Something for the Orthodox Burnout Department

Sorry, I meant blow-out! This is an interesting article from Fr Hunwicke – Pope Francis to turn Tridentine?!? The Date of Easter. I know a number of western Catholics who would like to revert to the Julian Calendar. You are free to comment directly on Father’s blog or here.

It would encourage the Orthodox world to reunite by reverting to the Old Calendar. It could only be a good thing even if it doesn’t go with the astronomical calendar as measured with modern methods. My mind is open. England only changed in 1752.

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25 Responses to Something for the Orthodox Burnout Department

  1. In our globally united world, common dates are pointless. For example, as I write this from the East Coast of the U.S., it’s 3:30 pm on Monday; in New Zealand, however, it’s 7:30 am tomorrow!

    • Perhaps we could all have GMT in deference to the British Empire and have the Americans eating breakfast at midnight, the Indians at midnight the following day at the same time. People living on the Pacific Ocean side of the world would have to learn to be nocturnal. The sun never sets… 🙂

  2. T Graham says:

    Maybe someone can enlighten me as to the importance of this: I am instinctively a stuck-in-the-mud reactionary but I simply don’t get why the Julian calendar is more sacred. If our Lord delays his coming the Old Calendrists will eventually be celebrating Christmas in Midsummer.

    • Perhaps instead of reverting to the Julian Calendar, what was done in 1582 (docking off another 15 days) could be repeated to give the Franciscan Calendar of 2016. Does anyone here know anything about astronomy and calendars? How frequently does it need to be done to correct the error?

      • T Graham says:

        As far as I know, the Julian calendar had a leap year every four years, but then a solar year is slightly less than 365 days and 6 hours: it is 365 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes. So using the Julian calendar one drifts ahead of the solar year by one day every 128 years – and by 1582 this had become a full 10 days extra and Midwinter, for example, was actually falling on 11th or 12th Dec.

        The change to the Gregorian calendar shifted the calendar year back into line with the solar year, and attempted to correct the accumulation of error in the future by omitting some leap years.

        The Gregorian calendar omits a leap year every 100 years (1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years) unless it is divisible by 400 (so 2000 was a leap year). This almost perfectly accounts for the 11 minutes and 14 seconds that the solar year falls short of 365 and 1/4 days. It does drift ahead of the solar year eventually, but only by one day about every 3300 years, so it keeps in sync very well with the actual length of the solar year. So we don’t actually need to dock off any days for a long time.

        Apologies if everyone knew this already.

      • It does occur to me that seeking unity or uniformity in everything is just futile. Churches are separated and will remain separated. I have come to believe that it is a “natural” condition of Christianity. It began divided (cf. St Paul’s epistles) and was only ever “united” by force. The RC Church should leave the Orthodox Church in peace and vice versa. Then there is no need to worry about calendars.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Fr. Hunwicke says, “Our present divergence only arose in 1582, when the West broke ranks with the East by changing to the Gregorian Calendar”, and Fr. Hunwicke is an astute man. I am always getting lost in the distinctions of Easter reckonings, historical (pre-1582?) and contemporary. I like it that people do not seem to be as vociferously accusing each other of preferring ‘the reckoning of Judas Iscariot’ and the like as they were hstorically – but perhaps I just don’t get around enough and they still are, with undiminished vigor. I also (as a cheery musical vulgarian) rather like the sort of fugal effect when (for whatever reason) they happen not to coincide. Tangentially, I wonder if His All-Holiness the Patriarch Bartholomew has in one way or another been ‘getting at’ the Holy Father with the ‘Green-ish’ tosh he’s been embarrassingly spouting for ages? (I was once enlisted to help translate some of it – cringe-making stuff!)

  4. Dale says:

    I do know that for some, the issue of old verses new calendar is a very big issue, of which the Byzantine Orthodox, for example often lie (they never mention that the following Orthodox communities not only have the new calendar for Christmas but for the Paschalion as well: Finland, Estonia, and Latvia), and can get very nasty. Personally, I could care less. If a parish wishes to use the new, or old, who really cares?

    I always enjoyed those Orthodox who refused to use a “papistical” calendar, but have no problems using a Roman pagan one!

  5. Fr. Grogan says:

    It is my understanding that the Orthodox (primarily Greek and Antiochian) who use a “New Calendar” which is currently in sync with the Gregorian calendar are in reality following a new Revised Julian Calendar which is so incredibly accurate that it loses only 26 seconds per annum but will eventually in several millennia once again be out of sync with the Gregorian calendar. However, it will be the Gregorian which is incorrect this time. For any church, Orthodox or Catholic, to follow a calender which is not in sync with God’s universe is utterly absurd. If anyone has more detailed information please enlighten us.

  6. Dale says:

    ” For any church, Orthodox or Catholic, to follow a calender which is not in sync with God’s universe is utterly absurd” why?

    • Fr. Grogan says:

      The answer is quite simple, God is truth, the Old Julian calendar is incorrect therefore incompatible with the Divinity.

      • Dale says:

        Mankind is often incorrect, therefore incompatible with Divinity? Is God so limited in your view?

      • Fr. Grogan says:

        Dale,
        I have followed Fr. Chadwick’s blog for several years and have commented on occasion. I have with great interest read your many offensive and obnoxious comments, I have no intention of getting into a protracted disagreement with you. You appear to derive pleasure from insulting and antagonizing Fr. Chadwick’s readers, were I him, I would have banned you long ago. For the sake of civility I will not communicate with you further.

      • ed pacht says:

        Fr. Grogan.

        Your response is pretty much overblown. I certainly have had my rather strong disagreements with Dale, but at the same time I do have to recognize that he sometimes (very often) has good insights. This particular question from him is right on the mark.

        If accuracy is required for compatability with God, we are all lost. If the Julian calendar is condemned for inaccuracy, then so is the Gregorian as many of its dates are questionable and perhaps inaccurate. What provides the necessity, anyway, that we keep a calendar that accurately matches the seasons? The Hebrews did not. Their lunar calendar set no precise dates for solstices or equinoxes, and the calendar was constantly tinkered with to make a minimal correspondence with the seasons. Gregory adjusted the calendar by eliminating days to make the seasons begin on the ancient dates. Those using the Julian calendar make the necessary change by redefining, in effect, what those dates are. Yes, I think the Gregorian calendar to be the better choice, but then again I am Western. If the East prefers it otherwise, however, I am no more qualified to condemn them than they to condemn me.

        It’s, to me, a complete non-issue, and rigidity on either side is merely a foolish distraction from the Gospel.

      • There’s the challenge – making Christianity credible in spite of its divisions over this and other issues. I too find many of Fr Dale’s observations germane and lucid. There are big problems in Orthodoxy as in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and other Reformation-inspired groups. I won’t comment any further on the issue of calendars. Being western and born after 1752, I have always used the Gregorian calendar and taken it for granted. Civil life follows it. I only “ban” anyone for clear trolling (form of predatory behaviour intended to abuse psychologically).

      • Dale says:

        Fr Grogan, thank you; the thought of communicating with you is most certainly not on my list of things to do either! I do hope this comment was offensive and obnoxious enough for you.

        Cheers,

  7. Rubricarius says:

    I have been using the Julian Calendar for the Office I say for nigh on twenty years. I find the particular benefit of Christmas as it is wonderful to be in Advent whilst the modern West has its spending spree with too much food, too much alcohol, Santa and tinsel. To celebrate the Nativity of the Lord when all that is over is actually rather refreshing.

    The impact of calendar change struck me very much last year at the Banqueting House on January 30th (n.s.) as despite what was going on around me that day was not really the anniversary of King Charles’ martyrdom but thirteen days short.

    • Anniversaries are always fraught with difficulty, particularly ones that span several centuries. Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date, for example, but not on the same day.

      The reason I prefer the Julian Kalendar these days is mostly out of a sense of separatism from the modern world. As Rubricarius aptly says, celebrating Christmass in January (N.S) is rather refreshing when the rest of the world is gauging its monstrous appetite to excess.

    • Dale says:

      Rubricarius, I have often heard this as a reason to revert back to the Julian Calendar; but if this were to be taken to its logical conclusion, places such as Russia the Church should use the Gregorian Calendar for the same reasons! Simply because the secular world uses ecclesiatical feasts for frivolity, for me anyway, does not mean that we should simply abandon such dates.

      But once again, the question of the calendar is a non-issues at least for me, regardless of Grogan’s rather offensive email.

    • Dale says:

      Rubricarius, on a slightly different issue. Have you considered producing an Ordo that has both calendars? There are some Byzantine jurisdictions that do indeed do just that. I have your wonderful Ordo in front of me as I type. But then, in retrospect, considering the work involved would it serve a purpose?

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