius, for example. Nonetheless, I will take up the challenge, and demonstrate that the New Calendar church has unquestionably espoused heretical teachings in the most official capacity possible: that of public proclamation by a Patriarch, and approval of the proclamation by the Synod of the Church.

In 1948 the World Council of Churches was created, a worldwide organization whose sole purpose for existing is to promote Ecumenism and the non-Orthodox ecclesiological principles upon which Ecumenism is based. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and a number of other Orthodox Churches were founding members, and thus showed that they wholeheartedly espouse the Council's goals and beliefs: indeed, they helped formulate those goals and beliefs. The charter of the Council states:

The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship. In seeking koinonia in faith and life, witness and service, the churches through the council will:

Promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue, and the sharing of human, spiritual, and material resources with one another;
Facilitate common witness in each place and in all places, and support each other in their work for mission and evangelism;
Nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness through processes of education and a vision of life in community rooted in each particular cultural context;
Assist one another in their relationships to and with people of other faith communities;
Foster renewal and growth in unity, worship, mission and service.
In order to foster the one ecumenical movement, the Council will:

Nurture relations with and among churches, especially within, but also beyond its membership;
Establish and maintain relations with national councils, regional conferences of churches, organizations of Christian World Communions, and other ecumenical bodies;
Support ecumenical initiatives at regional, national, and local levels;
Facilitate the creation of networks among ecumenical organizations;
Work towards maintaining the coherence of the one ecumenical movement in its diverse manifestations.
These principles are totally unacceptable for a person with an Orthodox understanding of the Church. They illustrate that the heresy the Orthodox are confronting is not simply union with this or that heretical church (which has not yet happened except in the case of the Monophysites). Rather, the heresy is the idea that heretical groups outside the Church are indeed somehow part of the Church, and that the Orthodox Church is part of a larger whole comprised of both the Orthodox and the heterodox. Now, any statement which gives any ecclesial standing whatsoever to a body outside the Church is a heretical statement, because the Orthodox Church is the entirety of the Church. The other so-called churches are not churches at all, but false assemblies set up in opposition to the one, true Church. They are anti-churches. The charter and mission—even the very name—of the World Council of Churches cuts at the root of Orthodox doctrine by placing all "churches" on the same ontological level. Moreover, the World Council of Churches expressly recognizes only one ecumenical movement; that is, its own. It does not leave any room for a valid "Orthodox Ecumenism" which would seek to convert the heterodox. No one can claim that the purpose of Orthodox involvement in Ecumenism is to witness to Orthodoxy, since the only side of "Orthodoxy" being presented is precisely whatever can be brought into seeming conformity with the principles set out in the World Council of Churches' charter, a document which, as we have seen, denies the Orthodox teaching on the Church. Ecumenism is the exact opposite of evangelization.

Any church which joins the World Council of Churches thereby embraces the ecclesiological concepts upon which the Council is founded. These concepts become part of the beliefs of the individual church in question. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and the other New Calendarist Churches not only accepted these principles and helped formulate them, but have proven their continued adherence to them in a variety of ways over the past sixty years. Thus, there can be no doubt that the official doctrine of the New Calendarist churches is one of heretical Ecumenism, regardless of the fact that many of the New Calendarist faithful personally disagree with their Churches' position.

Once the New Calendar churches had espoused the principles of Ecumenism, they were not slow to act upon them in concrete ways. One of the very first major steps which put into practice the ecclesiological teaching of Ecumenism was the lifting of the anathemas of 1054 against the Roman Catholic Church. Patriarch Athenagoras and the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople took this action December, 1965. In a joint statement with Pope Paul VI, they declared that:

They regret the offensive words, the reproaches without foundation, and the reprehensible gestures which on both sides have marked or accompanied the sad events of this period;
They likewise regret and remove both from memory and from the midst of the Church the sentences of excommunication which followed these events, the memory of which has influenced actions up to our day and has hindered closer relations in charity; and they commit these excommunications to oblivion;
Through the action of the Holy Spirit those differences will be overcome through regret for historical wrongs and through an efficacious determination to arrive at a common understanding and expression of the faith of the Apostles and its demands.
The meaning of this official document is clear: the Orthodox condemnation of Latin heresies is "without foundation" and must be obliterated from memory; and we do not yet understand the faith of the Apostles.

In September, 1990, official delegates from all the New Calendarist churches met in Chambesy, Switzerland with official representatives of the Monophysite Churches. They restated those points of Christology on which the Orthodox and Monophysites have always agreed, they ignored or dismissed as semantical misunderstandings those points on which they disagree, and then they declared:

In the light of our agreed statement on Christology as well as of the above common affirmations, we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they have used Christological terms in different ways. It is this common faith and continuous loyalty to the Apostolic Tradition that should be the basis for our unity and communion.

Both families agree that all the anathemas and condemnations of the past which now divide us should be lifted by the Churches in order that the last obstacle to the full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and power of God. Both families agree that the lifting of anathemas and condemnations will be consummated on the basis that the Councils and Fathers previously anathematized or condemned are not heretical.

The Chambesy agreement is an open espousal of the ancient heresy of Monophysitism. Its acceptance by the Orthodox has been made possible by the modern heresy of Ecumenism, which allows two mutually exclusive doctrines to co-exist, while pretending that the truth is either the mean between the two, or the lowest common denominator of the two, or something to be discovered in the future, or simply irrelevant if we all profess love for one another.

Some conservative New Calendarists pretend that the Chambesy agreement is not an official declaration of faith, but rather a series of recommendations by individual theologians, which the Churches are free to accept or reject. The superficiality of this notion, however, is contradicted by the so-called "Pastoral Agreement between the Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria," which was signed in 2001. This document announces:

The Holy Synods of both the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa have already accepted the outcome of the official dialogue on Christology between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the two official agreements: the first on Christology signed in June 1989 in Egypt and the second also on Christology and on the lifting of anathemas and restoration of full communion signed in Geneva 1990 [that is, in Chambesy], in which it is stated that "in the light of our agreed statement on Christology, we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of Apostolic tradition." It was agreed to have mutual recognition of the sacrament of Baptism, based on what St. Paul wrote, One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5).

The document further states:

The Holy Synods of both Patriarchates have agreed to accept the sacrament of marriage when it is conducted for two partners not belonging to the same Patriarchate. Each of the two Patriarchates shall also accept to perform all of its other sacraments to that new family of mixed Christian marriage.

This declaration shows clearly that the Patriarchate of Alexandria regards the Chambesy agreement as an official statement of doctrine, and not simply the private judgment of individuals. Moreover, the Patriarchate has officially recognized the Monophysites as constituting a Church as valid and legitimate as the Orthodox Church; indeed, it states that the Orthodox are of "one faith" with the Monophysites.

Even more troubling is the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch under Patriarch Ignatius IV, which was made in June 1991. With respect to it relations with the Syrian Monophysites, the Antiochian Church announced that the following measures would be observed:

"The complete and mutual respect between the two churches for their rituals, spirituality, heritage and holy fathers.
The incorporation of the fathers of both churches and their heritage in general in the Christian education curriculum and theological teaching.
The refraining of accepting members of one church in the membership of the other whatever the reasons might be.
Organizing meetings of both Synods whenever need and necessity might arise.
If two bishops of the two different churches meet for a spiritual service the one with the majority of people will preside.
If one priest of either church happens to be in a certain area he will serve the divine mysteries for the members of both churches, including the divine liturgy and the sacrament of holy matrimony.
If two priests of both churches happen to be in a certain community they will take turns, and in case they concelebrate, the one with the majority of people will preside.
If a bishop of one church and a priest from the sister church happen to concelebrate presiding naturally belongs to the bishop."
In other words, the Patriarchate of Antioch has entirely abandoned the Orthodox Church and is in full communion with the Monophysites. The Patriarchate has decided that the ecumenical councils—which embody the Church's definitive expressions of belief—are optional, and that it is not necessary to adhere to them to be part of the Orthodox Church.

Thus, we see the heresy of Ecumenism operating on two levels. On the one hand, the New Calendar Churches accept the basic idea that other Christian bodies are part of the Church, and that the Church is not exclusively synonymous with Orthodoxy. This is Ecumenism in theory. On the other hand, they recognize that specific heretical bodies, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Monophysite Churches, are in fact Orthodox in doctrine; and they have even entered into communion with the Monophysites. This is Ecumenism in practice.

Both of these forms of Ecumenism are operating in the New Calendar Churches on the most official level possible. They have been publicly proclaimed by a Patriarch and ratified by the Holy Synod. It is not possible for them to be any more official then they already are. Moreover, these official actions must not be considered in isolation, but in the context of Ecumenism's overall effect on the Church. Innumerable hierarchs have made blasphemous statements denying virtually every dogma of Orthodoxy, joint prayers are conducted with heretics on a regular basis, communion is freely given to Roman Catholics and other heterodox, and agreements such as the so-called Balamaand union and the recent appalling statement of the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches are concluded by official delegates from the New Calendarist Churches. These statements affirm the Branch Theory and a host of other errors.

The heresy of Ecumenism has infected not one of the local Orthodox Churches, but all of them. Each of the Patriarchates has contributed in its own way to perverting the Orthodox faith: Constantinople by lifting the anthemas which the holy Fathers laid on the Roman Catholic Church, Alexandria by accepting the Monophysites as Orthodox, Antioch by partaking of the same chalice as the Monophysites, and all the ecumenist Churches collectively by participating in the World Council of Churches and abolishing the Patristic understanding of the Church. All of the ecumenist Churches are in full communion with one another and share the same ecumenist faith: the beliefs of one are the beliefs of all, and each of the Patriarchates supports and encourages the ecumenical gestures of the others.

Our primary question at this point ought to be, what are the faithful to do when their bishops are in heresy? The patristic answer is clear: break communion immediately, because those bishops no longer represent the Church, but a foreign body. It is impossible for Orthodox Christians to hold communion with heretical bishops, inasmuch as a common Eucharistic cup denotes a common faith. St. Cyril of Alexandria states that "the Body of Christ binds us into unity" and "there is no division of belief among the faithful." And the Apostle Paul asks, "What communion hath light with darkness? Or what concord hath Christ with Belial?"

When the Monothelete bishop Theodosius asked St. Maximus the Confessor why he had cut himself off from communion with see of Constantinople, the saint replied,

In the sixth indiction of the last cycle, Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexendria, published the Nine Chapters [stating that Christ had but a single energy,] which were approved by the see of Constantinople. Soon the novelties proposed in that document were followed by others, overturning the definitions of holy councils. These innovations were devised by primates of the Church of Constantinople: Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul, as all the other Churches know very well. This is the reason I, your servant, am not in communion with the throne of Constantinople. Let the offenses introduced by those men be rejected and the abettors deposed; then the way to salvation will be cleared, and you will walk the smooth path of the Gospel unhindered by heresy. When I see the Church of Constantinople walking as she was formerly, I shall enter into communion with her uncompelled, but as long as the scandal of heresy persists in her and her bishops are miscreants, no argument or persecution will win me over to your side.

On another occasion the Eparch of Constantinople asked St. Maximus, "Will you enter into communion with our Church, or not?"

"I will not," said the saint.

"Why?" asked the Eparch.

"Because it has rejected the rulings of Orthodox councils," said Maximus.

The Eparch continued, "If that be so, how is it that the fathers of those councils remain in the diptychs of our Church?"

"How do you profit by commemorating them, when you renounce their doctrines?" countered the saint.

Examples such as these could be multiplied almost indefinitely. Suffice to say that the most basic criterion of Orthodox ecclesiology is to refrain from communion with heretical bishops. This applies even before such bishops are condemned by an ecumenical council, as we see from the case of St. Maximus, who broke communion decades before the condemnation of Monoenergism and Monothelitism by the 6th Ecumenical Council.

The sound application of these principles to the present-day situation should be obvious. Anyone who considers himself to be an Orthodox Christian should sever communion with any bishop who preaches, participates in, or furthers Ecumenism directly or indirectly; and he should join himself to those Orthodox Christians who already have ceased ecclesiastical contact with such bishops. Those Christians are precisely the Old Calendarists, or True Orthodox Christians, who rejected the heresy of Ecumenism the moment it appeared, and in no way allowed themselves to be defiled by communion with bishops who alter the faith of the Apostles. When the conservative New Calendarists take this same step, they will be following the path of the Holy Fathers; they will have separated themselves from the heretics, and joined themselves to the assembly of the Orthodox.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: chadrook] #313418
02/23/09 01:48 PM
02/23/09 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by chadrook
A talk delivered by Fr. Maximus (Marretta) to the Inter-Orthodox Conference "Orthodoxy and Modern Ecumenism," University of Chicago, March 5/18, 2007.

Your Grace, Fathers and Brethren, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to speak to you today about the problem of conservative New Calendarism...


This is a very fine, fairly concise example of the kind of misguided viewpoint I denounced in my previous post. It amounts to deception and, allowed to go unchallenged, poisons the hearts and minds of the faithful by presenting falsehood as the truth. It is thus manipulative, but I don't know if that is out of ignorance or intent. While there are some few points in Fr. Maximus (Marretta)'s talk that are factual and that I would agree with, it is hardly to his credit since he then goes on to distort their meaning. While there may be some correlation between stances on the calendar issue and ecumenical involvement, it is hardly the conspiracy presented by Fr. Maximus.

Here is one of numerous examples that could be considered wherein he reaches a conclusion that demonstrates where fanaticism on the calendar issue can lead :
Quote
...Thus, there can be no doubt that the official doctrine of the New Calendarist churches is one of heretical Ecumenism, ...
...
The heresy of Ecumenism has infected not one of the local Orthodox Churches, but all of them. Each of the Patriarchates has contributed in its own way to perverting the Orthodox faith: Constantinople ... Alexandria ... Antioch ...


And true to the form I noted in my previous post, he concludes by presenting us with the idol he has been constructing throughout his talk, the savior, the Old Calendar:
Quote
Anyone who considers himself to be an Orthodox Christian should sever communion with any bishop who preaches, participates in, or furthers Ecumenism directly or indirectly; and he should join himself to those Orthodox Christians who already have ceased ecclesiastical contact with such bishops. Those Christians are precisely the Old Calendarists, or True Orthodox Christians, who rejected the heresy of Ecumenism the moment it appeared, and in no way allowed themselves to be defiled by communion with bishops who alter the faith of the Apostles.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Alice] #313421
02/23/09 02:10 PM
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Constantine seems to have been the first person outside the Church - he was not yet baptised - to try to impose a common date for Easter, but his priorities were not the same as the Church.

Here is a quote from Constantine the Great and Christianity

Quote
The great Arian controversy seemed to him "intrinsically trifling and of little moment" involving "not any of the leading doctrines or precepts of the Divine law” but concerning "small and very insignificant questions."
Upon the proper day for observing Easter, however, vital issues depended "A discordant judgment in a case of such importance and respecting such a religious festival, is wrong," "discrepancy of opinion on so sacred a question is unbecoming."

I am sure the Pope would have agreed with these statements about Easter, but not about the relative "insignificance" of a heresy such as Arianism.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Azarius] #313479
02/23/09 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Azarius

As an aside, those interested in this reference can download a free facsimile of the 1914 original here.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Azarius] #313480
02/23/09 09:44 PM
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From the Roman Martyrology for 23 February:

Quote
At Smyrna, the birthday of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the Apostle

St Polycarp used the Jewish Passover to date the start of his Pascha commemoration (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartodecimanism), but remained in communion with the Pope and obviously got to heaven.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Azarius] #313581
02/25/09 12:17 AM
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The Julian Calendar is the normative calendar for the church. It's not going to change.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: AMM] #313625
02/25/09 10:10 AM
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The Gregorian calendar is normative for the Church since Inter Gravissimas .
Other calendars may be allowed as a concession.
For example Pope St Anicetus allowed St Polycarp to continue using the Hebrew Passover to commemorate the Crucifixion. But that tradition (which placed more emphasis on the lunar cycle than the other cycles) was later suppressed.

The thread started with a WCC proposal for a new method of calculating Easter. This has been seen by some as deriving from suggestions in a 1920 document from the Patriarchate (no Patriarch at the time) of Constantinople.
To the Churches of Christ Everywhere
But I have found there is yet another conflicting proposal for dating Easter which is linked to this 1920 document.
The preamble mentions
Quote
the hopeful establishment of the League of Nations
and Item 1 is
Quote
By the acceptance of a uniform calendar for the celebration of the great Christian feasts at the same time by all the churches.


Well the League of Nations proposed in 1926 to make Easter the Sunday after the 2nd Saturday of April.
There is a UK Act of Parliament to implement this (pending since 1928)
Quote
Provided further that, before making such draft order, regard shall be had to any opinion officially expressed by any Church or other Christian
Easter Act



Re: Common Easter date? [Re: Fr David Straut] #313682
02/26/09 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Fr David Straut
All this would mean is that the Orthodox would start observing the Latin date of Easter over 99 times out of 100. They would never again observe the traditional Orthodox date. A non-starter, I'm afraid, from the beginning.

If Catholics want a unity of celebration in the date of Easter, I'm afraid the only solution is to "condescend" to their "weaker" brethren and accept the "scientifically inaccurate" Julian Calendar based Orthodox reckoning. Can they humble themselves? The Orthodox, I believe, will not accept a change themselves.


And that is a shame.

Re: Common Easter date? [Re: AMM] #313698
02/26/09 05:38 PM
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AMM I dont really think it is an issue of ligitimate differences. Sure we could continue to celebrate Easter at different dates. It is rather an issue of a united witness to the world. It is irrelavant when the West celebrates, sure we could easily concede to our brothers of the Orthodox Church. After all it is by the same reckoning that we date the day, except that our calendars are different and I believe the West did not lay much weight on when the Jews celebrated Passover.
However when a calendar is off by many days and is inaccurate is that a wise thing to do to keep following it?
Stephanos I

Last edited by Stephanos I; 02/26/09 05:41 PM.
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