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Calendars, pros and cons


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#21 John Charmley

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 10:35 PM

Dear Peter,

Although I see the other side, I think you are correct - not least with regard to mission. Not so much because the NC makes it easier (which I doubt) but because to many outside of Orthodoxy the feelings expressed against the NC look both unChristian and out of proportion; they can seem, to the uninitiated (i.e. about 98% of the population of the UK), to smack of the Pharisaical. Of course, having read the learned posts here, I can now be better informed and see why the feelings are aroused - but the expression of them in the way that has happened at times does not make a good impression on those on the look out for bigotry and closed minds.

That is not to say that the arguments in favour of the OC are not compelling - indeed reading what has been posted here has given me much food for thought. But if they were more often expressed as they are here - and without the vitriol against the Patriarch who instituted it here - it would be a more impressive example of Christian witness; even as it has been here.


In Christ,


John

#22 Peter Farrington

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 09:29 AM

Dear John

I think the important thing in relation to the experience of the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, and perhaps also with relation to the Finnish Orthodox Church within the Ecumencial Patriarchate, is that there is the practice of open-heartedness towards diversity with regard to the calendar.

I still think it does have a missiological value. I am thinking especially that my own local community will be doing something for St George's Day and St Alban's Day, among others, and these dates only have value for most British people on the NC. When we send a greeting to all the St Alban's Churches in my own county, for instance, they will be confused if they do not receive it on his NC feast day.

But I am not an ideologue when it comes to the calendar and would use whatever my bishop instructed. Indeed when the BOC united with the COP I rather expected that we would have to use the OC and wasn't disturbed by it.

As ever

Peter

#23 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:28 PM

Quite possibly because the Old Greek Calendarist consider him one of their own saints, because St Nicholas followed the old calender and the new. But gave preference it seems over the new.
I could be wrong on this.


We need to be careful when talking about the elders in Greece and the Old/new calendar. There are a group of Old Calendar people who maintain that those who worship with the New Calendar are 'broken off' to the Body of Christ ... those who teach this are in disagreement with God's wishes ... there are two highly revered Elders of our times who (on Mount Athos) joined this Old Calendar movement and were antagonists to the New Calendar. They came to realise that this was not God's wishes ...

Now, while most of the Elders DO follow the old Calendar they DO NOT antagonise those who are with the New Calendar since they know it is the will of God for this to be permitted ... when God is ready, I am sure that He will reunite us New Calendar folk with the Old Calendar ... I believe this.

#24 Paul Cowan

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:29 AM

I think there is special about Orthodoxy to be "set apart" from the world. I converted to Orthodoxy 8 years ago and until 4 years ago did not know there was such a thing as old and new calendars. I am ready to follow the old calendar, but am under the jurisdiction of the new. So I too pray for the uniting of the two calendars.

Paul

#25 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:40 AM

I think there is special about Orthodoxy to be "set apart" from the world. I converted to Orthodoxy 8 years ago and until 4 years ago did not know there was such a thing as old and new calendars. I am ready to follow the old calendar, but am under the jurisdiction of the new. So I too pray for the uniting of the two calendars.

Paul


I often wish I was part of the Old Calendar since it is Byzantine in its nature and I have much respect for the development of Christianity in that time. However, God granted me to be born in Australia and i was raised in the orthodox church that is following the New Calendar. I believe I do not have the right to leave this arm of orthodoxy ... it does not stop me for praying for the unity of Old and New, however, co-existing does not appear to be a sin as there are Saints from both :-) So, if God is happy with it so am I.

#26 Kusanagi

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 09:22 AM

Quite possibly because the Old Greek Calendarist consider him one of their own saints, because St Nicholas followed the old calender and the new. But gave preference it seems over the new.
I could be wrong on this.

#27 Kusanagi

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 02:19 PM

We need to be careful when talking about the elders in Greece and the Old/new calendar. There are a group of Old Calendar people who maintain that those who worship with the New Calendar are 'broken off' to the Body of Christ ... those who teach this are in disagreement with God's wishes ... there are two highly revered Elders of our times who (on Mount Athos) joined this Old Calendar movement and were antagonists to the New Calendar. They came to realise that this was not God's wishes ...

Now, while most of the Elders DO follow the old Calendar they DO NOT antagonise those who are with the New Calendar since they know it is the will of God for this to be permitted ... when God is ready, I am sure that He will reunite us New Calendar folk with the Old Calendar ... I believe this.


Yes but i feel due to these issues that is what could be causing St Nicholas Planas to be not well known, or it could be because St Nicholas wants to remain hidden.

Well i do know unfortunately of how some of the supports act in both the old and new prevents the union of the calendars. I read in the Russian Golgotha book, i believe it is from that the new calendar wanted to be in communion with the old and the old calendarist can keep their calendar but sadly they didnt want anything to do with the union.

But anyway I think it makes it something extra special when you do eventually find a saint that is so well hidden. My friend told me she had such spiritual joy when she found an icon of St Xenia of Kalamata and told me it is not easy to locate such an icon. I am sure the same can be applied to those that do eventually find St Nicholas.

#28 Deacon Jonathan

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 03:56 AM

I often wish I was part of the Old Calendar since it is Byzantine in its nature and I have much respect for the development of Christianity in that time. However, God granted me to be born in Australia and i was raised in the orthodox church that is following the New Calendar. I believe I do not have the right to leave this arm of orthodoxy ... it does not stop me for praying for the unity of Old and New, however, co-existing does not appear to be a sin as there are Saints from both :-) So, if God is happy with it so am I.


When I desired to enter Orthodoxy I was in China, and so looked up the Orthodox parish priest "local" to my hometown back in England. I must admit that I was quite pleased that it just so happened to be on the Old Calendar. Later, when I found out where I could worship in Beijing, I found myself also being on the Old Calendar (as part of the Moscow Patriarchate) with no option to choose a New Calendar parish. Whatever reasons conspired to bring me into contact only with the Old Calendar, I certainly know it isn't because one is "better" than the other. I trust that God chose to bring me into Orthodoxy this way because it is what was best for me.

But, anyway, Happy Feast of the Theophany for all those who celebrate it today!

#29 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 04:25 AM

I certainly know it isn't because one is "better" than the other. I trust that God chose to bring me into Orthodoxy this way because it is what was best for me.


Not including the non-Canonical Old Calendar, Jonathan, in all honesty, if we all thought this way there would be less bickering between the canonical Old Calendar churches and the canonical New Calendar churches of God. There is a reason in His wisdom that He has permitted this distinction (notice that I dont call it a split - I dont see this as a split from the authentic Body of Christ).

In His time, if He wills it, we may come together again and celebrate under the one calendar. In the meantime, we must not cause divisions for each other and work together to worship God and seek His salvation in our life!

#30 Dimitris

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 11:39 PM

I think there is special about Orthodoxy to be "set apart" from the world.

Hallo!

I wonder if we, as Orthodox, should really aim to be "set apart" from the world. According to the new calendar, yesterday, January 6th, was the feast of Epiphany and in the Epistle of the feast we read: "we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12). So there is the command to live in the present age, not somehow apart or away from the rest of the world. Isn't the wish of being set apart a kind of triumphalism and arrogance, which we should in any way avoid?

A calendar, in my eyes, is nothing Godly inspired, it's just a tool to measure time. So why shouldn't we improve that tool if we have the possibility to? Aren't the sophisticated possibilities with which we observe the world actually God-given? Why should we then ignore the results of these observations?

Another issue is the fact, that if we continue to follow the old calendar, we will at some time celebrate Christmas in summer and Easter in Autumn - not in the next 100 years, but as Orthodox we should have a sense for past, present and future. I know this is actually the case in the southern hemisphere like Australia. But our Saviour and God lived in the northern hemisphere where also the "original area" of Orthodoxy was and I cannot believe it was just by accident that He was born during the season where the days were dark and shortest of the year and began to increase again and was resurrected during the season when after the winter time nature came alive again. I cannot imagine to celebrate Christmas when days are becoming shorter and to celebrate Easter when nature dies and sets for winter rest. (So you see, I would have a hard time if I lived in the southern hemisphere of earth ;)).

Edited by Dimitris, 06 January 2009 - 11:44 PM.
Formatting of Epistle link


#31 Paul Cowan

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 02:52 AM

Hallo!

I wonder if we, as Orthodox, should really aim to be "set apart" from the world. According to the new calendar, yesterday, January 6th, was the feast of Epiphany and in the Epistle of the feast we read: "we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12). So there is the command to live in the present age, not somehow apart or away from the rest of the world. Isn't the wish of being set apart a kind of triumphalism and arrogance, which we should in any way avoid?


Sorry, I should have not tried to put two ideas into one post. I am having a hard time lately expressing myself.

What does it mean "we are in the world but not of the world"? This is what I mean to be set apart. We live in this place of sensuality but do not have to participate with it. We engage with people every day, but do not have to do as they do. We are known by the fruit we bare. We are supposed to be the light in the room not under the bushel. We are supposed to be different so people will come to us to see what we have and we say "come and see".

If we are not "set apart" or maybe a better term is try to maintain a higher standard of morals, though we be sinners, then how are we different than the pagans? I am not suggesting we close ourselves up and shun others. I am saying IN Orthodoxy, we are "different" and that makes us more accountable before God because this particular Talent he gave is precious.

Just as Israel was set apart as His chosen people; so too I think is Orthodoxy. And no I am not saying other people are less than us. Heaven forbid. I am just saying we are called to act different.

Paul

#32 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 03:22 AM

Are we not working to reclaim Creation? To set Creation apart as well? In the world but not of the world, reclaiming life from the dominion of death. If we do not touch the world, we cannot reclaim it. We do not do the reclaiming, but He chooses to work through us.

Or so it seems to this bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh

#33 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:23 AM

Apostle Paul tells us that Creation "SISTENAZI" (I will follow up with the reference) ... "it sighs with us".

In addition, Revelation and the Book of Isaiah are proof enough to show that Orthodox prayers keep Creation from "turning" on us sooner (ie. It is the prayers of the Orthodox that "reclaim" Creation from falling WITH the continual fall of huamnity (ie. as the faith grows weaker so too does Creation - SISTENAZI)

See also Creation "turning" on us in Isaiah 24:19-22:

19 ταραχῇ ταραχθήσεται ἡ γῆ, καὶ ἀπορίᾳ ἀπορηθήσεται ἡ γῆ· 20 ἔκλινεν ὡς ὁ μεθύων καὶ κραιπαλῶν, καὶ σεισθήσεται ὡς ὀπωροφυλάκιον ἡ γῆ, καὶ πεσεῖται καὶ οὐ μὴ δύνηται ἀναστῆναι, κατίσχυσε γὰρ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῆς ἡ ἀνομία. 21 καὶ ἐπάξει ὁ Θεὸς ἐπὶ τὸν κόσμον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὴν χεῖρα καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς· 22 καὶ συνάξουσι καὶ ἀποκλείσουσιν εἰς ὀχύρωμα καὶ εἰς δεσμωτήριον, διὰ πολλῶν γενεῶν ἐπισκοπὴ ἔσται αὐτῶν.

It is only after the Second Coming of Christ that He will "reclaim" His entire Creation that is us (with our bodies) and the creation around us only because He said that ALL of creation was made for us (prior to our fall) so then if it is all for us it can not be destroyed even after the Second Coming ... it merely undergoes a change to its "Schema" (Book of Isaiah) so ultimately at some point or other it will be reclaimed FOR the Saints ...

Edited by Vasiliki D., 07 January 2009 - 04:47 AM.


#34 Ryan

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:31 AM

There is a difference between living in the world, and "friendship with the world," which, St. James tells us, is "enmity towards God". I believe the motives behind the New Calendar sprang from this latter attitude. The New Calendar was introduced as part of an agenda to compromise the Church as a distinctive body. Living "in the world" does not imply altering the ecclesiastical calendar to fit the secular one (which have completely different purposes anyway) any more than it implies changing dogma to accommodate worldly views.

Arguments can be made that the Old Calendar should have been changed for reasons of astronomical accuracy, but this was not the key motive behind the New Calendar we have today, and it should have been done much more cautiously and with the assent of all the Orthodox Churches.

#35 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 08:28 AM

There is a difference between living in the world, and "friendship with the world," which, St. James tells us, is "enmity towards God". I believe the motives behind the New Calendar sprang from this latter attitude. The New Calendar was introduced as part of an agenda to compromise the Church as a distinctive body. Living "in the world" does not imply altering the ecclesiastical calendar to fit the secular one (which have completely different purposes anyway) any more than it implies changing dogma to accommodate worldly views.

Arguments can be made that the Old Calendar should have been changed for reasons of astronomical accuracy, but this was not the key motive behind the New Calendar we have today, and it should have been done much more cautiously and with the assent of all the Orthodox Churches.


What I dont understand with style of argument is that in the Old Testament we have many examples where the action was not necessarily right, it was still a path that God approved for His people to follow ...

Maybe I am hoping for too much to be open to the possibility that some times what we see as WRONG right now God sees right for later down the track and maybe I am hoping too much in trusting in the fact that God knows what is better for the future than what we do ... I am wondering if anyone has ever come across this style of belief or if it is acceptable with the church?

#36 Deacon Jonathan

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 09:12 AM

Yes, of course; what you say, Vasiliki is just another way of confessing what St. Paul says in Romans: that God brings "all things together for the good of His people". A specific example of this, and there are many, is Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery; the wrong decision, done from the wrong motives, but through God made into good. That is why Jospeh, upon being reunited with his brothers, says: "do not be distressed or angry with youselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life... it was not you who sent me here, but God."

So, yes, this could be a similar situation with the New Calendar; I do agree with Ryan that it seems to have been introduced with the wrong motives but.... who knows what God will make of it; it's still been less than 100 years, and God doesn't always work in human time. And besides, even with the New Calendar, we can still say that "time" has been reclaimed by the Church. Within the Church, the New Year is not Jan 1st - whichever calendar we use - but Sep 1st. So there is a difference. And when the secular world arbitarily celebrates the new year on Jan 1st, those under the new calendar celebrate St. Basil's day. The dates of the church are not given over to months named after Roman gods and numbered, but they're given over to Christ, His Mother, and all the Saints.

Jonathan, writing on the Feast of the Nativity (OC)/Synaxis of the Forerunner St. John (NC).

#37 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 09:34 AM

Yes, of course; what you say, Vasiliki is just another way of confessing what St. Paul says in Romans: that God brings "all things together for the good of His people". A specific example of this, and there are many, is Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery; the wrong decision, done from the wrong motives, but through God made into good. That is why Jospeh, upon being reunited with his brothers, says: "do not be distressed or angry with youselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life... it was not you who sent me here, but God."

So, yes, this could be a similar situation with the New Calendar; I do agree with Ryan that it seems to have been introduced with the wrong motives but.... who knows what God will make of it; it's still been less than 100 years, and God doesn't always work in human time.


Many Saints were sinners - made bad choices - but ultimately ended up Saints. Many Saints had different purposes (ascetic versus FFC, theologian, martyr) regardless of the different character, regardless of the different era 9time) ultimately ended up Saints a person God blessed regardless of what other people thought.

St. Nicholas slapped that guy in front of the entire council - NO ONE approved! God vindicated him for all to witness and learn from ...

The New Calendar churches produce Saints ... God is there and anyone who disagrees with God should be careful. Glory to God for his Will to be done always and as we pray on Sunday ... let us pray for the unity of His Body only.

Job 40:2 "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? He who rebukes God let him answer it"

Job 40:4 " Behold I am vile; What shall I answer you? I lay my hand over my mouth."

Job 40:5 "Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further"

Edited by Vasiliki D., 07 January 2009 - 10:00 AM.


#38 Ryan

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 03:53 PM

What I dont understand with style of argument is that in the Old Testament we have many examples where the action was not necessarily right, it was still a path that God approved for His people to follow ...

Maybe I am hoping for too much to be open to the possibility that some times what we see as WRONG right now God sees right for later down the track and maybe I am hoping too much in trusting in the fact that God knows what is better for the future than what we do ... I am wondering if anyone has ever come across this style of belief or if it is acceptable with the church?



Obviously God can and has brought good out of evil many times, and the New Calendar may be no exception in the future. But so far, it seems to me that the fruits of the New Calendar have for the most part been evil, namely, the Old Calendarist schisms, the festal disunity within the Church, and the various liturgical problems. Perhaps in the future something good can come of the New Calendar to balance out all the problems it has introduced, but until then, in my opinion, it remains an indefensible innovation that should be reversed as soon as possible.

#39 Dimitris

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 07:24 PM

But so far, it seems to me that the fruits of the New Calendar have for the most part been evil

You could also see it the other way round: The continued use of the old calendar could have caused all these troubles.

I don't feel at all comfortable with that personifications of the calendars. "The good old calendar" and "the evil new calendar". It sometimes even seems to me like idolizing a tool that was invented by man to measure time.

#40 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 11:49 PM

Job 40:2 "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? He who rebukes God let him answer it"

Job 40:4 " Behold I am vile; What shall I answer you? I lay my hand over my mouth."
Job 40:5 "Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further"

I don't feel at all comfortable with that personifications of the calendars.


I agree Dimitri. Especially when so miracles are worked through the Orthodox Churches that are following the New Calendar ... myrrh streaming icons, miraculous visitations, healing and visitations of the saints ...

IF this debate was about dogmatical issues such as "Is God a Holy Trinity", the "Ever-Virginity" of the Holy "Theotokos" etc then agreed, the point of view you hold with regards to those issues affects your salvation ... the calendar DOES NOT affect your salvation.

Christ's promise to the governing bodies of the Church is that "What is Bound on Earth is Bound in Heaven". He never said to the Apostles, and those following the Apostolic succession - "What you bind on Earth is Bound in Heaven ONLY IF ... ". Philosophically, there is room for errors in their Earth binding decisions which regardless WILL be adopted (approved) in Heaven also ... let's be careful. We must not judge the decisions of the Hierarchs - not ALL are called to be Apostles, not all are called to be prophets ... let each of us follow our calling ... I am certainly NOT called to be a Hierarch and therefore have not right to judge their decisions made.




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