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#1 Ben Johnson

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:58 PM

Since some of our fasts and feasts are dependent on Pascha, why do we have an Ecclesiastical New Year on Sept. 1?



#2 Phoebe K.

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 11:18 PM

Hi

 

As far as I have understood it the Ecclesiastical year is based on the calender of the Roman empire.  The Julian Calender works form September as new year, so the church did so too, and contained this even after the Eastern Roman fell.



#3 Father David Moser

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 10:07 PM

The Paschal cycle - that which depends on the date of Pasch - has its own rhythm which begins and ends with the start of the Triodion..  The fixed calendar with the feasts of the saints which are on the same date every year.  The two cycles, the Paschal and the fixed menaion, interact in a 460 year (give or take a few years, I don't recall the exact number) "dance" which gives us the early Pascha and long Apostles fast some years and a late Pascha with a short Apostles fast on others.  The Fixed cycle of the menaion begins on Sept 1 and the first major feast is the birth of the Virgin.  This feast actually is the earliest of all the feasts - everything begins with the birth of the Virgin.  The fixed cycle ends with the feast of the death (dormition) of the Virgin, The cycle of the 8 tones and the 11 Matins Gospels are determined by the Paschal calendar.  The saints' days and non-moveable feasts (such as the Nativity and Theophany of the Lord) are determined by the fixed calendar.

 

Originally the fixed calendar was established using the civil calendar of the time - what we currently call the "Julian" or "old" calendar.  This 400 and some year "dance" of the two cycles was initially established using the Paschal and Julian calendar.  Today the civil calendar is the "Gregorian" calendar established by Pope Gregory in the17th century based on astronomical data gathered by the Roman Catholic Church.  Because of the shifts in computing dates introduced by the Gregorian calendar, the "dance" of the fixed and Paschal calendars was distorted.  For this reason we have the phenomena of the disappearing Apostles' fast and other never planned for events.  Until the mid 20th century, the Orthodox Church continued to rely solely upon the "Julian" calendar for its fixed feasts, but with the advent of the "new " or "revised Julian calendar" to calculate the fixed dates, these distortions of the harmony between the fixed and moveable feasts were introduced.  This dissonance is not something that can't be fixed - but there is a lot of inertia behind the established traditions of the dates of Pascha and the other feasts that will be difficult to overcome.  In the meantime, some local Churches choose to live with the dissonance of the Paschal calendar and the new calendar - and others choose to live with the dissonance between the Church calendar and the civil calendar.

 

Fr David



#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 11:45 PM

The ancient Roman calendar originally began on 1 March but later on 1 January. The ecclesiastical year's beginning on 1 September came later. The question put is answered by Fr David inasmuch as he makes clear that the Church year combines movable dates based upon the date of Pascha and fixed dates. All Local Churches follow the same Paschal cycle. Some Local Churches, since 1924, have used the New Calendar for the fasts and feasts which have fixed dates. That change in 1924 was wrong and most regret it. One could say that those Local Churches which follow the New Calendar 'choose' to follow it; in fact, they simply continue as they have done for 90 years, though they could change back. It must be emphasized that all Local Churches, regardless of which calendar they follow, are in communion with each other and there is no impediment to clergy of an Old Calendar church celebrating with clergy in a New Calendar church and vice versa. Furthermore, it would be misplaced to say of the faithful in a New Calendar Local Church that they 'choose' the New Calendar: it would entirely unrealistic to expect the entire populations of Greece, Cyprus and Romania, for example, to leave their Local Churches because they follow the New Calendar (though they could urge their Churches to change back). Nor is there any attenuation of the Orthodox faith of those who are members of New Calendar Local Churches. But, as already said, the change to the New Calendar was wrong and a change back to the Old Calendar would be preferable.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 30 August 2014 - 11:46 PM.


#5 Dimitris

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 05:16 AM

Father David's answer was much more diplomatic and unbiased.



#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 08:13 AM

There are those who criticize (sometimes very fiercely) those on the New Calendar and I sought to counter that for the record.



#7 Kosta

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 07:12 PM

September 1 was the start of a new indiction. It also coincided fairly close with the New Year on the Egyptian calendar which was used by the Alexandrian Church.

It is also considered New Year's day by the Church in Constantinople. The date of Sept1 coincides with the harvest, the jewish New Year, the month Constantine passed the Edict of Milan, and the day of Neyrouz on the Coptic calendar. Nothing significant is found in the liturgical prayers for a Jan 1 new year.

#8 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 07:34 PM

Just to add to the above posts most of the liturgical texts are concerned with the blessing of the New Year but they also commemorate the Lord's reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue in Nazareth and indeed one of the readings for Vespers is that from which He read (Isaiah) which begins 

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me; He
hath sent me to preach good tidings unto the poor, to heal the brokenhearted,
to  proclaim  liberty  to  the  captives,  and  sight  to  the  blind;  to  proclaim  an
acceptable year of the Lord"

 

Likewise the Gospel reading is of that event (Luke).

 

In Christ.

Daniel,



#9 Ben Johnson

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 03:46 PM

Thank you for the responses, especially to Fr. Mosser.  His answer helped me put together why I thought I was being pulled in different directions with the calendar.



#10 Timothy Phillips

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 07:49 PM

All Local Churches follow the same Paschal cycle. 

 

Except Finland.



#11 Timothy Phillips

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 07:53 PM

The Paschal cycle - that which depends on the date of Pasch - has its own rhythm which begins and ends with the start of the Triodion..  The fixed calendar with the feasts of the saints which are on the same date every year.  The two cycles, the Paschal and the fixed menaion, interact in a 460 year (give or take a few years, I don't recall the exact number) "dance" which gives us the early Pascha and long Apostles fast some years and a late Pascha with a short Apostles fast on others. 

 

Perhaps 532 years is the number you want (The 19-year lunar cycle multiplied by the 28-year solar cycle)?  Or are you referring to something else?



#12 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 05:12 AM

So, is the fact that the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana, ref Leviticus 23:24) occurs in Sept is only coincidental?



#13 Anna Stickles

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 11:13 PM

In the early Church the liturgical new year was on Sept 23rd, the celebration of the conception of St John the Baptist as the first event in the life of the Church. In the doctrinal debates of the 4th and 5th centuries the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Sept 8th took more prominence. 

 

From everything I have read it is a combination of the importance of these feasts as the beginning of Christ's economy, with various civil factors that determined the start of the new year. By this time the Christians had entirely separated themselves from the Jewish liturgical calendar. (This is specifically stated at the first Council of Nicea in response to the calendar debates of that time)

 

Anyway according to the ancient Jewish calendar, the feast of Trumpets is in the seventh month, with Pascha being in the start of the year.

 

I think the Jews, sometime during the Roman empire, also adjusted the start of their liturgical calendar to coincide with the civil calendar making Sept and Rosh Hashana the start of the year.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 01 December 2014 - 11:25 PM.


#14 Kosta

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 09:34 PM

I think all these are correlated. September is the start of autumn and can be considered the first season. Scientists do consider Sept 1 as the start of fall as they simply divide the seasons into 3 equal month intervals. SEPT 23 tends to be the actual first day of fall give or take a day or two.

In civilian use it too is like the start of a new year. The truth is the new year starting in september makes more sense than Jan1.
It is in summer than most people take their vacations, its like the 7th day to rest. In mediterenean countries this is also the most practical as the sweltering heat of July and Aug makes it difficult to work. Thus summer would be the season to relax and stay near the coastline. September is when we get back to normal. Even today its the start of the school year. The stock markets see dwindling volumes in the summer, and wait for Sept to get a better idea of how the markets are doing, etc

#15 Ben Johnson

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 10:41 PM

At some point during Byzantium's history, it also considered Sept. to be the beginning of the year.



#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 01:07 AM

There is, I suspect, an interesting parallel. In that the Liturgical day begins in the evening with Vespers, it seems appropriate that the Liturgical year start in Autumn, don't you think?

 

A simple thought from a bear of little brain.






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