Old vs. New Calendar?

PeterTheAleut

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Jonathan Gress said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Well, for the importance of uniformity you could, I suppose, refer to the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, unless you only want to appeal to them to justify the calendar change.
And I suppose for the importance of not breaking communion over the lack of uniformity one could look at the Church's rebuke of Pope St. Victor in A.D. 190.

Jonathan Gress said:
For the inescapable connection between the calendar change and ecumenism, you could try this highly scientific experiment. Let our hypothesis be that Local Churches which adopt the new calendar are more likely to join the World Council of Churches. We can add another hypothesis, namely that Local Churches that do not adopt the new calendar, but which remain in communion with the new calendarist churches, are also more likely to join the World Council of Churches. I'd be interested to see your findings.
You are aware that correlation does not prove causation? Besides, since when has membership in the World Council of Churches been de facto participation in false ecumenism?

Jonathan Gress said:
Sorry I missed your point about somebody in the West noticing the discrepancy between the calendar and solar equinoxes. Looking at Fr Basil's book, however, I see a mention of a proposed calendar change as early as 1324, exactly 600 years before the reform in Greece. Now it seems to me that if the Church really cared as much about astronomical accuracy as you like to think, She would have executed the reform long before that time.
1. Why do you trust Fr. Basil Sakkas' history of the calendar question?
2. The Church DID consider astronomical accuracy important enough to reform the calendar, or at least to make such accuracy the bedrock for the reforms She made... almost a whole millennium before 1324!

Jonathan Gress said:
No the Western heretics are not wrong in everything. But they're still wrong, and that makes changing the calendar just to conform to them a bad idea.
From what I've read of the 1923 deliberations over calendar reform, I would be dishonest to not recognize that conformity with the West was not a motivation behind the calendar change, but I think it equally dishonest to call it the only motivation. Besides, you're only addressing the formulation of the Revised Julian Calendar and its introduction to the Church. What about the various churches that eventually adopted the New Calendar? Did they adopt the Calendar merely to conform with the West?
That's a good example about Pope St Victor. But from what I remember about that controversy, the different opinions of Pope Victor and St Irenaeus and the rest of the Church represented an earlier stage of that controversy. Later on there's pretty good evidence that the Church ended up treating variations in Paschal observances as anathema, viz. St Hippolytus' testimony that the Quartodecimans were heretics, and then certain canons were passed condemning Quartodecimanism as a heresy. It seems you like to pick certain examples out of context, just as you do when you refer to Nicea for the idea that astronomical accuracy is important, but conveniently ignore their even more significant concern with establishing unity in festal celebrations across the Church.
No, not really. I do acknowledge that the Church has, since 190, condemned the Quartodeciman heresy and excommunicated all those who adhere to it. However, my point is that it took a council of universal authority to make this proclamation (Nicea I). We have not yet had a universal council to proclaim the New Calendar anathema, so I think we're more in the position the Church was in 190. This means, to me then, that your Old Calendarist churches have acted prematurely to break communion with the New Calendarists and therefore merit the same rebuke that St. Irenaeus and many other bishops gave Pope St. Victor.

Jonathan Gress said:
I consider membership of the WCC as ipso facto participation in heresy, not only because of the heretical ecclesiological opinions found in the founding documents of the WCC, like the Toronto statement, but also later on, when the Orthodox members started to sign off on the various heretical statements of different WCC assemblies (starting I think with the 1968 assembly). But we've gone over these issues before. I think the correlation is very suggestive of a causal relationship: the new calendar was introduced amid discussions of using the reform as one tool in the program of reuniting with the Westerners, and lo and behold, the same churches that adopted the new calendar were the first to enter into full participation in Ecumenism through the WCC. The remaining Old Calendar churches that stayed in communion with them followed suit, once their communist masters decided that the WCC could be used as a tool for their foreign policy (previously they denounced the WCC as an imperialist front). If you wanted to persuade me that the New Calendar had nothing to do with ecumenism, it would help your case if it were the Old Calendarist churches that ended up preaching Ecumenism.

By the way, if you want a good clip of Patriarch Bartholomew solemnly declaring ex cathedra (;)) that the RC and EO are "sister churches", check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XiHOUg1UqM&feature=share

I don't understand why you think that the whole history of the Church since the First Ecumenical Council just doesn't count.
Did I ever say that, or are you just putting words in my mouth?

Jonathan Gress said:
Sure, astronomical accuracy was a concern in the 4th century, and this is no doubt the concern behind those like Nicephorus Gregoras in the 14th century when they proposed reform. But there's obviously much more to the question than just accuracy, if you bother to consider the fact that the Church decided not to change in the 14th century, even before there was any association of the reformed calendar with either Papism or Ecumenism.
And there's probably much more to the rejection of the calendar reforms proposed by Nicephorus Gregoras than just an indifference to astronomical accuracy, but how can we know this merely by reading a polemical work by Fr. Basil Sakkas? Not knowing exactly why Gregoras's proposed reform was rejected, your claim of indifference can only be recognized as conjecture.
 

Jonathan Gress

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I don't think your argument that it requires a universal council to determine these things holds water. St Hippolytus described the Quartodecimans as heretics in the 3rd century, well before Nicea, and there's plenty of evidence throughout Church history that the Fathers and local councils had authority to condemn heresy before an Ecumenical or Pan-Orthodox council was convened to address the question. Local Councils such as that of 1935 which condemned the State Church for changing the calendar unilaterally were within their rights.

In any case, the Church had already condemned the new calendar in Pan-Orthodox synods before 1924. That this was considered to be the position of the Church is shown by, for instance, Abp Chrysostom's own admission as late as 1923 (see my earlier post), so that the accusations of forgery (which only apply to the 1583 decision in any case, not those of 1587 or 1593) lose force.

The Church never changed the calendar. That is proof that the Church has not up to this point cared about changing the calendar for any reason, whether accuracy, Papism or Ecumenism. That shows that the desire of some individual Local Church to change the calendar without the agreement of the whole Church is without foundation and violates the unity of the Church. Note that I am not saying no one in the Church ever cared about astronomical accuracy. What I am saying is that there is no evidence that the Church as a whole considered accuracy so important that She needed to change the calendar. The only evidence that would satisfy me is if the Church actually did change the calendar, but She didn't.
 

ialmisry

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Jonathan Gress said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Well, for the importance of uniformity you could, I suppose, refer to the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, unless you only want to appeal to them to justify the calendar change.
And I suppose for the importance of not breaking communion over the lack of uniformity one could look at the Church's rebuke of Pope St. Victor in A.D. 190.

Jonathan Gress said:
For the inescapable connection between the calendar change and ecumenism, you could try this highly scientific experiment. Let our hypothesis be that Local Churches which adopt the new calendar are more likely to join the World Council of Churches. We can add another hypothesis, namely that Local Churches that do not adopt the new calendar, but which remain in communion with the new calendarist churches, are also more likely to join the World Council of Churches. I'd be interested to see your findings.
You are aware that correlation does not prove causation? Besides, since when has membership in the World Council of Churches been de facto participation in false ecumenism?

Jonathan Gress said:
Sorry I missed your point about somebody in the West noticing the discrepancy between the calendar and solar equinoxes. Looking at Fr Basil's book, however, I see a mention of a proposed calendar change as early as 1324, exactly 600 years before the reform in Greece. Now it seems to me that if the Church really cared as much about astronomical accuracy as you like to think, She would have executed the reform long before that time.
1. Why do you trust Fr. Basil Sakkas' history of the calendar question?
2. The Church DID consider astronomical accuracy important enough to reform the calendar, or at least to make such accuracy the bedrock for the reforms She made... almost a whole millennium before 1324!

Jonathan Gress said:
No the Western heretics are not wrong in everything. But they're still wrong, and that makes changing the calendar just to conform to them a bad idea.
From what I've read of the 1923 deliberations over calendar reform, I would be dishonest to not recognize that conformity with the West was not a motivation behind the calendar change, but I think it equally dishonest to call it the only motivation. Besides, you're only addressing the formulation of the Revised Julian Calendar and its introduction to the Church. What about the various churches that eventually adopted the New Calendar? Did they adopt the Calendar merely to conform with the West?
That's a good example about Pope St Victor. But from what I remember about that controversy, the different opinions of Pope Victor and St Irenaeus and the rest of the Church represented an earlier stage of that controversy. Later on there's pretty good evidence that the Church ended up treating variations in Paschal observances as anathema, viz. St Hippolytus' testimony that the Quartodecimans were heretics, and then certain canons were passed condemning Quartodecimanism as a heresy.
We can fix that. We will just declare whatever day the Paschal Moon falls Sunday. I mean, if it doesn't matter if it has any relationship to the real earth rotating on its axis towards the real sun while orbiting it, why not?  If we can declare the equinox on a day when real night and real day are not equal, why can't we just make any day Sunday on a as needed basis?

Jonathan Gress said:
It seems you like to pick certain examples out of context, just as you do when you refer to Nicea for the idea that astronomical accuracy is important, but conveniently ignore their even more significant concern with establishing unity in festal celebrations across the Church.
Divorcing unity from accuracy is how for centuries after Nicea, not all Churches were still not on the same date.  You insist on unity on error.  Not the mind of the Fathers.

Jonathan Gress said:
I consider membership of the WCC as ipso facto participation in heresy,
That's nice: Who are you?

Jonathan Gress said:
not only because of the heretical ecclesiological opinions found in the founding documents of the WCC, like the Toronto statement, but also later on, when the Orthodox members started to sign off on the various heretical statements of different WCC assemblies (starting I think with the 1968 assembly). But we've gone over these issues before.
Really?  I don't recall....
Jonathan Gress said:
I think the correlation is very suggestive of a causal relationship:
LOL.  Yes, your ideas of cause and effect are suggestive.  Not at all factual, but suggestive.

Jonathan Gress said:
the new calendar was introduced amid discussions of using the reform as one tool in the program of reuniting with the Westerners, and lo and behold, the same churches that adopted the new calendar were the first to enter into full participation in Ecumenism through the WCC.
Jerusalem was (on the Old Calendar last I checked) a member of the WCC from the very beginning, while Romania (on the New Calendar since its introduction practically) didn't join until Russia did.

Jonathan Gress said:
The remaining Old Calendar churches that stayed in communion with them followed suit, once their communist masters decided that the WCC could be used as a tool for their foreign policy (previously they denounced the WCC as an imperialist front). If you wanted to persuade me that the New Calendar had nothing to do with ecumenism, it would help your case if it were the Old Calendarist churches that ended up preaching Ecumenism.
You would help your case if the various Old Calendarist Churches were at least in communion with each other.

Jonathan Gress said:
By the way, if you want a good clip of Patriarch Bartholomew solemnly declaring ex cathedra (;)) that the RC and EO are "sister churches", check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XiHOUg1UqM&feature=share

I don't understand why you think that the whole history of the Church since the First Ecumenical Council just doesn't count.
LOL.  You seem to think the Church stopped after the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Or perhaps 1917.

Jonathan Gress said:
Sure, astronomical accuracy was a concern in the 4th century, and this is no doubt the concern behind those like Nicephorus Gregoras in the 14th century when they proposed reform. But there's obviously much more to the question than just accuracy, if you bother to consider the fact that the Church decided not to change in the 14th century,
you have the text of that "decision"?

Jonathan Gress said:
even before there was any association of the reformed calendar with either Papism or Ecumenism.
and yet you insist that it is associated with the Vatican and "Ecumenism."
 

ialmisry

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PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Well, for the importance of uniformity you could, I suppose, refer to the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, unless you only want to appeal to them to justify the calendar change.
And I suppose for the importance of not breaking communion over the lack of uniformity one could look at the Church's rebuke of Pope St. Victor in A.D. 190.

Jonathan Gress said:
For the inescapable connection between the calendar change and ecumenism, you could try this highly scientific experiment. Let our hypothesis be that Local Churches which adopt the new calendar are more likely to join the World Council of Churches. We can add another hypothesis, namely that Local Churches that do not adopt the new calendar, but which remain in communion with the new calendarist churches, are also more likely to join the World Council of Churches. I'd be interested to see your findings.
You are aware that correlation does not prove causation? Besides, since when has membership in the World Council of Churches been de facto participation in false ecumenism?

Jonathan Gress said:
Sorry I missed your point about somebody in the West noticing the discrepancy between the calendar and solar equinoxes. Looking at Fr Basil's book, however, I see a mention of a proposed calendar change as early as 1324, exactly 600 years before the reform in Greece. Now it seems to me that if the Church really cared as much about astronomical accuracy as you like to think, She would have executed the reform long before that time.
1. Why do you trust Fr. Basil Sakkas' history of the calendar question?
2. The Church DID consider astronomical accuracy important enough to reform the calendar, or at least to make such accuracy the bedrock for the reforms She made... almost a whole millennium before 1324!

Jonathan Gress said:
No the Western heretics are not wrong in everything. But they're still wrong, and that makes changing the calendar just to conform to them a bad idea.
From what I've read of the 1923 deliberations over calendar reform, I would be dishonest to not recognize that conformity with the West was not a motivation behind the calendar change, but I think it equally dishonest to call it the only motivation. Besides, you're only addressing the formulation of the Revised Julian Calendar and its introduction to the Church. What about the various churches that eventually adopted the New Calendar? Did they adopt the Calendar merely to conform with the West?
That's a good example about Pope St Victor. But from what I remember about that controversy, the different opinions of Pope Victor and St Irenaeus and the rest of the Church represented an earlier stage of that controversy. Later on there's pretty good evidence that the Church ended up treating variations in Paschal observances as anathema, viz. St Hippolytus' testimony that the Quartodecimans were heretics, and then certain canons were passed condemning Quartodecimanism as a heresy. It seems you like to pick certain examples out of context, just as you do when you refer to Nicea for the idea that astronomical accuracy is important, but conveniently ignore their even more significant concern with establishing unity in festal celebrations across the Church.
No, not really. I do acknowledge that the Church has, since 190, condemned the Quartodeciman heresy and excommunicated all those who adhere to it. However, my point is that it took a council of universal authority to make this proclamation (Nicea I). We have not yet had a universal council to proclaim the New Calendar anathema, so I think we're more in the position the Church was in 190. This means, to me then, that your Old Calendarist churches have acted prematurely to break communion with the New Calendarists and therefore merit the same rebuke that St. Irenaeus and many other bishops gave Pope St. Victor.

Jonathan Gress said:
I consider membership of the WCC as ipso facto participation in heresy, not only because of the heretical ecclesiological opinions found in the founding documents of the WCC, like the Toronto statement, but also later on, when the Orthodox members started to sign off on the various heretical statements of different WCC assemblies (starting I think with the 1968 assembly). But we've gone over these issues before. I think the correlation is very suggestive of a causal relationship: the new calendar was introduced amid discussions of using the reform as one tool in the program of reuniting with the Westerners, and lo and behold, the same churches that adopted the new calendar were the first to enter into full participation in Ecumenism through the WCC. The remaining Old Calendar churches that stayed in communion with them followed suit, once their communist masters decided that the WCC could be used as a tool for their foreign policy (previously they denounced the WCC as an imperialist front). If you wanted to persuade me that the New Calendar had nothing to do with ecumenism, it would help your case if it were the Old Calendarist churches that ended up preaching Ecumenism.

By the way, if you want a good clip of Patriarch Bartholomew solemnly declaring ex cathedra (;)) that the RC and EO are "sister churches", check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XiHOUg1UqM&feature=share

I don't understand why you think that the whole history of the Church since the First Ecumenical Council just doesn't count.
Did I ever say that, or are you just putting words in my mouth?

Jonathan Gress said:
Sure, astronomical accuracy was a concern in the 4th century, and this is no doubt the concern behind those like Nicephorus Gregoras in the 14th century when they proposed reform. But there's obviously much more to the question than just accuracy, if you bother to consider the fact that the Church decided not to change in the 14th century, even before there was any association of the reformed calendar with either Papism or Ecumenism.
And there's probably much more to the rejection of the calendar reforms proposed by Nicephorus Gregoras than just an indifference to astronomical accuracy, but how can we know this merely by reading a polemical work by Fr. Basil Sakkas? Not knowing exactly why Gregoras's proposed reform was rejected, your claim of indifference can only be recognized as conjecture.
For one thing, his patron, Andronicus II Palaeologus, was dethroned shortly (two years at most) after Nicephoros presented his treatise on the reform, Paschalium Correctum (which is still intact, and can be read: maybe it would clear things up in this matter).
 

ialmisry

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Jonathan Gress said:
I don't think your argument that it requires a universal council to determine these things holds water. St Hippolytus described the Quartodecimans as heretics in the 3rd century, well before Nicea, and there's plenty of evidence throughout Church history that the Fathers and local councils had authority to condemn heresy before an Ecumenical or Pan-Orthodox council was convened to address the question. Local Councils such as that of 1935 which condemned the State Church for changing the calendar unilaterally were within their rights.
Odd how you inist on that right, and yet you deny it to the Churches who have adopted the New Calendar, and those on the Old Calendar in communion with them.

Jonathan Gress said:
In any case, the Church had already condemned the new calendar in Pan-Orthodox synods before 1924. That this was considered to be the position of the Church is shown by, for instance, Abp Chrysostom's own admission as late as 1923 (see my earlier post), so that the accusations of forgery (which only apply to the 1583 decision in any case, not those of 1587 or 1593) lose force.
Any signature of the Russian Metropolitan?  Bulgarian patriarch/Archbishop?  Serbian Patriarch? on these "Pan-Orthodox Synods"?

Jonathan Gress said:
The Church never changed the calendar.
Of course she has.  That is how you got the bee in your bonnet.

Jonathan Gress said:
That is proof that the Church has not up to this point cared about changing the calendar for any reason, whether accuracy, Papism or Ecumenism.
So you keep on asserting, without any proof. Amazing you don't trust the very words of the Fathers explaining their actions, but claim to know what the Church's silence means.

Jonathan Gress said:
That shows that the desire of some individual Local Church to change the calendar without the agreement of the whole Church is without foundation and violates the unity of the Church.
Facts only, please.  You are way over your assertion quota.

Jonathan Gress said:
Note that I am not saying no one in the Church ever cared about astronomical accuracy. What I am saying is that there is no evidence that the Church as a whole considered accuracy so important that She needed to change the calendar.
Nicea I
Jonathan Gress said:
The only evidence that would satisfy me is if the Church actually did change the calendar, but She didn't.
then you have nothing to argue then, do you?
 

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I just wanted to chime in here with a few comments after seeing some of the recent additions to this thread, though I don’t have the time to directly respond to everything stated.  Of interest to me in this discussion is not the astronomical question of “which calendar is scientifically better”, but rather with the claims of the Old Calendarists who say, among other things, that those who have adopted the New Calendar are “under anathema” and outside of the Church.  I’m sure most here agree that the unilateral adoption of the New Calendar by individual local churches, and the subsequent liturgical disunity which resulted, has not been good for the Church.  I’m sure most here would also lament the fact that this change resulted in the formation of schismatic Old Calendarist groups in some local churches, regardless of how unjustifiable such schisms are canonically.  I personally think that the Old Calendar is “better” in that prior to the 20th century all Orthodox churches celebrated Pascha and all of the major feasts together on it, whereas today they only celebrate Pascha together.  Who does not lament this fact?  I think all local Orthodox churches should return to the Old Calendar unless and until such a time that a change can be made together by all local churches to a calendar which respects and maintains the current relationship between the Paschalion and Menologion while also adhering to the decisions of the First Ecumenical Council regarding the common celebration of Pascha.  With that said, I would like to briefly touch upon a few of the Old Calendarist assertions that have resurfaced in recent postings:

1. The calendar change was primarily driven by Patriarch Meletios
2. Patriarch Meletios was a notorious Freemason and Ecumenist, and the primary reason for the calendar change was to foster unity with the heterodox
3. The calendar change hastened Ecumenism
4. Patriarch Meletios and others who adopted the New Calendar cared more about unity with the heterodox than with the other Orthodox
5. Those who adopted the New Calendar “fell under” the anathemas of the 1583, 1587, and 1593 Pan-Orthodox Councils
6. Before the 1923 Pan-Orthodox Congress, Abp Chrysostom of Athens said that a local church could not adopt the New Calendar without being seen as schismatic by the rest, and then proceeded after the 1923 Congress to adopt the New Calendar, thereby becoming schismatic

I find the above points all to be problematic for the following reasons:

1.  The calendar change was primarily driven by Patriarch Meletios

The State Church of Greece was actually the first Synod to propose changing the calendar and this proposal was made prior to the 1923 Congress.  At the Congress, the Metropolitan Iakovos of Dyrrachion, a member of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, reported on this decision of the Holy Synod as follows:

The Synod of Hierarchs of the Church of Greece decides:

“The conclusion of the report of His Beatitude the President is accepted, according to which thirteen days are added to the Julian calendar, absolutely without changing the Paschalion and the Heortologion of the Orthodox Church.  However, if it might come to pass that the Pan-Orthodox Congress which shall be gathered in Constantinople concerning this question might make a decision on another solution for the celebration of Pascha, entirely consistent with the relevant decision of the First Ecumenical Council, the tradition, and the canons of the Church, the Church of Greece will accept it.”


We have over 200 pages of text in English containing the Acts and Decisions of this Congress.  Subcommittees were set up to discuss all aspects of the calendar change, such as the dogmatic and canonical implications of changing the calendar, how local churches might respond to the calendar change, and to examine different proposals for a future calendar that would correct the errors of both the Julian and Gregorian calendars.  If you read these texts, there is much discussion and Patriarch Meletios comes across as a fair and very balanced moderator, rather than as a dictator giving orders.  All participants are allowed to express their views on the subject of the calendar change, and no representatives express objection to the temporary shifting of the Julian by 13 days.  The only objection raised, which was agreed to by all, is that they should not adopt the Gregorian calendar because it is also inaccurate and because Rome would exploit this decision to the harm of the Orthodox.


2.  Patriarch Meletios was a notorious Freemason and Ecumenist, and the primary reason for the calendar change was to foster unity with the heterodox

Patriarch Meletios was a Freemason and an Ecumenist, but unity with the heterodox cannot be said to be the main driver behind the calendar change.  Regarding his ecumenism, his efforts were mostly directed towards the Anglicans.  In the 200+ pages of Acts and Decisions from this Congress, several times the subject of unity with other Christians is mentioned, but always strictly in the context of celebrating Pascha and the Nativity of our Lord on the same dates as other Christians.  I find little in this discussion that is objectionable in itself, and no plan was laid out in the Congress about uniting with others without agreement in matters of faith.  Also, while celebrating Nativity and Pascha at the same time as other Christians was one reason stated for changing the calendar, two other reasons were given that were perhaps much more significant: 1) the fact that all Orthodox lands adopted the Gregorian calendar as its civil calendar and the felt need for the Church calendar to coincide with the civil calendar (the Church was the largest civil organization in Greece), and 2) the concern that Orthodox immigrants in Western lands were not attending services on the Nativity of our Lord and other feast days because the Orthodox feast days did not correspond with Western holidays.  Both points may not be sufficient justifications for the calendar change, but it is important to point out that these were the reasons stated in the 1923 Congress for shifting the Julian by 13 days, and not simply syncretistic ecumenism. 
Furthermore, it is important to recognize the widespread immigration that was occurring at that time, as well as the working conditions that immigrants often found themselves in.  Some of us have little problem celebrating the Nativity of our Lord and other feasts on the Old Calendar because we have stable jobs with vacation time and good benefits, and many of us are able to take vacation and personal time whenever we want to attend special services.  If you are such a situation, it is important to realize that the same was usually not true of the working conditions of newly arrived immigrants in America or other non-Orthodox lands. Orthodox immigrants may also be more vulnerable to proselytism by the heterodox if the Orthodox are not able to get off work for the Orthodox feast days but are able to attend heterodox services on recognized holidays.   

Regarding Patriarch Meletios’ overtures towards the Anglicans, this is important to understand in the context of Patriarch Tikhon’s similar overtures in earlier times, and the general “special relationship” that the Orthodox and Anglicans shared for several centuries prior.  For instance, there were cases in the 1800s of the Serbian Patriarchate allowing Anglicans to receive communion in Orthodox churches without need for conversion.  While such cases are objectionable, probably rare, and certainly were not performed with the acceptance of the entire Orthodox Church, it is nevertheless important to realize that Patriarch Meletios was not alone in such overtures.  Even as late as 1951, the Anglican Bishop of Southwark was invited to stand fully vested in the altar during the consecration of ROCOR’s Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov) in London.  Of course, that such things were done does not mean that such things were justified, but I couldn’t imagine such a thing happening today.  In 1922, Patriarch Meletios issues an encyclical acknowledging Anglican orders, but to his credit he sent the encyclical to the other autocephalous Orthodox churches for a response.  The Patriarch of Jerusalem agreed with the encyclical and the Church of Cyprus responded stating:

”inasmuch as clergy entering the bosom of the Orthodox Church from these churches [Roman Catholic, Armenian, Old Catholic] are received without re-ordination, we declare our judgment that the same should hold good in the case of Anglicans; while intercommunion by which any person would be able indiscriminately to receive the Sacraments at the hands of an Anglican, even though he adhere to Orthodox dogma, is reserved until such time as dogmatic union between the two Churches, Orthodox and Anglican, is brought about.”

Patriarch Meletios’ encyclical, then, is seen as acknowledging Anglican orders upon the reception of Anglican clergy into the Orthodox Church, and not as recognition of their orders per se.  Today, there is no such optimism regarding the Anglicans and Orthodox. 


3.  The calendar change hastened Ecumenism

If this was the intent, it was a miserable failure.  We are quickly approaching 90 years since the adoption of the New Calendar, and we have yet to see a heretical union between the Orthodox Church and any heterodox body.  Syncretistic ecumenism reached a peak in the 1960s through the overtures towards Rome of Patriarch Athenagoras (more than 40 years after the calendar change), but the Ecumenism under subsequent Constantinople patriarchs have neither matched nor exceeded that of Patriarch Athenagoras.  Celebrating feasts at the “same time” as heterodox has only very rarely led to any kind of joint or ecumenical service comprising Orthodox and heterodox clergy.  The rare “Ecumenical Vespers” has lamentably occurred, but such instances seem very rare and amount to very little in the way of “Ecumenical progress”.  Most Orthodox people probably have never heard of an “Ecumenical Vespers”, and those self-proclaimed “True Orthodox” and “Anti-Ecumenism” news websites that are set up precisely to expose such things have a hard time digging up more than a handful of such events every year in the entire Orthodox world.  Since the fall of Communism, and the greater involvement of the Russian Church in the ecumenical movement to counter the influence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, if anything the pace towards some kind of false union has been greatly decreased, if not abandoned altogether (if there ever was much of a movement towards a false union in the first place).  I could not imagine an Anglican bishop standing fully vested in the altar with ROCOR bishops today as took place at the consecration of ROCOR’s Bishop Vitaly (Ustinov) in 1951, for instance. 


4.  Patriarch Meletios and others who adopted the New Calendar cared more about unity with the heterodox than with the other Orthodox

If you read the Acts and Decisions from the 1923 Congress you will see that this is the exact opposite of the truth.  If he did not care about the unity of the Orthodox Church, why did he labor so much towards convening a future Pan-Orthodox Council to resolve various serious matters of Pan-Orthodox concern?  Why did he consult with the other Orthodox churches before changing the calendar?  While the adoption of the New Calendar did have unfortunate results, it is very clear that Patriarch Meletios cared more about the unity of the Orthodox Church than did the Old Calendarists.  Whereas Patriarch Meletios first consulted with the other Orthodox churches before changing the calendar, the Old Calendarists responded to the calendar change in Greece by unilaterally condemning the entire Church of Greece as schismatic and devoid of the grace of the Holy Spirit in its mysteries without even consulting with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem or any other local church which had remained on the Old Calendar at that time.  Also, it is important to note that the shifting of the Julian by 13 days was seen as a temporary measure to harmonize the church and civil calendars until such a time that the Patriarch of Constantinople could work towards the universal adoption of a more perfect calendar.  So, with this in view, any liturgical disunity among Orthodox which resulted from different calendars was to be overcome eventually.  This view was mistaken, but it is nevertheless important to understand.  When Met Anastassy of ROCOR asked in Session Four of the 1923 Congress what would happen of some local Orthodox churches did not adopt the recommended calendar change, Patriarch Meletios responded by stating that such a decision would be unfortunate but should not result in the breaking of communion between churches.  Patriarch Meletios further emphasized in his response to Met Anastassy that ideally a decision regarding the calendar change would be made together, unanimously, by all local Orthodox churches rather than unilaterally.  Unfortunately, decisions to change the calendar were made unilaterally after the Congress rather than unanimously as Patriarch Meletios had hoped.   


5.  Those who adopted the New Calendar “fell under” the anathemas of the 1583, 1587, and 1593 Pan-Orthodox Councils

The 16th century councils were called in response to the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar by Rome, and Rome’s insistence that the Orthodox Church and the whole world likewise adopt the Gregorian.  In a previous post I dealt with the codex of the 1583 Pan-Orthodox Council and the forged “Sigillion” of the monk Jacob of New Skete (codex 772), namely the false insertion of the anathema against the Gregorian Menologion and the monk Jacob’s (Iakovos’) creation of the illegitimate Sigillion in general.  Various documents and letters from the time of the 16th century councils indicate that the primary objection to the Gregorian Calendar was the change of the Paschalion which contradicted the First Ecumenical Council.  In the previous post on this subject, however, I also mentioned (as did Met Cyprian of Oreoi in his article) that even if the Gregorian Paschalion and Menologion were individually anathematized by these councils, this would still not have any applicability to the adoption of the New Calendar by some local churches for the reason that the Gregorian Menologion and the New Calendar Menologion are not the same.  While Old Calendarists may ridicule this assertion since the Gregorian and Revised Julian calendars currently agree (except for the Paschalion), and the difference between them only amounts to about 24 seconds, this difference was not a small point for those who participated in the 1923 Pan-Orthodox Congress.  In several instances in the Congress, Patriarch Meletios and the other participants clearly stated that they would not give any consideration to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar precisely because 1) Rome would use this fact for its own propaganda and the exploitation of the Orthodox, and 2) both the Gregorian and the Julian calendars were inaccurate scientifically.  Regarding Rome, the concern of the 1923 Congress was that if they adopted the Gregorian calendar Rome would use this fact to assert its authority and attempt to subjugate Orthodox through the Unia.  Regarding the inaccuracy of the Gregorian, Patriarch Meletios wanted to propose to the League of Nations an altogether new calendar and Paschalian that all Christians could agree with scientifically and canonically.  While we can say this ambition was misguided, it was very clear that Patriarch Meletios’ proposal was intended both to foster unity with the non-Orthodox, but *also* to enhance the prominence of the Orthodox Church before all Christians.  He wanted the Orthodox Church to be seen by all Christians as the leader of all Christians and the criterion and foundation of unity.  The participants in the 1923 Congress agreed to *not* adopt the Gregorian but to rather temporarily shift the Julian by 13 days to bring the Church and civil calendars into harmony until such a time that the Orthodox Church can lead the formulation and adoption of an altogether new calendar that the whole world would wish to adopt. 

Interestingly, neither the 1920 Patriarchal Encyclical, nor the 16th century Pan-Orthodox Councils were mentioned or referred to in all of the Acts and Decisions of the 1923 Congress.  The only explanation I have for not referring to the 16th century Pan-Orthodox Councils is that these dealt with the Gregorian Calendar and none of the Orthodox churches were even considering adopting the Gregorian calendar at the 1923 Congress, and perhaps the 16th century councils were not considered to be “Pan-Orthodox” by all participants in the Congress.


6.  Before the 1923 Pan-Orthodox Congress, Abp Chrysostom of Athens said that a local church could not adopt the New Calendar without being seen as schismatic by the rest, and then proceeded after the 1923 Congress to adopt the New Calendar, thereby becoming schismatic

In a letter from a monk of Holy Transfiguration Monastery concerning the calendar change, which Jonathan referenced above, the assertion was made that Abp Chrysostom of Athens initially said that one local church could not adopt the New Calendar without being seen as schismatic by the rest, and this is used to assert that the Church of Greece then became schismatic after adopting the New Calendar.  Abp Chrysostom’s initial remarks, however, were made to the Synod of the Church in Greece to the effect that if the State Church of Greece unilaterally changed the calendar without consulting other local churches, other local churches would view the State Church of Greece as having committed a schismatic act.  This is not at all the same as saying the Church of Greece would actually *become* schismatic by adopting a new calendar.  As was mentioned before, the Synod of the Church of Greece was the first Synod to make a proposal regarding the calendar change.  In preparation for the 1923 Congress, Patriarch Meletios sent out a letter to the other Patriarchs to invite representatives from these churches to the Congress and to understand the views of the other local churches regarding this proposal to change the calendar.  While some of the patriarchates did not participate in the Congress, and some (particularly Jerusalem) said they would not be changing the calendar regardless of what was decided at the Congress, nevertheless all of the Patriarchates stated that the shifting of the Julian calendar by 13 days by any local Orthodox church would not create an impediment to communion with the other Orthodox churches.  The 1923 Congress did not claim to have the authority of a Pan-Orthodox Council and therefore made no decisions of a binding nature.  Rather, they formed a “consultation” representing several local churches which made a series of proposals to be considered and adopted by the various local churches at their discretion.  It seems that most of the proposals from the Congress were not adopted by most local churches, but the adoption of the New Calendar by the Church of Greece cannot be said to be entirely unilateral since this decision was only enacted after confirming through the 1923 Congress that other local churches would not break off communion with them for shifting the calendar by 13 days.  This was still unfortunately somewhat unilateral, however, since the Church of Greece did wait to see how the other churches would respond to the recommendations of the Congress. 

Another interesting aspect to this issue is that in 1935 (11 years after the calendar change), when three hierarchs broke off from the Church of Greece to lead the Old Calendarists, they specifically stated that they refused to follow the New Calendar because they did not want to be viewed by the other patriarchates (Jerusalem, Antioch, Serbia, etc.) as schismatic.  As I have mentioned before, ironically when one of these Old Calendarist hierarchs (Met Chrysostom of Florina) went to the Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1937 hoping that the Patriarch would support the cause of the Old Calendarists, the Patriarch would not acknowledge Met Chrysostom as a bishop since the Church of Greece deposed him for going into schism from his Synod.  So, the Church of Greece, after adopting the New Calendar, remained in communion with the Old Calendar Patriarchates, whereas the Old Calendarists actually became viewed as schismatics by the Old Calendar patriarchates.

The above comments, while long, are not intended to be entirely comprehensive, but I thought it might be beneficial to give some attention to the 1923 Congress and certain misconceptions associated with it and the subsequent calendar change.  To reiterate, the manner in which the New Calendar was adopted unilaterally by individual Orthodox churches was very problematic and created unnecessary conflict and disunity, though prior to such changes the churches agreed that communion would not be interrupted by such a change.  I would personally like to see all Orthodox churches come to agreement on one liturgical calendar which maintains intact the complex cycles of the Old Calendar Paschalian and Menologion, which respects and adheres to the decisions of the First Ecumenical Council regarding the celebration of Pascha, and which allows Orthodox Christians to celebrate the same Feast more than once a year.  The Gregorian is problematic, as is the Revised Julian, so either a return to the Old Calendar (the logical choice) or the development of an entirely new calendar is needed.
 

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jah777 said:
I just wanted to chime in here with a few comments after seeing some of the recent additions to this thread, though I don’t have the time to directly respond to everything stated.   Of interest to me in this discussion is not the astronomical question of “which calendar is scientifically better”, but rather with the claims of the Old Calendarists who say, among other things, that those who have adopted the New Calendar are “under anathema” and outside of the Church.  I’m sure most here agree that the unilateral adoption of the New Calendar by individual local churches, and the subsequent liturgical disunity which resulted, has not been good for the Church.  I’m sure most here would also lament the fact that this change resulted in the formation of schismatic Old Calendarist groups in some local churches, regardless of how unjustifiable such schisms are canonically.  I personally think that the Old Calendar is “better” in that prior to the 20th century all Orthodox churches celebrated Pascha and all of the major feasts together on it, whereas today they only celebrate Pascha together.  Who does not lament this fact?  I think all local Orthodox churches should return to the Old Calendar unless and until such a time that a change can be made together by all local churches to a calendar which respects and maintains the current relationship between the Paschalion and Menologion while also adhering to the decisions of the First Ecumenical Council regarding the common celebration of Pascha.  With that said, I would like to briefly touch upon a few of the Old Calendarist assertions that have resurfaced in recent postings:

1. The calendar change was primarily driven by Patriarch Meletios
2. Patriarch Meletios was a notorious Freemason and Ecumenist, and the primary reason for the calendar change was to foster unity with the heterodox
3. The calendar change hastened Ecumenism
4. Patriarch Meletios and others who adopted the New Calendar cared more about unity with the heterodox than with the other Orthodox
5. Those who adopted the New Calendar “fell under” the anathemas of the 1583, 1587, and 1593 Pan-Orthodox Councils
6. Before the 1923 Pan-Orthodox Congress, Abp Chrysostom of Athens said that a local church could not adopt the New Calendar without being seen as schismatic by the rest, and then proceeded after the 1923 Congress to adopt the New Calendar, thereby becoming schismatic

I find the above points all to be problematic for the following reasons:

...
Thank you, jah777, for your very thorough and balanced response to this debate.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Local Councils such as that of 1935 which condemned the State Church for changing the calendar unilaterally were within their rights.
Not at all, Jonathan.  The “Local Council of 1935” consisted of 3 bishops (Met Chrysostom of Florina, Met Germanus of Demetrias, and Metropolitan Chrysostom of Zakynthos).  Can you think of another authoritative local council that consisted of only three bishops in the entire history of the Church?  Furthermore, one of those bishops (Met Chrysostom of Zakynthos) immediately returned to the New Calendar Church of Greece in 1935 after a brief period of exile.  In 1937, just two years after this great “local council”, Met Chrysostom of Florina and Met Germanus of Demetrias said that the great “Council of 1935” was wrong and that they had no authority to declare the whole Church of Greece to be in schism.  In 1938, Mets Chrysostom and Germanus then requested that the New Calendar Church of Greece receive them both back as hierarchs of the Church of Greece.  Their petitions were rejected, but when a schism developed between Met Chrysostom and Germanus, and then Met Germanus reposed, he was buried by the New Calendar Church of Greece in 1944 in honor of his 1938 petition.  Met Chrysostom eventually died alone, unable to get the Church of Greece to receive him back as a bishop, and unwilling to consecrate more bishops to perpetuate the schism he created.  To think that the Holy Spirit was guiding the failed and cacadox (in Met Chrysostom of Florina’s later words) so-called “council” is ludicrous.  May God protect us all from whatever spirit was guiding this council. 
 

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jah777's Reply No. 1605 clarifies so much of the misinformation that is believed by many on both sides of the calendar issue in the Orthodox Church.  It is a long comment, but those who are interested in this topic should make note of it and make time to read and study it.
 

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There is much of merit in the post that you refer to - that Patriarch Meletios followed the Greek State Church etc.  In relation to the issue of the alleged benefits of the astronomical 'accuracy' of the new calendar I find this an interesting commentary:

HOWEVER:
THE ISSUE OF ACCURACY:THE OLD CALENDAR IS SUPPOSED TO BE ASTRONOMICALLY INACCURATE, AND THE NEW CALENDAR FIXES THIS
Observations: All calendars are inherently astronomically inaccurate. The Holy Fathers who established the Church Calendar knew perfectly well that assigning the vernal equinox to a fixed date was astronomically inaccurate. Yet, they went ahead and did this.

The so-called "Revised Julian Calendar" is fundamentally flawed. By maintaining the traditional Paschalion while changing the fixed calendar, the Typicon goes out the window. The Apostles’ Fast is severely shortened, or even ends before it begins in certain years. Over the centuries, according to the "Revised Julian Calendar," the date of Pascha will gradually slip forward into the fixed year, so that Pascha (and all the moveable feasts) will eventually coincide with the Feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the Transfiguration, with the Dormition, and even with the Nativity (the last will happen in about thirty-five thousand years, so you may say, "What’s the big deal?"; but it will occur).

In fact, astronomers cannot use the Gregorian calendar for their calculations, since it is "missing" the ten days that were "skipped" in 1583. Computer programmers, moreover, always make their calculations of the distance between dates by using the "Julian date." Copernicus, among other astronomers, was also adamantly opposed to the Gregorian Calendar reform. Let us incidentally note, in this vein, that the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences at the beginning of this century found no scientific or astronomical reasons for adopting the Gregorian Calendar. [For more on this see A Scientific Examination of the Orthodox Church Calendar, by Hieromonk Cassian.]

Finally, as I will point out subsequently, astronomical accuracy was absolutely not one of the reasons that the calendar change was introduced by Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis in 1924.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/calendar_faq.aspx
 

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SubdeaconDavid said:
There is much of merit in the post that you refer to - that Patriarch Meletios followed the Greek State Church etc.  In relation to the issue of the alleged benefits of the astronomical 'accuracy' of the new calendar I find this an interesting commentary:

HOWEVER:
THE ISSUE OF ACCURACY:THE OLD CALENDAR IS SUPPOSED TO BE ASTRONOMICALLY INACCURATE, AND THE NEW CALENDAR FIXES THIS
Observations: All calendars are inherently astronomically inaccurate. The Holy Fathers who established the Church Calendar knew perfectly well that assigning the vernal equinox to a fixed date was astronomically inaccurate. Yet, they went ahead and did this.

The so-called "Revised Julian Calendar" is fundamentally flawed. By maintaining the traditional Paschalion while changing the fixed calendar, the Typicon goes out the window. The Apostles’ Fast is severely shortened, or even ends before it begins in certain years. Over the centuries, according to the "Revised Julian Calendar," the date of Pascha will gradually slip forward into the fixed year, so that Pascha (and all the moveable feasts) will eventually coincide with the Feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the Transfiguration, with the Dormition, and even with the Nativity (the last will happen in about thirty-five thousand years, so you may say, "What’s the big deal?"; but it will occur).

In fact, astronomers cannot use the Gregorian calendar for their calculations, since it is "missing" the ten days that were "skipped" in 1583. Computer programmers, moreover, always make their calculations of the distance between dates by using the "Julian date." Copernicus, among other astronomers, was also adamantly opposed to the Gregorian Calendar reform. Let us incidentally note, in this vein, that the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences at the beginning of this century found no scientific or astronomical reasons for adopting the Gregorian Calendar. [For more on this see A Scientific Examination of the Orthodox Church Calendar, by Hieromonk Cassian.]

Finally, as I will point out subsequently, astronomical accuracy was absolutely not one of the reasons that the calendar change was introduced by Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis in 1924.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/calendar_faq.aspx
Perhaps I did not emphasize this enough in my comments on the 1923 Congress, but if you read the Acts and Decisions of the Congress it is clear that the Orthodox participants did not want to adopt the Gregorian calendar precisely because 1) if they did adopt the Gregorian then Rome would exploit this fact to the detriment of Orthodoxy, and 2) the Gregorian calendar was also inaccurate .  Shifting the Julian by 13 days to coincide with the Gregorian calendar used by the governments in Greece and the other Orthodox countries was considered a temporary measure until such a time that the Patriarch of Constantinople could propose to the League of Nations an altogether new calendar that was more accurate than the traditional Julian, the Gregorian, and the Revised Julian calendars, and which would be agreeable to all Christians and all nations without violating the canons or the decisions of the First Ecumenical Council.  Now, the desire of the Patriarch of Constantinople to lead the entire Christian world in adopting an altogether new calendar (thereby, in his mind, promoting Orthodoxy as more superior than Rome who created the faulty Gregorian calendar) did not materialize and in hindsight was misguided.  The ambitious search for the “perfect” and “most accurate” calendar was naïve, and in the manner in which the Revised Julian was introduced was problematic and had unfortunate consequences for both the typicon and ecclesiastical peace and unity.  However, it cannot be argued from the documentation we have of the 1923 Congress that the Revised Julian was recommended for its accuracy.       
 

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"Again and again," I write this on "OC.net," PATRIARCH MELETIOS IV DID NOT INTRODUCE THE REVISED JULIAN CALENDAR IN 1924.  He convened the Pan-Orthodox Congress of 1923; he resigned the Ecumenical Throne later that year, in the Fall as I recall.  At the urging of the government of Greece, as expressed by the Primate of the Church of Greece, the Ecumenical Patriarchate implemented the Revised Julian Calendar during the Spring, following His All Holiness' resignation; the Church of Greece followed suit, concurrently.  The Pan Orthodox Congress made recommendations to the Holy Orthodox Churches; it did not have the competence to implement any changes for the church and so stated during its deliberations.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Thank you, jah777, for your very thorough and balanced response to this debate.
Basil 320 said:
jah777's Reply No. 1605 clarifies so much of the misinformation that is believed by many on both sides of the calendar issue in the Orthodox Church.  It is a long comment, but those who are interested in this topic should make note of it and make time to read and study it.
Just want to add my "AMEN!"
 

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SubdeaconDavid said:
There is much of merit in the post that you refer to - that Patriarch Meletios followed the Greek State Church etc.  In relation to the issue of the alleged benefits of the astronomical 'accuracy' of the new calendar I find this an interesting commentary:

HOWEVER:
THE ISSUE OF ACCURACY:THE OLD CALENDAR IS SUPPOSED TO BE ASTRONOMICALLY INACCURATE, AND THE NEW CALENDAR FIXES THIS
Observations: All calendars are inherently astronomically inaccurate. The Holy Fathers who established the Church Calendar knew perfectly well that assigning the vernal equinox to a fixed date was astronomically inaccurate. Yet, they went ahead and did this.
I see this repeated a lot, but I have never seen it squared with the designation by the Fathers of Alexandria calculating the Paschalion, because of the accuracy of its astronomers.
 

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SubdeaconDavid said:
There is much of merit in the post that you refer to - that Patriarch Meletios followed the Greek State Church etc.  In relation to the issue of the alleged benefits of the astronomical 'accuracy' of the new calendar I find this an interesting commentary:

HOWEVER:
THE ISSUE OF ACCURACY:THE OLD CALENDAR IS SUPPOSED TO BE ASTRONOMICALLY INACCURATE, AND THE NEW CALENDAR FIXES THIS
Observations: All calendars are inherently astronomically inaccurate. The Holy Fathers who established the Church Calendar knew perfectly well that assigning the vernal equinox to a fixed date was astronomically inaccurate. Yet, they went ahead and did this.

The so-called "Revised Julian Calendar" is fundamentally flawed. By maintaining the traditional Paschalion while changing the fixed calendar, the Typicon goes out the window. The Apostles’ Fast is severely shortened, or even ends before it begins in certain years. Over the centuries, according to the "Revised Julian Calendar," the date of Pascha will gradually slip forward into the fixed year, so that Pascha (and all the moveable feasts) will eventually coincide with the Feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the Transfiguration, with the Dormition, and even with the Nativity (the last will happen in about thirty-five thousand years, so you may say, "What’s the big deal?"; but it will occur).
This old canard again. ::) This isn't the fault of the Revised Julian Calendar per se. This is the fault of our decision to adopt the Revised Julian Menologion while continuing to hold to the Old Julian Paschalion. Adopt the Revised Julian Menologion AND Paschalion, and this problem goes away. Hey, we would even get our Kyriopascha back!

In fact, astronomers cannot use the Gregorian calendar for their calculations, since it is "missing" the ten days that were "skipped" in 1583. Computer programmers, moreover, always make their calculations of the distance between dates by using the "Julian date."
I can assure you, though, from my background in computer programming that this is certainly NOT because of a desire for accuracy. Additionally, the "Julian date" really has little to do with the Julian Calendar.

Copernicus, among other astronomers, was also adamantly opposed to the Gregorian Calendar reform. Let us incidentally note, in this vein, that the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences at the beginning of this century found no scientific or astronomical reasons for adopting the Gregorian Calendar. [For more on this see A Scientific Examination of the Orthodox Church Calendar, by Hieromonk Cassian.]
You do realize that we never adopted the Gregorian Calendar? It doesn't matter that you see no difference between the Revised Julian and Gregorian calendars. The simple fact is that there IS a difference and the fact that you so quickly dismiss this difference as insignificant simply shows how quick your side is to dismiss the other side's arguments in favor of your own polemic.

Finally, as I will point out subsequently, astronomical accuracy was absolutely not one of the reasons that the calendar change was introduced by Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis in 1924.
BS! As our very balanced jah777 pointed out in his critique.
 

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jah777 said:
Perhaps I did not emphasize this enough in my comments on the 1923 Congress, but if you read the Acts and Decisions of the Congress it is clear that the Orthodox participants did not want to adopt the Gregorian calendar precisely because 1) if they did adopt the Gregorian then Rome would exploit this fact to the detriment of Orthodoxy,....       
how would Rome exploit the adoption of the Gregorian calendar to the detriment of Orthodoxy? The Protestant world and the Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu world use the Gregorian calendar. How has Rome exploited this to the detriment of the Chinese or others?
 

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stanley123 said:
jah777 said:
Perhaps I did not emphasize this enough in my comments on the 1923 Congress, but if you read the Acts and Decisions of the Congress it is clear that the Orthodox participants did not want to adopt the Gregorian calendar precisely because 1) if they did adopt the Gregorian then Rome would exploit this fact to the detriment of Orthodoxy,....      
how would Rome exploit the adoption of the Gregorian calendar to the detriment of Orthodoxy? The Protestant world and the Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu world use the Gregorian calendar. How has Rome exploited this to the detriment of the Chinese or others?
The Chinese, Buddhist, and Hindu worlds aren't even Christian, so I don't think your question about them is even relevant to our calendar discussion. As to the Protestants, you would actually have to establish that they even care about the calendar as Orthodox traditionally have.
 

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SubdeaconDavid said:
The Holy Fathers who established the Church Calendar knew perfectly well that assigning the vernal equinox to a fixed date was astronomically inaccurate. Yet, they went ahead and did this.
This is not only false, but it is so easily confirmable as false that for anyone who has spent any time in studying the history of the calendar to continue to assert it demonstrates a distinct lack of interest in the truth.

The Fathers of Nicea did not assign the vernal equinox to a fixed date. They simply said 'the vernal equinox'. And we know as a matter of historical record that when they went home from Nicea the day they used to calculate Pascha was the day the vernal equinox was actually occurring in the 4th century and not the 'official' date of the equinox according to the Julian calendar (March 25th, which was already off by a few days at the time of Nicea--and the Fathers used the real date not the official date).

The idea that the Fathers of Nicea and the centuries following didn't care about astronomical accuracy is belied by the fact that there is an entire sub-genre in Patristic literature of writings on how to calculate Pascha. St. Jerome wrote one, St. Bede one, St. Columbanus wrote St. Gregory a letter arguing about why St. Jerome's calculations should be favored over those of Dionysius Exiguus. The works don't get translated much (if at all) because few people in the modern age are interested in 5th century astronomy, but any half-schooled student of early medieval literature can point you to multiple examples. In the centuries following Nicea, Rome used *3* different paschalions before finally settling on using Alexandria's--and every one of those changes was explicitly done because Rome was trying to find the most accurate computation.

Analysis and revision of the Paschalion stopped not because the Fathers didn't care about astronomical accuracy but because the Church in Alexandria broke apart over Chalcedon and then fell under the Muslim yoke--in other words, they had more important things to worry about than maintaining their astronomical knowledge and so everybody kept using what Rome and Alexandria were using in the 6th century.

In fact, astronomers cannot use the Gregorian calendar for their calculations, since it is "missing" the ten days that were "skipped" in 1583. Computer programmers, moreover, always make their calculations of the distance between dates by using the "Julian date."
Another falsehood since PetertheAleut is too kind. The 'Julian date' doesn't have 'little' to do with the 'Julian calendar'. It has *nothing* to do with it, as anyone who bothered to check even a basic reference book would know. The 'Julian date' is a way of calculating time that completely ignores months, years, leap-years, and everything else that distinguishes the Julian, Gregorian, or any other calendar. The Julian date is a straight count of days since Jan 1, 4713 BC so that if an astronomer wants to know how long its been since a certain event he doesn't have to keep track of how many leap years (by whatever calendar one is using) might have fallen in between, doesn't have to think 'May 15' and there's 31 days in May so, that's 16 days for that month and then x number of days in June-December for the remainder of that year. He can just know 10,001 days or whatever.

And by the way, the inventor of the 'Julian date'? It was Joseph Scaliger, a Roman Catholic who died in 1609.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
The Chinese, Buddhist, and Hindu worlds aren't even Christian, so I don't think your question about them is even relevant to our calendar discussion. As to the Protestants, you would actually have to establish that they even care about the calendar as Orthodox traditionally have.
Actually, while modern Protestants don't much care, their initial reaction to the Gregorian Calendar reform was much the same as the Orthodox. Initially only Roman Catholic countries adopted the reform. Protestant Europe didn't switch until the 18th century--and in England there were riots about their 'missing days' when it happened.
 

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Wow. This is truly overwhelming. Everything from the heresies of the early church to smoking!

First, a small comment on regicide: Peter III, Ivan VI, Paul I, all in a period of less than 75 years. Regicide has been common for as long as people have allowed themselves to be ruled by kings.

Second, and I apologize if I'm repeating what others have said: Many of the early fathers of the church were outstanding scholars. I'll just mention Jerome, Basil the Great, Augustine, Ambrose, Dionysius, Maximus the Confessor, et al. If they had been exposed to the same evidence that Copernicus, Galileo, and Tycho Brahe saw, to name just a few heretic scientists, I am sure they would have abandoned the Ptolemaic system like a shot. They were highly rational men and would have taken notice of scientific information presented scientifically.

Let us rational sheep do likewise. And let us also pay attention to our spiritual health and not get caught up in arguments that have no solution and are, in any event, beyond our ability to effect any universal outcome. If you prefer the Old Calendar and are certain that it alone contains God's true meaning, then by all means, go to an Old Calendarist Church. If you are equally convinced by the New Calendar, attend a New Calendarist parish. I really don't see what is hard about this. Let the bishops and fanatics slug it out amongst themselves.
 

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Hermogenes said:
Wow. This is truly overwhelming. Everything from the heresies of the early church to smoking!

First, a small comment on regicide: Peter III, Ivan VI, Paul I, all in a period of less than 75 years. Regicide has been common for as long as people have allowed themselves to be ruled by kings.

Second, and I apologize if I'm repeating what others have said: Many of the early fathers of the church were outstanding scholars. I'll just mention Jerome, Basil the Great, Augustine, Ambrose, Dionysius, Maximus the Confessor, et al. If they had been exposed to the same evidence that Copernicus, Galileo, and Tycho Brahe saw, to name just a few heretic scientists, I am sure they would have abandoned the Ptolemaic system like a shot. They were highly rational men and would have taken notice of scientific information presented scientifically.

Let us rational sheep do likewise. And let us also pay attention to our spiritual health and not get caught up in arguments that have no solution and are, in any event, beyond our ability to effect any universal outcome. If you prefer the Old Calendar and are certain that it alone contains God's true meaning, then by all means, go to an Old Calendarist Church. If you are equally convinced by the New Calendar, attend a New Calendarist parish. I really don't see what is hard about this. Let the bishops and fanatics slug it out amongst themselves.
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
 

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The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
 

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Hermogenes said:
Wow. This is truly overwhelming. Everything from the heresies of the early church to smoking!

First, a small comment on regicide: Peter III, Ivan VI, Paul I, all in a period of less than 75 years. Regicide has been common for as long as people have allowed themselves to be ruled by kings.

Second, and I apologize if I'm repeating what others have said: Many of the early fathers of the church were outstanding scholars. I'll just mention Jerome, Basil the Great, Augustine, Ambrose, Dionysius, Maximus the Confessor, et al. If they had been exposed to the same evidence that Copernicus, Galileo, and Tycho Brahe saw, to name just a few heretic scientists, I am sure they would have abandoned the Ptolemaic system like a shot. They were highly rational men and would have taken notice of scientific information presented scientifically.

Let us rational sheep do likewise. And let us also pay attention to our spiritual health and not get caught up in arguments that have no solution and are, in any event, beyond our ability to effect any universal outcome. If you prefer the Old Calendar and are certain that it alone contains God's true meaning, then by all means, go to an Old Calendarist Church. If you are equally convinced by the New Calendar, attend a New Calendarist parish. I really don't see what is hard about this. Let the bishops and fanatics slug it out amongst themselves.
Letting the fanatics steer the ship usually sinks it. Read "Moby Dick."
 

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ialmisry said:
Hermogenes said:
Wow. This is truly overwhelming. Everything from the heresies of the early church to smoking!

First, a small comment on regicide: Peter III, Ivan VI, Paul I, all in a period of less than 75 years. Regicide has been common for as long as people have allowed themselves to be ruled by kings.

Second, and I apologize if I'm repeating what others have said: Many of the early fathers of the church were outstanding scholars. I'll just mention Jerome, Basil the Great, Augustine, Ambrose, Dionysius, Maximus the Confessor, et al. If they had been exposed to the same evidence that Copernicus, Galileo, and Tycho Brahe saw, to name just a few heretic scientists, I am sure they would have abandoned the Ptolemaic system like a shot. They were highly rational men and would have taken notice of scientific information presented scientifically.

Let us rational sheep do likewise. And let us also pay attention to our spiritual health and not get caught up in arguments that have no solution and are, in any event, beyond our ability to effect any universal outcome. If you prefer the Old Calendar and are certain that it alone contains God's true meaning, then by all means, go to an Old Calendarist Church. If you are equally convinced by the New Calendar, attend a New Calendarist parish. I really don't see what is hard about this. Let the bishops and fanatics slug it out amongst themselves.
Letting the fanatics steer the ship usually sinks it. Read "Moby Dick."
True enough, but it's a hell of a ride! Literally.
 

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Hermogenes said:
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
There is another factor that you have not factored in--Natural Law, that is, God's ordering of creation. Every calendar is but an attempt to relate God's order or time in human terms. It does not matter whose calendar it is, it only matters which calendar most closely approximates God's time. The problem with proclaiming a particular calendar as a Church calendar is the subordination of Natural Law or God's time to Church practice.
 

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Second Chance said:
Hermogenes said:
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
There is another factor that you have not factored in--Natural Law, that is, God's ordering of creation. Every calendar is but an attempt to relate God's order or time in human terms. It does not matter whose calendar it is, it only matters which calendar most closely approximates God's time. The problem with proclaiming a particular calendar as a Church calendar is the subordination of Natural Law or God's time to Church practice.
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Second Chance said:
Hermogenes said:
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
There is another factor that you have not factored in--Natural Law, that is, God's ordering of creation. Every calendar is but an attempt to relate God's order or time in human terms. It does not matter whose calendar it is, it only matters which calendar most closely approximates God's time. The problem with proclaiming a particular calendar as a Church calendar is the subordination of Natural Law or God's time to Church practice.
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
In the Fourth Century, it was commonly accepted that the Sun and all the stars and planets revolved around the Earth, which was the center of the universe. Whether that system was regarded as sacred or profane, I am saying exactly that the church of 325 AD did not fully understand "natural law." Nor do we. But with regard to the structure of the physical universe, we are several steps ahead of our Fourth Century ancestors.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Second Chance said:
Hermogenes said:
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
There is another factor that you have not factored in--Natural Law, that is, God's ordering of creation. Every calendar is but an attempt to relate God's order or time in human terms. It does not matter whose calendar it is, it only matters which calendar most closely approximates God's time. The problem with proclaiming a particular calendar as a Church calendar is the subordination of Natural Law or God's time to Church practice.
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
I wasn't just "happened." It was the calendar the Empire used.  And even then, the Fathers calculated by the stars, not Caesar's date book.
 

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I think Jason's thoughtful post deserves a thoughtful response, so here is my attempt point by point.

1) It's true that Pat Meletios only called the Council after he knew that the Greek Church under the newly elected Abp Chrysostomos approved of changing the calendar. But as you note later, the synod under Abp Chrysostomos depended a great deal on the patina of legitimacy that Pat Meletios' Council gave to the reform, and indeed it did not take place until after the Council had concluded. As for the Council, since it was so poorly attended, with no official representation from any other Patriarchate, I'm not sure that Pat Meletios' supposed fairmindedness to different opinions counts for much. To all appearances it's only purpose was to be a platform for Pat Meletios to air his own renovationist vision for the Church.

So yes, Pat Meletios was not the direct instigator of the reform in Greece, but he played a crucial role in legitimizing the process for the reformers in the Greek synod, and ultimately it doesn't matter whether one innovator named Meletios or another named Chrysostomos is responsible. What matters is that the spirit behind these reforms was anti-Orthodox.

2) I'm surprised you find nothing objectionable in the desire to celebrate the feasts together with the Western heterodox. The whole problem with that sentiment, as found in the 1920 encyclical by the EP locum tenens, and later found in Pat Meletios' own words, which I quote below, is that it presupposes that the Western heretics are nevertheless part of the Church in some way, so that celebrating together with them furthers the necessary goal of unity. But if the truth is, as the Church teaches, that the Westerners are in no way part of the Church, then celebrating feasts with them does not strengthen the unity of the Church, but rather pushes the Church towards union with heresy.

Pat Meletios wrote to the Church of Greece on Feb 3 1923 that changing the calendar at his forthcoming council was necessary “so as to
further the cause, in this part of the Pan-Christian unity, of the celebration of
the Nativity and Resurrection of Christ on the same day by all those who are
called by the name of the Lord.” But the Westerners are NOT "called by the name of the Lord"! The point about ecumenism is not merely the idea of uniting in communion with those who do not share our faith (although I will show below that in fact this has already happened), but even allowing that not sharing the Orthodox faith does not preclude participating in some way in the grace of the Church.

The two pastoral reasons for calendar change that you mention, such as having the Church calendar match the civil calendar, or making it easier for Orthodox in foreign countries to go to Church on feast days, are I suppose worth mentioning, but even you must allow that such pastoral considerations were not the only ones being put forward by either Constantinople or Greece. In any case, I would personally disagree that having Orthodox celebrate their feasts together with the heterodox, and now fully secularized holidays like Christmas, would aid in preventing apostasy. But even if this were a good reason to change, you can't deny the presence of the ecumenist motivations as well.

The closeness with the Anglicans that you mention does seem to have passed away, although this is presumably more to do with the extreme moral and doctrinal liberalism of the Anglican communion than with a lessening of ecumenist efforts. The Anglicans are so far gone, and this dissolution has occurred so fast, even the most enthusiastic Orthodox ecumenist can't quite pretend that union is worth pursuing. This case is utterly different from e.g. the Roman Catholics, who now enjoy extremely close relations with the EP, as you must be aware.

3) You say what?! Firstly, heretical union has occurred, between the Orthodox in Alexandria with the Copts, and between the Orthodox in Antioch with the Syriac church. The mutual prayer that goes on between the EP and the Vatican (remember 2006? have you even watched the video?) easily matches anything cooked up by Pat Athenagoras. I can only conclude from your third point that you are blind to everything that is going on today in the ecumenical movement. Whether willfully or not, I can't say, of course.

By the way, what is your point each time you bring up the presence of the Anglican bishop at Met Vitaly's consecration? That Met Vitaly approved of ecumenism and therefore we should too? Or isn't the more reasonable interpretation that this was a relatively small slip in the life of a hierarch who was later famous for his vehement opposition to ecumenism, including support for the anathema against ecumenism of 1983?

4) Pat Meletios proceeded with the conference without even any official attendance by other Patriarchates. It doesn't sound like he was really that interested in having them participate. And it doesn't look like the reaction of other churches was as positive as you make out:

"The most important decrees
of the Congress were the decisions to change to the new style [calendar] and
to allow the clergy to marry a second time. The Alexandrian, Antiochian and
Jerusalem Churches did not participate in the Congress, considering its
convening untimely [and Meletius an uncanonical usurper]. But its decrees
were rejected by them as being, according to the expression of the
Alexandrian Patriarch, ‘contrary to the practice, tradition and teaching of our
most Holy Mother Church and presented under the pretext of being slight
modifications, which are probably elicited by the demands of the new dogma
of “Modernism”’ (epistle to the Antiochian Patriarch, 23 June, 1923). The
representatives of the Russian Church Abroad [Archbishops Anastasius and
Alexander], and after them the Council of Bishops, reacted completely
negatively to these reforms."

That was from a history of the event by ROCOR Abp Nicon (Rklitsky), in his biography of Met Anthony (Khrapovitsky).

I think it's reasonable to suppose that Pat Meletios did want pan-Orthodox support (or at least no active opposition) to his reforms, but that doesn't take away from the following facts: his ideas for reform were animated by heretical ecumenism and anti-Orthodox modernism, not love for Orthodox tradition; the other churches' reaction to his council's proposals was overwhelmingly negative, even if a break in communion did not result immediately; whatever the legitimacy of his council's acts, the reform proceeded unilaterally and uncanonically in a small number of individual local churches, as you yourself concede.

After Pat Meletios resigned from the Ecumenical throne, the following Patriarch did indeed wish to consult with the other local churches before agreeing to Abp Chrysostomos' proposed calendar reform. Here is what the Patriarch of Alexandria had to say:

"Your announcement
that, without any real cause or dogmatic or canonical reasons, the brotherly
advice and entreaties of the four Apostolic Thrones has been rejected, and the
‘reform of the calendar’ has taken place, caused us great grief and surprise.
You are in danger of alienating all the Orthodox peoples of the Church.
Therefore I suggest the convening of a council to examine the question.
Taking into consideration the letters from the Churches of Romania and
Serbia, we abide in these things which have been dogmatized in former
Synodal Congresses
, and we reject every addition or any change of the
calendar before the convocation of an Ecumenical Council, which alone is
capable of discussing this question, concerning which Ecumenical Council we
propose a speedy convocation."

This, of course, written on Jan 15 1924, shows that the other Patriarchates did not consider the 1923 congress to have represented or accounted for their opinions, or to have had pan-Orthodox authority.

5) Personally I think the jury's still out on the legitimacy of the 1583 sigillion. As I pointed out before, Met Cyprian's article does not represent new groundbreaking research, but only a regurgitation of old New Calendarist polemics, which were already alluded to in the letter of HTM monastery I cited above. Basically I would not offer an opinion about the authenticity of the sigillion without also reading what Old Calendarists argued in response to the forgery claims back in the 1920s and 1930s. Overall I think it's suspicious that no one claimed forgery before the reform, even Abp Chrysostom when he offered his opinion on the consequences of unilateral calendar reform. Wouldn't that have been the perfect opportunity to point out that the Church had never condemned the Western calendar, or at least the Western menologion?

Given that the 1923 council was not interested in preserving tradition, is it really that surprising they would neglect to mention previous Church decisions that forbad any alteration of the calendar to align with the Western heretics?

6) If the other Local Churches were to view the Church of Greece as schismatic, that means that Abp Chrysostom understood that the Church's voice on the matter of unilaterally changing the calendar was unambiguous enough that other churches could not fail to see that the Greek Church was schismatic. To me Abp Chrysostom's words at the time show that he well understood what the Church had decided.

The opinion of other local churches on whether one church has fallen into schism is valuable, but not essential. For instance, what do you say to the fact that your own ROCOR recognized the Old Calendarists in Greece as the legitimate Church of Greece, consecrating bishops for them? Why does their opinion not count, while the opinion of Jerusalem in 1937 does count? Since there was obviously disagreement and uncertainty among the several jurisdictions as to the implications of the calendar reform in Greece and elsewhere, we can't simply point to what one or other church has said and rely exclusively on that. We have to consider also the evidence for what the whole church had already said about the Gregorian, not only in 1583, but 1587, 1593, 1722, 1827, 1848, 1895, and 1904, and about the declared motivations behind the reform of 1923-4, which are either ecumenist ("we must celebrate together with the Western Christians") or modernist ("we must conform Church practice to secular usage; tradition is worthless if it's not scientifically up-to-date").
 

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And in response to his post about whether the True Orthodox bishops in 1935 had the right to condemn the State Church, I should remind him that there are several examples of local councils making such decisions without being followed by an ecumenical council. For instance, Paul of Samosata was condemned for heresy by a council at Antioch. There was never an ecumenical council addressing the matter, but the local decision has still been accepted by the whole Church. It's just not true that local councils have no authority to condemn heresy or impose anathemas. What is true is that local councils don't necessarily have the same authority, for obvious reasons, as ecumenical ones. There is precedent for local council decisions being later overturned; I'm not sure there is any precedent for ecumenical decisions being later overturned. So that's why, at least among "mainstream" Old Calendarists such as my own jurisdiction, we don't make it a dogma to believe the New Calendarists are without grace. That is just the position of our synod, but it's not generally treated as a matter of faith.
 

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I would be very careful about any wholesale condemnation of others who refer to themselves as Christians, for example the billion-plus Roman Catholics. It seems to me this ought to be left to the One Who judges us all. To me, many adherents of these various churches in the centuries after the formal split were men and women of clear sanctity who were touched by God. I'm not going to write them off because they happened to be born in territory governed by the Bishop of Rome. One of the strongest tendencies I notice among we Orthodox is the tendency to smug superiority. We belong to the True Church, and everyone else is wrong. That lack of humility will lead us nowhere we want to go. Or at least, nowhere we want to end up.

In the Apostolic age, i.e., the church in the years immediately following the original Pentecost, a Christian was someone who believed in the Risen Savior. Period. I consider myself a devout child of the Church, but I do not believe God hates those who are not, nor that he hates those who are not Christians. He doesn't seem to hate me, and I'm about as big a sinner as there is, so I cannot fathom why he would hate really good people who don't happen to be Orthodox. Everything I know about our Triune God tells me that I worship a God of love and mercy. Those of you who are fortunate enough to get to heaven may be very surprised at the demographics. LOL
 

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I think you misunderstand what the True Orthodox are saying. We're not judging the Catholics or Protestants in that we presume to declare whether or not they go to heaven or hell. We're simply acknowledging that their public confession of faith is not Orthodox, and therefore that they cannot be part of the Church.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
I generally try to assume that even when people disagree, they are still doing so in good faith. You are making that increasingly difficult with your willingness to repeat things you should know are false.

Nicea didn't decide on a common Paschalion, much less a common calendar. If it had, there would be some mention of this fact in any of the surviving documents from or about the council. There isn't. The only thing Nicea decided was that Pascha could not be celebrated on the same date as the Jews, had to come after the vernal equinox, and had to be on a Sunday.

If the Fathers had decided on a common calender, the Nestorians, Armenians, and Copts, who all accept Nicea and split from the Church centuries after it, would be using the Julian calendar, rather than continuing to use the same local calendars they have been using since the first century. If they had decided on a common Paschalion, then Rome and Alexandria wouldn't have been using different Paschalions (both of which obeyed the rules of Nicea) for *two* centuries after Nicea. If it had decided on a common Paschalion, there would have been no 'Easter controversy' found in every history of early Medieval England--a controversy which occurred because the Irish missionaries were still using the Western/Roman Paschalion that had been in use in the 5th century when they were evangelized while the Roman missionaries were using the Paschalion Rome had moved to in the 6th century (again, both Paschalions obeyed the rules of Nicea)
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Second Chance said:
Hermogenes said:
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
There is another factor that you have not factored in--Natural Law, that is, God's ordering of creation. Every calendar is but an attempt to relate God's order or time in human terms. It does not matter whose calendar it is, it only matters which calendar most closely approximates God's time. The problem with proclaiming a particular calendar as a Church calendar is the subordination of Natural Law or God's time to Church practice.
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
On the contrary; that is the reason why the date of Pascha is based on God's time, on the astrological phenomenon of the Vernal Equinox. BTW, the Julian calendar per se was not sanctified; time itself was. The two, God's time and the Julian calendar, coincided at that time--that is the only virtue of the Julian Calendar. And, when it no longer reflected God's time, it should have been replaced by another calendar that approximates God's time. Again, it is God's time that is sacred, not the calendar. You see this most clearly in the setting of Nativity on the Winter Solstice--December 25th being a fair approximation. The Old Calendar date in the following month of the following year is a mockery of the principle of the calendar being the srvant and not the master.
 

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witega said:
Jonathan Gress said:
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
I generally try to assume that even when people disagree, they are still doing so in good faith. You are making that increasingly difficult with your willingness to repeat things you should know are false.

Nicea didn't decide on a common Paschalion, much less a common calendar. If it had, there would be some mention of this fact in any of the surviving documents from or about the council. There isn't. The only thing Nicea decided was that Pascha could not be celebrated on the same date as the Jews, had to come after the vernal equinox, and had to be on a Sunday.

If the Fathers had decided on a common calender, the Nestorians, Armenians, and Copts, who all accept Nicea and split from the Church centuries after it, would be using the Julian calendar, rather than continuing to use the same local calendars they have been using since the first century. If they had decided on a common Paschalion, then Rome and Alexandria wouldn't have been using different Paschalions (both of which obeyed the rules of Nicea) for *two* centuries after Nicea. If it had decided on a common Paschalion, there would have been no 'Easter controversy' found in every history of early Medieval England--a controversy which occurred because the Irish missionaries were still using the Western/Roman Paschalion that had been in use in the 5th century when they were evangelized while the Roman missionaries were using the Paschalion Rome had moved to in the 6th century (again, both Paschalions obeyed the rules of Nicea)
Actually I don't accept your point. Even if we grant that you are right that a common observance wasn't immediately enforced at Nicea, we nevertheless can see Nicea as part of a process of uniting the varying calendars of different parts of the Church. There was an unambiguous sense that a common faith should be accompanied by a common observance of the major feasts. Even the decision on when Pascha could not be observed surely shows that the Fathers wished to bring the different observances into line (and away from the observances of the unbelieving Jews). The spirit of the Fathers is to encourage unity, which seems to me the opposite spirit of Abp Chrysostomos and the other calendar reformers.
 

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Second Chance said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Second Chance said:
Hermogenes said:
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
There is another factor that you have not factored in--Natural Law, that is, God's ordering of creation. Every calendar is but an attempt to relate God's order or time in human terms. It does not matter whose calendar it is, it only matters which calendar most closely approximates God's time. The problem with proclaiming a particular calendar as a Church calendar is the subordination of Natural Law or God's time to Church practice.
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
On the contrary; that is the reason why the date of Pascha is based on God's time, on the astrological phenomenon of the Vernal Equinox. BTW, the Julian calendar per se was not sanctified; time itself was. The two, God's time and the Julian calendar, coincided at that time--that is the only virtue of the Julian Calendar. And, when it no longer reflected God's time, it should have been replaced by another calendar that approximates God's time. Again, it is God's time that is sacred, not the calendar. You see this most clearly in the setting of Nativity on the Winter Solstice--December 25th being a fair approximation. The Old Calendar date in the following month of the following year is a mockery of the principle of the calendar being the srvant and not the master.
If the Church has the mind of Christ, then whatever the Church decides is the calendar is God's time.
 

ialmisry

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Jonathan Gress said:
Second Chance said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Second Chance said:
Hermogenes said:
The Truth of the Church is the possession of the whole Church, not just of the bishops and fanatics. We are all responsible for discerning it and teaching it.
True. But no one--certainly no one on this blog--seems to be able to agree whether it was Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory XIII (or someone else, the list of "someone elses" being too long to cite individually) who possessed the Truth of the Church. And I, for one, am not willing to refrain from the sacraments until better minds than mine can work it out.
There is another factor that you have not factored in--Natural Law, that is, God's ordering of creation. Every calendar is but an attempt to relate God's order or time in human terms. It does not matter whose calendar it is, it only matters which calendar most closely approximates God's time. The problem with proclaiming a particular calendar as a Church calendar is the subordination of Natural Law or God's time to Church practice.
But that's precisely what happened when the Church decided on a common calendar at the council of Nicea. Are you saying the Church didn't understand natural law or something? The point is not that the calendar was invented by a pagan, but that the Church happened to choose that calendar for sacred purposes. It made sacred something which was previously profane.
On the contrary; that is the reason why the date of Pascha is based on God's time, on the astrological phenomenon of the Vernal Equinox. BTW, the Julian calendar per se was not sanctified; time itself was. The two, God's time and the Julian calendar, coincided at that time--that is the only virtue of the Julian Calendar. And, when it no longer reflected God's time, it should have been replaced by another calendar that approximates God's time. Again, it is God's time that is sacred, not the calendar. You see this most clearly in the setting of Nativity on the Winter Solstice--December 25th being a fair approximation. The Old Calendar date in the following month of the following year is a mockery of the principle of the calendar being the srvant and not the master.
Um, if the Church has the mind of Christ, then whatever the Church decides is the calendar is God's time. Nice try.
Then we can just proclaim, say, April 4th perpetually Pascha, as if the Church declares it the first Sunday after the first new moon after the equinox, no matter what the moon God created or the weekly cycle He set in motion says.
 

ialmisry

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Jonathan Gress said:
If the Church says it's so, then it's so. Do you have a problem with that?
False churches distinguishing themselves by their foolish pronouncements from the sane pronouncements of the True Church? No, no problem at al.
 
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