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Calendars, pros and cons


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#1 Scott Pierson

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 07:23 PM

If one where to put all the benifits to switching to the new calander on one side of the scale and then put all the troubles that switching has caused on the other side which side would be more heavy so to speak?

Even if switching to the new calender had some benifits was it worth causing schism, and even death ( their have been Martyrs for the old calendar). Didnt the people who came up with the concept even consider the fact that they might be scandalizing millions of people for something of only limited benfit ( a "more accurate" calender)? Usually people who support the NC. say "its only a calander why do people worry so much about it". If however to them its only a minor issue why change it and upset the people who think its a major issue? Bassically people are saying its worth risking a schism and scandalizing people over something they admite they dont think is really that important. I tend to think that some of the Hierarchs who supported the change DO think it was more important then they lead the Orthdox on to believe... They wanted modernization and better "eccumenical relations" at all costs.

I'm certainly not saying that new calendar jurisdictions are evil or heretical. I go to a new calender Church myself. I just think the calendar change has only hurted the Church and given us no real benifit in exchange.

#2 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 09:08 PM

Firstly, I should declare myself to be using the Revised Calendar.

I think that the calendar should reflect nature since it is a record of the changing seasons, we should state that 21st June is the Summer Solstice (Northern Hemispere) or whenever the Solstice is defined to be, then the rest of the calendar should follow on from that. It is for this reason I think we should stop using the Revised calendar and use the Gregorian (or a more accurate one if discovered).

The main inconsistancy, as far as I can see, is those using the Revised Calendar but still calculating Pascha by the Julian: surely Pascha should be on the same Calendar as the rest of the year? People argue that it is to make sure Jewish Passover happens before Pascha but surely the only logical thing is to calculate Jewish Passover on the Revised Calendar too?

I'm sorry that I pose more questions rather than answering any.

With love in Christ

Alex

#3 Kosta

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 06:16 AM

That the calendar should reflect nature has never been a criteria for a religious calendar in any culture. When winter occurs in the north it is summer in certain areas south of the equator. Judaism (islam as well) has never viewed astronomical accuracy to be important.

The utmost importance of a Church calendar is to have a sound liturgical cycle, the Julian is the best suited for this over all the others. (to be fair the revised julin calendar has the benefit that the Annunciation of the Theotokos does not fall on Good Friday although there are church rules when this occurs).
This is why monastics prefer the Church Calendar, it is of vital importance for them, that a fast day does not overlap with a non fast day or even eclipses it altogether, as happens certain years with the apostles fast. It must also observe the canons for the LUNAR calculations of Pascha. Pascha is not based upon a solar calendar but upon a lunar cycle.
Also the feast of jewish passover must be taken into consideration if a new "truly" orthodox calendar is to be created.

One thing about our new calendar using churches is their reluctance to undertake the task of creating a liturgically sound calendar which would also be astronomically accurate! Its either the gregorian calendar "as is" or nothing at all.
Thus we must concede to the old calendarists what is already known, that the new calendar issue is for a form of ecumenical syncretism with the western churches. This can be the only logical explanation, because a completely new accurate(both liturgically and astronomical church calendar) is simply common sense not to mention that the Church of Greece in 1918 actually wrote a resolution on this matter!!


Even though "our" churches have for about the last 30 years claimed that Pascha does not need to fall after the first day of the day of azyme; that this is not part of the calculation, (using some believeable yet spurious scholarship), they're lying.
The jews calculate their passover on the day of the first full moon following the vernal equinox. Orthodox not wanting to celebrate Pascha on or before the first day of passover calculates Pascha on the first sundAay FOLLOWING the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Another words if the full moon falls on a sunday Pascha is moved up and celebrated on the next sunday (which means the final day of jewish passover ends on Lazarus saturday and pascha and passover never coincide regardless) .

#4 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 05:46 PM

That the calendar should reflect nature has never been a criteria for a religious calendar in any culture. When winter occurs in the north it is summer in certain areas south of the equator. Judaism (islam as well) has never viewed astronomical accuracy to be important.


Why is this the case? While obviously there is the Northern/Southern Hemispere problem why doesn't nature have its part in the calendar?

With love in Christ

Alex

#5 Kosta

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 06:03 AM

That christmas needs to be celebrated in winter is simply a western european custom (with pagan origins).

Likewise, Easter was a spring fertility goddess, and most protestants dye their eggs pastel colors to symbolize the blooming flowers which occur in spring, this is why some in the west believe it must be held in spring, its a "cute" custom. But not the reason Pascha falls in spring.

Of course Christmas wont be celebrated in any other season, other than in winter. Because any attempts to radically change the calendar means you will get firebombed. The world's retail economy depends on Christmas. And if you tamper with it, armies and assasins will be gunning for you. I'm saying this sarcastically but it has a grain of truth to it.

Whats important is the integrity of the liturgical cycle. The interval between the various christian feasts.

Using Christmas as the example, on whatever day it happens to falls on , the Annunciation must then be celebrated 9 months prior. And 8 days AFTER Christmas we commemorate the Circumscision of the Lord, since the torah calls for all males 8 days old to be circumscised, etc etc. Pascha on the other hand is based on the moon not on earths rotation around the sun. So if the astronomical calendar is off, then you must set a fixed date for the equinox. As an example you dont want a strict Lenten fast day to coincide with the day the church "originally" set aside to remember the parable of the publican and pharisee where the pharisee shows off his fasting. (this day in the orthodox calendar is strictly a non-fast day.)

The gregorian calendar doesnt take into consideration fast and non fast days because roman catholics dont fast, thus overlapping of these feasts means nothing for the west. While astronomical inaccuracy is not a problem with the gregorian calendar its an innacurate liturgical calendar. The gregorian calendar is like 15 seconds off a year but this wont become a problem for another 2000 years.

There is no problem with an accurate astronomical calendar but it must be devised to be in accordance with a proper liturgical cycle. This is where the problem lies, no heirarch speaks of this. the calendar controversy remains either the julian or revised gregorian or the gregorian "as is".

#6 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:57 AM

Pascha on the other hand is based on the moon not on earths rotation around the sun. So if the astronomical calendar is off, then you must set a fixed date for the equinox.


But is this actually based on the equinox or on a fixed date of the year? Under the Julian Calendar, the date on the equinox changes 3 times every 4 hundred years (I presume), does the calculations for Pascha take this into account?

As an example you dont want a strict Lenten fast day to coincide with the day the church "originally" set aside to remember the parable of the publican and pharisee where the pharisee shows off his fasting. (this day in the orthodox calendar is strictly a non-fast day.)


The date of the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee is dependent on the date of Pascha so could never fall in the Great Fast.

With love in Christ

Alex

#7 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:33 PM

Dear Kosta, you wrote:

Whats important is the integrity of the liturgical cycle. The interval between the various christian feasts.


Thank you for this posting. I felt it was a very helpful look at the issue of liturgical questions in the calendar issue.

INXC, Matthew

#8 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 10:00 AM

Dear Kosta and others,

Just to provide proof, however, that no calendar is perfect: this coming year the Old Calendar has Holy Saturday and the feast of the Annunciation on the same day, which is hardly liturgically ideal!

INXC, Matthew

#9 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 01:00 PM

Dear Kosta and others,

Just to provide proof, however, that no calendar is perfect: this coming year the Old Calendar has Holy Saturday and the feast of the Annunciation on the same day, which is hardly liturgically ideal!

INXC, Matthew


Wow! Holy Saturday Matins is already the most challenging service of the year for our parish. We do the Royal Hours on Friday morning. Then we change the covers from black to white (covering the white covers again with black so they can be removed Holy Sat morning). Then we have the Vespers with the plaschenitsa which most people try to attend. By that point we're basically in some sort of hyper-exhaustion. Only the basic 'crew' shows up for the Matins and we only have enough people to do an in-door 'procession' with the plaschenitsa. (However a nice tradition that spontaneously developed with the plaschenitsa is that everyone, women included, instead of the conventional 6 men, in turns joins in, as we do three circles inside the church.) Annunciation probably means adding the section around the reading of the Festal Gospel & added tropars for the Feast at the canon, plus stichiri at the Praises.

It's sometimes surprising however how exactly when you reach your breaking point in these services grace steps in to help. I think on that night we'll ask & need the special prayers of the Theotokos.

Liturgy may not be too different (3 added readings from the Old Testament, plus Festal epistle & Gospel?) as it already is a Vesperal Liturgy.

Actually if we manage to survive this it should be very interesting.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#10 Kris

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:00 AM

Peace,

I have not read all the previous posts in detail, so forgive me if I am repeating what has already been said.

I am under the Patriarchate of Constantinople and therefore under the New Calendar, which I follow in submission to my Bishop. However, I have deep reservations about this innovation.

In addition to causing a rift in the Church of Christ, a conflict that doesn't seem like it will fade until the Traditional Calendar is restored, the New Calendar has a number of other problems.

The main problem is the fact that the Fast of the Apostles, one of the four important fasts of the Church, is significantly reduced; some years not occuring at all. Last year I fasted for only two days, whereas my brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, Russia, Serbia, etc. fasted for two weeks.

The only way one could solve such a problem would be to either return to the Traditional Calendar or to adopt the Gregorian Paschalion (as the Church of Finland has done). The former would solve conflict, the latter would deepen it. I know which I prefer.

Yes, the New Calendar is more astronomically accurate, but that is of little or no importance in a religious context. And using one calendar for Pascha and another for the rest of the year is silly (if not even heretical).

Adopting the New Calendar has not brought us any closer to union with the heterodox (which was the intention of the reformers), since it has done nothing to bring them closer to Orthodoxy (them becoming Orthodox being an essential prerequisite for any union).

So, other than causing violence, death, division, mistrust and the removal of a fast (not to mention that I can no longer buy Christmas presents during January sales :-)), what exactly have been the benefits?

All I see if bad fruit; so it seems to me that the tree is rotten.

Please pray for me, a sinner.

#11 Ryan

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 02:00 PM

I yet to meet anyone who thinks the New Calendar was a good idea. I currently attend a Greek Archdiocese parish, and even the priest says to me that the Old Calendar should never have been changed.

I'm not too familiar with the politics of this- what are the chances of the Old Calendar being restored in the Ecumenical Patriarchate? What would have to be done to make this happen? Can individual parishes adopt the Old Calendar for themselves?

#12 Kris

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 02:18 PM

I yet to meet anyone who thinks the New Calendar was a good idea. I currently attend a Greek Archdiocese parish, and even the priest says to me that the Old Calendar should never have been changed.

I'm not too familiar with the politics of this- what are the chances of the Old Calendar being restored in the Ecumenical Patriarchate? What would have to be done to make this happen? Can individual parishes adopt the Old Calendar for themselves?


Peace,

Since the Ecumenical Patriarchate was one of the jurisdictions that pioneered the calendar reforms, I have a feeling that would be one of the last jurisdictions that would restore the Old Calendar. I think only an overwhelming rejection of the New Calendar among the people could instigate a reversal of the reform. Considering that the majority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's adherants live in America, Western Europe and Australia, where people are mostly indifferent or supportive of the calendar reforms, I don't see this happening any time soon.

The Greek government would also be quite a powerful factor in this I think (it shouldn't be, but it is), so a "revolt" within the Church of Greece could possibly have an impact on the EP.

I know the OCA gave each parish the option to adopt the New Calendar or keep the Old, but I think this is unique to the OCA.

In XC,
Kris

#13 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 09:51 PM

I know the OCA gave each parish the option to adopt the New Calendar or keep the Old, but I think this is unique to the OCA.

Actually ACROD allows the same option to old parishes but all new parishes are New Calendar, and if an older parish does adopt the NC it is not allowed to switch back.

#14 Michael Astley

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 11:29 AM

Who are ACROD?

Fr Andrew Phillips has written a splendid piece on this, which I have in Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, and which may be read online here.

#15 Peter Farrington

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 11:50 AM

In the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate the British Orthodox Church all use the New Calendar, while the rest of the Patriarchate is Old Calendar (very old in fact, Pharonic!).

This doesn't seem to have caused any problems. I think we believed it would be necessary/useful for our mission to British people, and I believe that it has worked out like that.

Peter

#16 John Charmley

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 12:17 PM

Dear Peter,

I am grateful to Michael for directing us towards that article in Orthodox England, which is an excellent explanation of the history and importance of this issue.

I am struck, in reading it, by analogies in my own experiences within the Anglican Church. Those of us of a conservative or traditionalist caste of mind are, I fear, always put on the uneasy defensive when our hierarchs go and do something which offends against our traditional understanding of our Faith, and my sympathy goes out to those in that position within the Orthodox Church.

For more than twenty years, as a very traditionalist Anglican, I was faced with wave after wave of this, and it leaves one uneasy whatever one does. Disagreeing with one's bishop can lead to disobedience, and good Christians are called to obedience; so even finding the language within which to couch one's disagreement can be a problem - let alone the fact that some bishops have a very low threshold of tolerance for any sort of dissent.

On the other hand, obedience to something which runs counter to the traditional teaching of the Church is painful; something, of course, obedience can be, and speaking for myself, I adopted the line that the more painful, the better for my humility - even to the point at which I would go to my local church rather than another a few miles away where the services were Book of Common Prayer.

It seemed to me that there was a distinction between two classes of issue - for which I am sure someone here has a better nomenclature - the one was what I came to call 'inessential tradition', that is something that was traditional but seemed not to encroach on the substance of the Faith - so in my local case that was something like the service book; I had always treasured the BCP, but it was not of the essence of the Faith. Then there were 'essential traditions' - and here something like the ordination of women caused a great difficulty.

In the end, for me, the more the Church of England moved down the modernist liberal road towards a form of sacralised social work, the clearer it became to me that I was no longer within it.

Even asking how traditionalists cope with such changes seems to me, even now, rather Protestant - surely the answer is clear? They obey their hierarchs and, if necessary, mortify their spirit in obedience. As I read Fr. Andrew's excellent article, its tone reminded me so strongly of that of organisations within Anglicanism like Forward in the Faith, that it brought this train of thought to mind.

I see, from the outside, the strains this causes within Orthodoxy, and wonder whether, as part of its sojourn in these western lands, this will be part of the wave of its future; I have a suspicion that anyone who thinks that the issue of women priests will go away, or not be an issue in 25 years time may be fooling him or herself.

I am interested, Peter, in the difference in tone within the Coptic patriarchate, where it seems as though Pope Shenouda is prepared to take an eirenic view on the matter of the calendar. Still, when one operates on one as old as the pharoahs, I suppose it gives one a sense of perspective lacking to those of us using a calendar less than 2000 years old!


In Christ,

John

#17 Peter Farrington

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 12:50 PM

Hi John

It is clear from the protocol of union between the British Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate that Pope Shenouda and the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate wanted and expected the British Orthodox Church to be British and culturally sensistive, even while an integral part of the Patriarchate.

So it is understood that, for instance, advice given in confession will be culturally relevant and will not merely seek to reproduce advice that is culturally relevant in a Middle Eastern and especially Egyptian context.

This may well be scandalous for some, though the Synod of bishops and all the priests and people I know have no problem with such differences. It is well known, for instance, that British Christians have a different attitude towards alcohol than Coptic Christians. This is not least because of our different climates. Should there be a universal rule for all? I don't believe so.

In the same way I think that the calendar is viewed as rather a culturally conditioned element of Church life. Within each Church there is a need for coherence, but the Patriarchate, as a home for a variety of cultural and ethnic expressions of Orthodoxy, has room for diversity.

Indeed I think that the presence and celebration of diversity in the Oriental Orthodox communion, with a unity of faith, is a model for the response to the different culture of the British Orthodox Church. If we can be the same Church with Armenians, Syrians, Ethiopians etc, then adding in some British and French is not a big deal.

Peter

#18 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 05:44 PM

Who are ACROD?

American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, under Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos in Johnstown PA. The little diocese with the BIG name! It used to be the "Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Diocese of America".

#19 Andrew

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 06:42 PM

The New Calendar is good if it is instituted to sanctify the US/British/etc. civil calendar. I have no problem being on this calendar... I'd rather all the Orthodox be under one calendar, but in my eyes it's fine that different Bishops under different circumstances use different dates. I think one essential thing is to keep all Orthodox celebrating the Holy Week at the same time, though.

But anyways, my opinion on these matters doesn't amount to much. I'm fine either way, New or Old.

#20 Peter Farrington

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:05 PM

I think I have pretty much the same view, Andrew, in that for me it was not a deal breaker one way or the other. Just as I don't get to tell my bishop what liturgy we should be using.

But I do think that the NC is useful for mission in the UK.

Nativity is the only time I have thought it would be nice to be out of step, but I always find myself thinking that what is needed is to fight back and create a space for the Christian celebration and not give up the field of battle entirely.

Peter




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