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Author Topic: Old vs. New Calendar?  (Read 202159 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #1080 on: December 07, 2009, 04:02:59 PM »

No I had read it before, but it only just occurred to me that the letter makes a powerful argument that you can't claim the 1583 council to be mistaken on the grounds that the Ecumenical Councils didn't enact specific canons concerning the observance of the Menologion or the Paschalion. What I mean is that if we didn't have this letter, or the letter of the Fathers of the Council to the Church in Alexandria, which also mentions the decision about the celebration of Pascha, there would be no evidence that the Council had said anything about Pascha, other then the testimony of later authorities who mentioned the fact that the Council had made a decision on the calendar. The canons of the Council itself say nothing about it, but that doesn't mean the Council didn't make a binding decision about it.

Now we know independently that both the Paschalion and the Menologion were established at this Council, although the letters we have speak only of the date of Pascha. You might argue that the decision on the Menologion was not binding, but some kind of lesser, non-binding decision (assuming that Councils make those kinds of non-binding decisions), but given that the Council of 1583 considers the decisions on both the Paschalion and Menologion to be binding, on what grounds can we deny it? We can't deny it on the grounds that no canons have been preserved which speak of the matter, because we know that canons do not alone prove what was or was not enacted at a Council, as is shown by the decision on Pascha, but the tradition of the Church tells us this. And what is the Sigillion of the Council other than a witness of the tradition of the Church?

If you could point to some other council or even the testimony of some Father that the Menologion was not binding, but that variation was permitted, then that would be something, although even then we'd have to measure that testimony against the other witnesses of the tradition of the Eastern church, whose practice has been always to maintain the same calendar. However, it seems to me that there is no such witness.

You have pointed to the ancient Western menologion as an example of the Church previously admitting variation in the menologion. I think the answer to that is simple: although the West and East may have commemorated some Saints on different days, they were all agreed which days were the same. September 1 was September 1 in both East and West. Moreover, almost all the Great Feasts, like Christmas, Theophany, the Feasts of our Lady, of the Birth of the Forerunner and of the Apostles Peter and Paul, were celebrated on the same days. As you know, even in our Eastern Church, among those who continue on the old calendar, there is a little variation between e.g. the Russians and the Greeks: in my church we celebrate St Catherine the Great on November 25, but the Russians do so on the previous day. And as far as I know, the Western church didn't deliberately create a division out of previous concord, but they developed their traditions independently of the East. At least until the West started deviating in faith, the trend was if anything to unify the traditions, not to separate them. A good example is the spread of the Western celebration of Christmas on December 25 to the East, where formerly the Nativity was celebrated together with the Baptism of our Lord on January 6 (as the Armenians still do, I understand).

"Of the doctrine and preaching which are preserved in the
Church, some we possess derived from written doctrine, others
we have received delivered to us “in secret” (en mystyrio) by
the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these have the same
validity and force as regards piety. And these no one contradicts
-- no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the
institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such
customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the
importance they possess is small, we would unintentionally
harm the Gospel in its vitals; or, rather, would make our
preaching mere words and nothing more (St. Basil, On the Holy
Spirit 27:66; also Canon 91 of St. Basil the Great)."

The Council of 1672 I am not sure about. Is the Council speaking of those who receive baptism from heretics, or of those who receive baptism from the Orthodox with imperfect faith? The wording seems to suggest the latter, but perhaps a little more context would clarify the matter. If it is true that this Council decreed that heretical Baptism was valid, then of course I would have to agree this Council's decision was not in accord with the universal tradition. But it follows from this that the universal tradition must be our benchmark, and the universal tradition of the Eastern Church is clearly to maintain the same calendar, both the Paschalion and the Menologion, and to reject innovations, as is most firmly testified by the councils of 1583, 1587 and 1593. I don't believe the innovations of 1924 gainsay this previously established tradition because it was manifestly not an innovation accepted by the whole Church, but by only a small part of it, and wherever the innovation spread, it was only a small part that accepted it at any one time. Even now new calendarists are numerically a minority of all professed Orthodox. This tells me that the innovation was not the product of the catholic mind of the Church, but by the anti-catholic mind of a few innovators.
But how do you answer witega's charge that you refuse to allow that the authority of the Council of 1583 should be impugned yet go about impugning the authority of other councils that appear to bear the very same marks of universal authority?  On what grounds are you able to enforce this apparent double standard?  Please don't say "Tradition", for the decision regarding which councils are authoritative and which are not is part and parcel to our very definition of sacred Tradition.
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #1081 on: December 07, 2009, 05:28:29 PM »

What I meant was that I don't recognize the calendar innovation to be the product of the Church's tradition. I think we all recognize that even the pronouncements of patriarchs and synods may be in error, and the only way to determine whether some statement or decree is in the spirit of Tradition or not is to measure the statement against the entirety of Tradition. My understanding of the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church has been that, up until the patriarchal locum tenens Metropolitan Dorotheus' encyclical of 1920, the testimony of patriarchs and councils of the East has been remarkably united in condemning any innovation in the cycle of feasts, whether movable or immovable. It is, in other words, self-evident to me at any rate that the Tradition of the Church speaks against any innovation, and certainly against any innovation that will bring division to the Church. Take for instance this testimony, quoted in Fr Basil Sakkas' book:

In the 1670’s, Dositheus, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (in his work
Concerning Unleavened Bread, p. 539) said: “By the grace of Christ,
from the time of the First Council to this present moment, the sacred
Pascha is always celebrated the Sunday after the Passover of of the
Law, and we have never experienced any confusion which might bring
us to the necessity of making some correction. This was set forth very
well by the Holy Fathers and it shall eternally remain faultless.
Wrongly have the contemporary astronomers of Old Rome removed
ten days from the month of October. More-over, their new calendar
provokes much confusion and many causes for disorder.”

Here you see that innovation was condemned among other reasons for the division and strife that it introduces into the life of the Church.

When I consider the Sigillion of 1583, I believe it to be in the spirit of this Tradition; when I consider the calendar innovation, especially in the context of the other proposed reforms of the council of 1923 in Constantinople, such as the abolition of the fasts, clerical dress and so on, I see that it is not in the spirit of Tradition. Now if all the local churches had attended this Council, and if they had all agreed to adopt the calendar reform, then I suppose there would be evidence of some catholicity of mind, although even then the abruptness of the change would seem strange when set against the continuity of earlier tradition. As it is, however, we don't see even that catholicity, but rather a rejection of the catholic Tradition of the Church, with small parts of the Church detaching themselves from the common celebrations of the Orthodox and joining their voices with the heterodox of the West.

Two more interesting witnesses from Fr Basil's book:

In 1919, the Church of Greece issued the following opinion: (see,
Bishop Polycarp of Diaulia, ibid., p. 16): “The change of the Julian
Calendar, which change does not offend dogmatic and social
considerations, could be accomplished with the agreement of all the
other autocephalous Orthodox Churches, and especially with the
agreement of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to whom it would be
necessary to entrust the initiative in such an undertaking -- under the
condition that the Gregorian calendar not be adopted, but that a new
calendar be redacted, which would be even more exact scientifically
and free from the deficiencies of the two present calendars, the Julian
and the Gregorian. (It should be noted that one of the committee
members who voted in favour of this position was Chrysostom
Papadopoulos, then an Archimandrite and Professor of Theology at
the University of Athens.)

and:

In 1924, the Church of Alexandria issued the following opinion: “#28.
To Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople. After receiving the telegram
of Your All-holiness, our Sacred Synod was convoked today and
decided the following: We shall abide with the former synodical
decisions and we reject any addition or any change of the calendar.”

In the former testimony, we see how some authorities did in fact countenance a possible change in the calendar, but only on condition that it was adopted unanimously. In the latter, we see how the innovation, having been introduced into only one small part of the Church, was firmly rejected by another part as not being enacted by the authority of the whole Church.

In sum, the reason I appeal to the authority of the council of 1583, but reject that of 1923, is because I see that the former was carried out in the spirit of the Catholic Church, and the latter was not. The former was carried out in the context of rejecting the errors of the Pope and preserving the purity of the Orthodox faith; the latter was carried out in the context of embracing the Western heterodox as 'fellow heirs' of the promises of Christ. Lest you be in any doubt about the second claim, let me reproduce for you the text of the 1920 encyclical:

Thus, once the sincerity and especially the confidence, has been
reestablished between the Churches, we think, then, that it is
necessary to rekindle and fortify the love among the Churches,
esteeming one another not as strangers but, on the contrary, as kindred
and as of the same household of Christ and “fellow-heirs and formed
of the same body and sharing in the same promise of God in Jesus
Christ” (Eph. 3:6). The different Churches, inspired by love and
setting it in the foremost place in their deliberations and relations
among themselves, can diminish and curtail the separation between
themselves, instead of extending and augmenting it, while awakening
a consistent and fraternal interest concerning the state, stability and
well being of the other Churches, by showing assiduity in giving heed
to and knowing more precisely that which is occurring in them and,
more precisely by extending a prompt hand of help and assistance to
each other. In this way they shall accomplish and realize many good
things for their own glory and profit as well as that of the entire body
of Christians.

This amenity and beneficent disposition towards one another can
manifest itself and prove itself in a more particular fashion, which,
according to our opinion, should be as follows:

a. through the adoption by all the Churches of one single
calendar so that the great Christian feasts may be everywhere
celebrated simultaneously

Further proposals follow in the same spirit of ecumenistic denial of any meaningful difference between the Orthodox and the heterodox. Even the first proposal contradicts the spirit of the canons of the Church:

7th and 70th Apostolic Canons
If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of
Pascha with the Jews before the vernal equinox, let him be deposed.
If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all of the clergy,
fasts together with the Jews, or celebrates a holiday together with
them, or accepts from them holiday gifts or favors, such as
unleavened wafers, or any such thing, let him be deposed from
office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.

37th and 39th Canons of the Council of Laodicia
One must not accept holiday gifts sent by Jews or heretics, nor
celebrate any holiday with them. One must not join the heathen in
celebration of holidays and festivals, and share in their godlessness.

I have gone on long enough in this post, but if there are points you feel still need to be addressed feel free to respond.
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« Reply #1082 on: December 08, 2009, 03:41:54 AM »

No I had read it before, but it only just occurred to me that the letter makes a powerful argument that you can't claim the 1583 council to be mistaken on the grounds that the Ecumenical Councils didn't enact specific canons concerning the observance of the Menologion or the Paschalion.

No one but you ever imagined we were talking about 'specific canons'. What canon forbids alterations to the Nicean Creed? None. Because the Fathers of Chalcedon included that ruling in the central Decision of that council not in a canon. In the same way, St. Constantine and the the Fathers of Nicea proclaimed their Paschal decision as one of that council's two primary decisions rather than including it among the canons (which, by the way, they also published). So your current logic is 'We know the Fathers of Nicea made a rule about Pascha because they said they did--so therefore maybe they made a rule that they didn't tell anyone about.' That makes no logical sense.

Quote
If you could point to some other council or even the testimony of some Father that the Menologion was not binding,

Again, this is not a logical request. If there was no binding, then there would be no statement. It is binding that requires a positive statement to exist. I can't provide any Father or council that says we do not have to wear green on St. Patrick's day, nor can I provide a single Father or Council about how many fingers to use when crossing ourselves prior to Nikon's binding of that tradition.

Can you think of a single other thing to which we are bound that no Father or Council talks about being required until the 16th century?

Quote
The Council of 1672 I am not sure about. Is the Council speaking of those who receive baptism from heretics, or of those who receive baptism from the Orthodox with imperfect faith? The wording seems to suggest the latter, but perhaps a little more context would clarify the matter. If it is true that this Council decreed that heretical Baptism was valid, then of course I would have to agree this Council's decision was not in accord with the universal tradition. But it follows from this that the universal tradition must be our benchmark, and the universal tradition of the Eastern Church is clearly to maintain the same calendar, both the Paschalion and the Menologion, and to reject innovations, as is most firmly testified by the councils of 1583, 1587 and 1593.

The universal tradition is testified to by 3 councils held within a decade, 16 centuries after the apostles, and their position on this cannot be supported in any other way?

The Council of Jerusalem 1672 was a pan-Orthodox council called to refute the Calvinist 'Confession of Faith' of Patriarch Cyril Lukaris. This council produced the Confession of Dositheus (this would be the same Dositheus you quote in your last reply), commonly known as one of the Symbolical Books of Orthodoxy, which was later sent as the unified response the Eastern Patriarchs to early queries from the Anglicans. The Council of 1672 has played a far more significant role in Orthodox thought and tradition than the Sigillion of 1583 ever did--and yes, that he is talking about the reception of heretics seems clear enough from the text--but if it's not, it should be obvious from the fact that in 1672 Latins were still received by chrismation in Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Antioch.
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« Reply #1083 on: December 08, 2009, 11:54:48 AM »

I misunderstood you witega. I thought you were claiming that unless there was a canon enforcing a specific penalty, a Council's decision was not binding. In that case, of course, you must at least recognize the fact that the Finnish Church has put itself outside Orthodoxy through adoption of the Western Paschalion.

Maybe no one pronounced on the immovable calendar prior to the 16th century because it was never disputed until the 16th century.

It's become clearer to me now that the issue of ancient East/West differences in the dates of the commemoration of Saints is a red herring. The important point here is that the same calendar was fixed for the whole Church, the calendar upon which the calculation of the Pascha was based. As you know, the Pascha must be celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21, so clearly it matters very much when March 21 is. So in fact it is the calendar _itself_ that is mandated by Tradition, not just the Menologion or the Paschalion separately:

1583:

The sigillium of the Patriarchal Encyclical to the Orthodox
Christians in every land commands them under the penalty of
punishment and anathema not to accept the new Paschalion or the
new calendar but to remain with that which was well defined once
and for all by the 318 Holy and God-bearing Fathers of the First
Ecumenical Council.
In the year of the God-Man, 1583.
12th Indiction. November 20
The Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremy II
The Patriarch of Alexandria Sylvester
The Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius
and the other hierarchs of the Council who were present.

1593:

Concerning the rejection of the new calendar, that is, the innovation
of the Latins regarding the celebration of Pascha. We wish that that
which has been decreed by the Fathers concerning Holy and
Salutary Pascha remain unshaken…Let all those who have dared to
transgress the definitions regarding the Holy Feast of the Salutary
Pascha be excommunicated and rejected from the Church of Christ.
The Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremy II
The Patriarch of Antioch Joachim
The Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius
The Patriarch of Alexandria Meletius

The Fathers of these Councils saw that the movable and immovable calendars were so intimately connected that you couldn't reject one without the other. So we see that those churches that have adopted the new calendar for the purposes of the Menologion have felt obliged to retain the old calendar for the purposes of the Paschalion, resulting in the well-known disorders such as the diminution or abolition of the Apostles' Fast. If their new calendar was so fantastic, why did they not go the whole way?

The universal tradition is attested by the fact that the entire Church has celebrated with the same calendar from the time the common Pascha was fixed at the First Ecumenical Council until now (and of course in a sense from even before the Council, in that the Council believed its decision on Pascha to reflect the original custom of the Church). It only became an issue when the Pope revised the calendar in his church, which had already fallen away from Orthodoxy, and then tried to persuade the East to adopt his reforms. The East _refused_ on the grounds that unbroken, universal tradition mandated the use of the patristic calendar. And as far as I can see, the 16th century councils were right: the Eastern Church had indeed followed the patristic calendar universally up until that point.

You seem to have ignored one central argument I have been making: granting that the Church can change the calendar if She expresses her voice unanimously, where is that unanimous voice in the calendar change as it actually occurred? The calendar change in Greece was not the decision of the Catholic Church; it was the decision of the rebellious hierarchs of the State Church of Greece, who placed obedience to their revolutionary government above obedience to the tradition of the Church.

The question of reception of heretics is another red herring, but I'll say again that I'm not sure what the 1672 council is speaking of when talking of 'valid Baptism'. Does it refer to baptism performed by heretics, or does it refer to baptism performed by Orthodox on someone with weak faith? What does the Council mean by 'valid': that the form is correct, or that it truly cleanses from sin and bestows eternal life? Even if this Council was preaching that the baptism of heretics was 'valid' in the sense of being true baptism, how do you reconcile that with the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1756 to insist on the baptism of Latins and Protestants? As I indicated in an earlier post, it is a fact that the Church has been variable in its reception of heretics, at times receiving them with baptism, at other times with chrismation, or even with a mere confession of faith. But the practice, according to Orthodox teaching, is attributed to the exercise of economy, not to a recognition of heretical baptism as true, salvific Baptism. Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky of the ROCA wrote an excellent treatise on this matter which I posted much earlier in this thread.
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« Reply #1084 on: December 08, 2009, 12:34:04 PM »

I misunderstood you witega. I thought you were claiming that unless there was a canon enforcing a specific penalty, a Council's decision was not binding. In that case, of course, you must at least recognize the fact that the Finnish Church has put itself outside Orthodoxy through adoption of the Western Paschalion.

Maybe no one pronounced on the immovable calendar prior to the 16th century because it was never disputed until the 16th century.

It's become clearer to me now that the issue of ancient East/West differences in the dates of the commemoration of Saints is a red herring. The important point here is that the same calendar was fixed for the whole Church, the calendar upon which the calculation of the Pascha was based. As you know, the Pascha must be celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21, so clearly it matters very much when March 21 is. So in fact it is the calendar _itself_ that is mandated by Tradition, not just the Menologion or the Paschalion separately:

1583:

The sigillium of the Patriarchal Encyclical to the Orthodox
Christians in every land commands them under the penalty of
punishment and anathema not to accept the new Paschalion or the
new calendar but to remain with that which was well defined once
and for all by the 318 Holy and God-bearing Fathers of the First
Ecumenical Council.
In the year of the God-Man, 1583.
12th Indiction. November 20
The Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremy II
The Patriarch of Alexandria Sylvester
The Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius
and the other hierarchs of the Council who were present.

1593:

Concerning the rejection of the new calendar, that is, the innovation
of the Latins regarding the celebration of Pascha. We wish that that
which has been decreed by the Fathers concerning Holy and
Salutary Pascha remain unshaken…Let all those who have dared to
transgress the definitions regarding the Holy Feast of the Salutary
Pascha be excommunicated and rejected from the Church of Christ.
The Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremy II
The Patriarch of Antioch Joachim
The Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius
The Patriarch of Alexandria Meletius

The Fathers of these Councils saw that the movable and immovable calendars were so intimately connected that you couldn't reject one without the other. So we see that those churches that have adopted the new calendar for the purposes of the Menologion have felt obliged to retain the old calendar for the purposes of the Paschalion, resulting in the well-known disorders such as the diminution or abolition of the Apostles' Fast. If their new calendar was so fantastic, why did they not go the whole way?

The universal tradition is attested by the fact that the entire Church has celebrated with the same calendar from the time the common Pascha was fixed at the First Ecumenical Council until now (and of course in a sense from even before the Council, in that the Council believed its decision on Pascha to reflect the original custom of the Church). It only became an issue when the Pope revised the calendar in his church, which had already fallen away from Orthodoxy, and then tried to persuade the East to adopt his reforms. The East _refused_ on the grounds that unbroken, universal tradition mandated the use of the patristic calendar. And as far as I can see, the 16th century councils were right: the Eastern Church had indeed followed the patristic calendar universally up until that point.

You seem to have ignored one central argument I have been making: granting that the Church can change the calendar if She expresses her voice unanimously, where is that unanimous voice in the calendar change as it actually occurred? The calendar change in Greece was not the decision of the Catholic Church; it was the decision of the rebellious hierarchs of the State Church of Greece, who placed obedience to their revolutionary government above obedience to the tradition of the Church.

The question of reception of heretics is another red herring, but I'll say again that I'm not sure what the 1672 council is speaking of when talking of 'valid Baptism'. Does it refer to baptism performed by heretics, or does it refer to baptism performed by Orthodox on someone with weak faith? What does the Council mean by 'valid': that the form is correct, or that it truly cleanses from sin and bestows eternal life? Even if this Council was preaching that the baptism of heretics was 'valid' in the sense of being true baptism, how do you reconcile that with the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1756 to insist on the baptism of Latins and Protestants? As I indicated in an earlier post, it is a fact that the Church has been variable in its reception of heretics, at times receiving them with baptism, at other times with chrismation, or even with a mere confession of faith. But the practice, according to Orthodox teaching, is attributed to the exercise of economy, not to a recognition of heretical baptism as true, salvific Baptism. Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky of the ROCA wrote an excellent treatise on this matter which I posted much earlier in this thread.
I do know that it has been pointed out to you that the Revised Julian Calendar is NOT the Vatican's calendar.

Btw, there were other calendars in use in the age of the Fathers.  And Nicea I unfortunately did not result in one Paschalion throughout the world.  Nor was the date the universal custom, as the whole Church rebuking Pope St. Victor when he tried to excommunicate the Asians showed.

Btw, you have a rather Vatican view of the Ecumenical Patriarch, that he can make infallible declarations binding on the entire Orthodox Church.  That's not the Faith of the Seven Councils.
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« Reply #1085 on: December 08, 2009, 12:39:32 PM »

I am involved in a discussion of this issue at Monachos.net as well and thought I would ask the question here too. Stripped of all the emotion on both sides, shouldn't the calendar issue be easy to resolve? The basic issue as I understand it is:
For the Typicon to function properly it seems that the Menaion and Paschalion have to be on the same calendar. The New Calendar jurisdictions have kept the Old Calendar Paschalion while changing to a New Calendar Menaion. Is there something inherent in the Paschalion that is the reason it has not been changed as well? If the only issues are astronomical accuracy and staying in sync with the civil calendar then we should all switch completely to the Gregorian Calendar. If there are other ecclesiologically more important issues built into the fabric of the dating of Pascha (and its interaction with the Menaion) that will not allow the change then why create a hybrid calendar? Many other cultures and religions get along quite nicely with separate religious and civil calendars, why not us as well?
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« Reply #1086 on: December 08, 2009, 01:17:59 PM »

@ ialmisry:

The case I am making is that the traditional calendar was considered to be the universal calendar of the Church, and that no deviation was permitted. The principle evidence that it was considered to be the universal calendar is twofold: the fact that the Church everywhere celebrated on the same calendar, at least by the end of the period of the Seven Councils; and the testimony of the three councils in the 16th century condemning the Papal calendar revision. We only start to hear affirmations of the need for calendar uniformity in the 16th century because before then everyone in East and West followed the same calendar, so it wasn't an issue.

Yes, it is true that in practice, after the First Ecumenical Council determined the calendar and the date of Pascha, some places continued to celebrate on a different calendar and to calculate Pascha differently, but gradually these differences were resolved. Some discrepancies were never resolved, i.e. the different dates for commemoration of Saints in the West. But the trend is universally in the direction of unity, not discord.

I know that the new calendar you use is slightly different from the Gregorian calendar of the West. But I don't accept that the adoption of the new calendar is unrelated to the Western calendar, because the context of the adoption of the new calendar was ecumenism, as is proven by the patriarchal encyclical of 1920, and the simple fact that in practice, new calendarists celebrate most of their feasts with the heterodox, not the Orthodox.

@ DavidH:

You have asked a very good question. Yes, if astronomical accuracy were the only concern, by which I take it to mean that the date of Pascha should depend upon the astronomical equinox, rather than a conventional equinox, we should all go to the Gregorian calendar, or the revised Julian calendar, for both the Menologion, i.e. the fixed feasts, and the Paschalion, whose dates must depend on a fixed date in the solar calendar. Having the Menologion and Paschalion operate on different calendars introduces a great degree of confusion, as you know. But as you intimate, astronomical accuracy is not the only concern, and in fact the history of the Church's treatment of the question shows that accuracy was considered subordinate to the need for unity in the Church. Moreover, there is one important justification for not changing the Paschalion, which is that revising the calendar pushes our Pascha back on or before the date the Jews celebrate their Passover, and the determination of the calendar at the First Ecumenical Council made it clear that coincidence of our Pascha with the Jewish Pascha was absolutely forbidden.

Below is a long list of evidence for the way the Church has traditionally approached the question, taken from Fr Basil's book:

1. From ancient times, the Church has been aware of the calendar’s
imperfection. For this reason She fixed a conventional equinox which
disregards the astronomical equinox.

2. In 1324, Nicephorus Gregoras determined the calendar’s error with
exactness and submitted a report containing propositions for changing
it; however, nothing came of this.

3. In 1371, the monk Isaacius and Matthew Blastaris approved Gregoras’
calendar and supported it, but the Church showed no interest.

4. During the days shortly before the fall of Constantinople, George
Gemistus proposed new reforms for the calendar, which were likewise
rejected by the Church.

5. In 1582, Patriarch Jeremy II wrote a letter to the Orthodox Church of
Poland, forbidding the use of the new calendar, under the penalty of
excommunication.

6. In 1582, Patriarch Jeremy II wrote a letter to the Doge of Venice,
wherein he shows that the question of the calendar is a matter lacking
in seriousness: “child’s play.”

7. In 1583, there was convened in Constantinople the first Pan-Orthodox
Council to condemn the papal calendar.

8. In 1583, Meletius Pegas addressed himself to Cardinal Julius
Antonius, wherein he shows him the deficiencies of the Gregorian
calendar. At the same time, he wrote the Alexandrian Tome
concerning the celebration of Pascha.

9. In 1584, Patriarch Jeremy II wrote a letter to the Pope of Rome against
the Latin’s arbitrary coup d’etat concerning the calendar.

10. In 1587, the second Council condemning the calendar used in the
West was held at Constantinople.

11. In 1593, the third Council condemning the new calendar was held in
Constantinople.

12. In the 1670’s, Dositheus, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (in his work
Concerning Unleavened Bread, p. 539) said: “By the grace of Christ,
from the time of the First Council to this present moment, the sacred
Pascha is always celebrated the Sunday after the Passover of of the
Law, and we have never experienced any confusion which might bring
us to the necessity of making some correction. This was set forth very
well by the Holy Fathers and it shall eternally remain faultless.
Wrongly have the contemporary astronomers of Old Rome removed
ten days from the month of October. More-over, their new calendar
provokes much confusion and many causes for disorder.”

13. In 1827, Agathangelus, the Ecumenical Patriarch, refused to permit
any correction of the so-called “Julian” festal calendar of the
Orthodox.

14. In 1895, Patriarch Anthimus VII forbade any discussion of the
question of the calendar.

15. In 1902, the Great Church of Christ rejected the mathematician
Epaminondas Polydore’s memorandum concerning the change of the
calendar.

16. In 1903 (Feb. 28), the Russian Church issued the following opinion:
“…this change, which disturbs the order that has already been
established and which has been sanctified by the Church during such a
great expanse of time, will indubitably bring about disturbances in the
life of the Church.”

17. In 1903 (June 5), the Church of Jerusalem issued the following
opinion: “Any decision to change the calendar, out of preference for
the Gregorian calendar, will be to the detriment of Orthodoxy.”

18. In 1903 (July 14), the Church of Greece issued the following, opinion:
“…the Julian calendar (hemerologion) is bound together with the
festal calendar (heortologion) of the Church.”

19. In 1903, the Rumanian Church made the following decision: “The
Sacred Synod of the Holy Autocephalous Church of Rumania is of the
opinion and proposes that we abide therein where we find ourselves
today. For it is impossible not to violate the prescriptions of the
canons should we wish to consider some change or reform of the
Julian calendar, with which the Orthodox Church has lived for so
great a time. Besides this, it is not permitted to us to touch even with
our finger the ancient decisions which constitute the glory of our
Church.”

20. In 1904 (May 12), the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued the following
opinion: “It is praiseworthy and good to keep the Paschalion which
has already been defined and ratified by the ancient practice of the
Church…and it is not permitted to introduce any innovation
concerning it (the calendar)…From an ecclesiastical point of view, we
are in no wise obliged to change the calendar.

21. In 1919, the Church of Greece issued the following opinion: (see,
Bishop Polycarp of Diaulia, ibid., p. 16): “The change of the Julian
Calendar, which change does not offend dogmatic and social
considerations, could be accomplished with the agreement of all the
other autocephalous Orthodox Churches, and especially with the
agreement of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to whom it would be
necessary to entrust the initiative in such an undertaking -- under the
condition that the Gregorian calendar not be adopted, but that a new
calendar be redacted, which would be even more exact scientifically
and free from the deficiencies of the two present calendars, the Julian
and the Gregorian. (It should be noted that one of the committee
members who voted in favour of this position was Chrysostom
Papadopoulos, then an Archimandrite and Professor of Theology at
the University of Athens.)

22. In 1924, the Church of Alexandria issued the following opinion: “#28.
To Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople. After receiving the telegram
of Your All-holiness, our Sacred Synod was convoked today and
decided the following: We shall abide with the former synodical
decisions and we reject any addition or any change of the calendar.”
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« Reply #1087 on: December 08, 2009, 01:40:28 PM »

I am involved in a discussion of this issue at Monachos.net as well and thought I would ask the question here too. Stripped of all the emotion on both sides, shouldn't the calendar issue be easy to resolve? The basic issue as I understand it is:
For the Typicon to function properly it seems that the Menaion and Paschalion have to be on the same calendar. The New Calendar jurisdictions have kept the Old Calendar Paschalion while changing to a New Calendar Menaion. Is there something inherent in the Paschalion that is the reason it has not been changed as well?

Unlike the Menaion, which has always been under the control of local churches, there is an actual ecumenical/pan-Orthodox rule about Pascha being celebrated on the same day by everyone. Accordingly, it is generally agreed that a change to the Paschalion (even if that change is to bring it back in line with the rest of that ruling by using the actual vernal equinox) needs to be a coordinated action by all the local Churches together.

It's also relevant that Pascha has always been a movable feast, calculated in relationship to the vernal equinox and the Jewish lunar calendar's dating of Passover. Its occurrence is completely independent of dates on the civil solar calendar. The Menaion, on the other hand, was always tied to the local civil, solar calendar (which was not always the Julian--the menaion used by St. Athanasius and Cyril as Patriarchs of Alexander was the Coptic calendar) which in turn ties to the idea that one purpose of the Menaion is the sanctification of time, the transformation of the calendar into a kind of icon. The establshment of 'weights and measures', including the measurement of time, was a function of Caesar's who decided when Dec. 25th fell or that Sept 1 was the beginning of the fiscal year. The Church then sanctified it by celebrating the Birth of Christ on Dec. 25th or the anniversary of St. George's martyrdom on April 23rd. This link was only broken by the Muslim conquest because the Muslims didn't have a solar calendar, so the Christians under their rule simply continued to use the civil calendar they had had before that.
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« Reply #1088 on: December 08, 2009, 02:18:06 PM »

For once I agree with witega!  Smiley

I would add one thing: while local churches are responsible for their own Menaia, they have all traditionally had to follow the same calendar, since every year they had to determine the Pascha together with respect to the conventional spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian calendar. Differences in the Menaia were always with respect to a common calendar, at least since the time of the Seven Councils, which is what I understand the council of 1583 to refer to by 'Paschalion and Menologion'. I.e. the determination of the date of Pascha AND the determination of the dates of the solar calendar were fixed by tradition. A local church may decide to move a commemoration from one day on the calendar to another, but a local church did not have the authority to adopt a new calendar entirely.
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« Reply #1089 on: December 08, 2009, 04:31:52 PM »

@ ialmisry:

The case I am making is that the traditional calendar was considered to be the universal calendar of the Church, and that no deviation was permitted. The principle evidence that it was considered to be the universal calendar is twofold: the fact that the Church everywhere celebrated on the same calendar, at least by the end of the period of the Seven Councils; and the testimony of the three councils in the 16th century condemning the Papal calendar revision. We only start to hear affirmations of the need for calendar uniformity in the 16th century because before then everyone in East and West followed the same calendar, so it wasn't an issue.

Yes, it is true that in practice, after the First Ecumenical Council determined the calendar and the date of Pascha, some places continued to celebrate on a different calendar and to calculate Pascha differently, but gradually these differences were resolved. Some discrepancies were never resolved, i.e. the different dates for commemoration of Saints in the West. But the trend is universally in the direction of unity, not discord.

I know that the new calendar you use is slightly different from the Gregorian calendar of the West. But I don't accept that the adoption of the new calendar is unrelated to the Western calendar, because the context of the adoption of the new calendar was ecumenism, as is proven by the patriarchal encyclical of 1920, and the simple fact that in practice, new calendarists celebrate most of their feasts with the heterodox, not the Orthodox.

We Orthodox in the US this last Sunday celebrated St. Nicholas' Day with the Orthodox in Myra, the Orthodox in Antioch, Romania, etc....In fact we celebrate ALL our feasts with the Orthodox in Myra, Antioch, Romania, etc. You celebrate ALL your feasts with the "Ukrainian Catholic Church," the largest in the East to submit to the Vatican.  So I don't know what your are talking about. Do you?

Quote
@ DavidH:

You have asked a very good question. Yes, if astronomical accuracy were the only concern, by which I take it to mean that the date of Pascha should depend upon the astronomical equinox, rather than a conventional equinox, we should all go to the Gregorian calendar, or the revised Julian calendar, for both the Menologion, i.e. the fixed feasts, and the Paschalion, whose dates must depend on a fixed date in the solar calendar. Having the Menologion and Paschalion operate on different calendars introduces a great degree of confusion, as you know.


So far correct.

Quote
But as you intimate, astronomical accuracy is not the only concern, and in fact the history of the Church's treatment of the question shows that accuracy was considered subordinate to the need for unity in the Church.

Now, see there you have swerved off the right path and into error: the Fathers saw accuracy as the means for unity of the Church, which is why they designated the Pope of Alexandria as the one to determine the date of Pascha.  Why?  Because, as they themselves stated, Alexandria had the most accurate astronomers, and the most accurate calendar.

 
Quote
Moreover, there is one important justification for not changing the Paschalion, which is that revising the calendar pushes our Pascha back on or before the date the Jews celebrate their Passover, and the determination of the calendar at the First Ecumenical Council made it clear that coincidence of our Pascha with the Jewish Pascha was absolutely forbidden.

The Jews had been taunting the Christians with the superiority of their Rabbis over the Church, the proof being that without the rabbis the Church couldn't even calculate its major feast.  The Fathers set up the correct formula, i.e. based on astronomical accuracy, to dispense with the need of the Jews' calculations of when Passover was.  Since the Paschal Full Moon, by definition falls on Passover, by definition Pascha would follow Passover.

Quote
Below is a long list of evidence
Roll Eyes
Quote
for the way the Church has traditionally approached the question, taken from Fr Basil's book:

1. From ancient times, the Church has been aware of the calendar’s
imperfection. For this reason She fixed a conventional equinox which
disregards the astronomical equinox.

Wrong again.  The Equinox had been on March 25. The Council of Nicea corrected it to March 21, with the corrected leap year system.  Or rather, the Fathers adopted the calendar that the astronomers at Alexandria had developed.


Quote
2. In 1324, Nicephorus Gregoras determined the calendar’s error with
exactness and submitted a report containing propositions for changing
it; however, nothing came of this.

That is because he proposed it to the Emperor Androikos II, who was fighting a civil war.

Quote
3. In 1371, the monk Isaacius and Matthew Blastaris approved Gregoras’
calendar and supported it, but the Church showed no interest.

Because he was an opponent of the Emperor John V's policy of submission to the Vatican (and the Ottoman!).

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« Reply #1090 on: December 08, 2009, 04:37:06 PM »

For once I agree with witega!  Smiley

I would add one thing: while local churches are responsible for their own Menaia, they have all traditionally had to follow the same calendar, since every year they had to determine the Pascha together with respect to the conventional spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian calendar.

No, now it is March 8.


Quote
Differences in the Menaia were always with respect to a common calendar, at least since the time of the Seven Councils, which is what I understand the council of 1583 to refer to by 'Paschalion and Menologion'. I.e. the determination of the date of Pascha AND the determination of the dates of the solar calendar were fixed by tradition. A local church may decide to move a commemoration from one day on the calendar to another, but a local church did not have the authority to adopt a new calendar entirely.

As witega points out correctly, Rome used a calendar, Constantinople used that one and another, Alexandria a different one entirely, and Antioch another still, during the Ecumenical Councils.
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« Reply #1091 on: December 08, 2009, 04:49:24 PM »

ialmisry, let's say you are right, and that at the time the calendar used to determine the Pascha was adopted, the Church was concerned, among other things, with determining the most scientifically accurate date of the equinox at the time. That date happened to be March 21 by the Julian reckoning. However, as your evidence shows, it was not scientific accuracy per se which was the concern of the Fathers, but rather the desire to free our determination of Pascha from the calculations of the rabbis. By fixing our own calendar and our own designation of the equinox, we would be able to proceed with our festal celebrations independently of the Jews.

Now while you have provided evidence that the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council were concerned with finding an astronomically correct date for the equinox, you have not provided evidence that the Church subsequently has shown any interest in astronomical accuracy. Rather, the Church has rejected proposals for revision of the calendar. To me the evidence rather strongly points to a satisfaction with the date of the conventional equinox and the other conventional dates of the patristic calendar.
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« Reply #1092 on: December 08, 2009, 04:50:50 PM »

For once I agree with witega!  Smiley

I would add one thing: while local churches are responsible for their own Menaia, they have all traditionally had to follow the same calendar, since every year they had to determine the Pascha together with respect to the conventional spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian calendar.

No, now it is March 8.


Quote
Differences in the Menaia were always with respect to a common calendar, at least since the time of the Seven Councils, which is what I understand the council of 1583 to refer to by 'Paschalion and Menologion'. I.e. the determination of the date of Pascha AND the determination of the dates of the solar calendar were fixed by tradition. A local church may decide to move a commemoration from one day on the calendar to another, but a local church did not have the authority to adopt a new calendar entirely.

As witega points out correctly, Rome used a calendar, Constantinople used that one and another, Alexandria a different one entirely, and Antioch another still, during the Ecumenical Councils.

ialmisry, I said CONVENTIONAL spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian reckoning. The ASTRONOMICAL equinox is now March 8, but I am trying to argue in this thread that the Church doesn't care.
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« Reply #1093 on: December 08, 2009, 05:05:14 PM »

"ialmisry, I said CONVENTIONAL spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian reckoning. The ASTRONOMICAL equinox is now March 8, but I am trying to argue in this thread that the Church doesn't care."

Astronomical Vernal Equinox on March 8?  In what calendar?  This is insanity!  As it is, we're only little better than the Muslims, who use a solely lunar calendar with a pperpetually short year that moves the Hajj around the solar year like a pony on a merry-go-round.  Surely, we can do better than that!
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« Reply #1094 on: December 08, 2009, 05:10:10 PM »

"ialmisry, I said CONVENTIONAL spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian reckoning. The ASTRONOMICAL equinox is now March 8, but I am trying to argue in this thread that the Church doesn't care."

Astronomical Vernal Equinox on March 8?  In what calendar?  This is insanity!  As it is, we're only little better than the Muslims, who use a solely lunar calendar with a pperpetually short year that moves the Hajj around the solar year like a pony on a merry-go-round.  Surely, we can do better than that!

Sorry what we meant was that the astronomical equinox is now on March 8 of the Julian calendar. And as far as I know, the Church has never had a problem with Islam's calendar, but rather certain tenets of the Muslim faith.
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« Reply #1095 on: December 08, 2009, 06:06:28 PM »

For once I agree with witega!  Smiley

I would add one thing: while local churches are responsible for their own Menaia, they have all traditionally had to follow the same calendar, since every year they had to determine the Pascha together with respect to the conventional spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian calendar. Differences in the Menaia were always with respect to a common calendar, at least since the time of the Seven Councils, which is what I understand the council of 1583 to refer to by 'Paschalion and Menologion'. I.e. the determination of the date of Pascha AND the determination of the dates of the solar calendar were fixed by tradition. A local church may decide to move a commemoration from one day on the calendar to another, but a local church did not have the authority to adopt a new calendar entirely.

Again, you are making claims that cannot be supported by history. At the time of Nicea, there were at least multiple calendars in use by local Churches: to name only the top ones, Rome and Constantinople used the Julian calendar (first promulgated by Julius Caesar); Armenia had its own unrelated calendar; and Alexandria used the Egyptian calendar (far older than any of the others).

When St. Athanasius wrote a letter to the whole church, he included the Julian date as that was the imperial calendar, but on communications strictly within his own Patriarchate he used only the Egyptian date.

Nicea stated that everyone should celebrate Pascha on the same Sunday 'in the same way as Rome and Alexandria'. However, Rome and Alexandria were not actually using the same Paschalion at that point, although they agreed on all the major criteria (vernal equinox, not with the Jews, on a Sunday). Alexandria used the nineteen-year Metonic cycle; Rome started with 112-year cycle of Hippolytus, switched to an 84 year cycle before finally officially adopting the Alexandrian cycle in 525. (Resulting in the later, and better known in the West, controversy with the Celtic Church since the Irish monks were using the original Roman Hippolytan calculation while Rome had now switched to match Alexandria). The various methodologies matched most of the time, but did occasionally vary which led to a number of texts produced between 300 and 700 about how best to calculate Pascha--and to Rome's eventual switch to match Alexandria.

None of the Paschalion's under discussion cared about the calendrical Julian date of the equinox *at all*. When Julius Caesar revised the Roman calendar to create the Julian, the equinoxes were fixed on April 25th and October 25th (with the solstices on June 25th and Dec 25th, hence the date of Nativity). When the Fathers of Alexandra, 4 centuries later, went to determine the date of Pascha, they used the actual vernal equinox--which fell on March 21st of the Julian calendar by then, although that didn't matter to them since they weren't using that calendar. All the various cycles mentioned above started with an actual observed date of the equinox and then tried to calculate it out into the future.



The *only* reason that by the 11th century, the Church was using a single calendar (and related menaion) is because of schism and heresy. The Copts had left, the Armenians had left, the Persians had left, with the result that the only those parts of the Church which had always used Julius Caesar's imperial calendar or the barbarian nations (Celts, Germans, Greeks) who had received their literate culture (and therefore calendar) directly from Rome/Constantinople remained. One can interpret this one of two ways: One can say that their calendrical disunity somehow contributed to their leaving  or that the only reason we had one calendar in the second millenium was because of schism and heresy. You'll probably choose the first explanation, but then you'll need to explain why the Egyptian calendar wasn't a problem for St. Athanasius, St. Anthony or St. Cyril AND why no Father involved in the polemics around those splits ever identified the calendar as a relevant issue. That leaves schism and heresy as the reasons--and schism and heresy are never the work of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #1096 on: December 08, 2009, 06:14:34 PM »

ialmisry, let's say you are right, and that at the time the calendar used to determine the Pascha was adopted, the Church was concerned, among other things, with determining the most scientifically accurate date of the equinox at the time. That date happened to be March 21 by the Julian reckoning.
No, according to the Julian reckoning it was March 25. According to the revised Julian calendar adopted by the Fathers at Nicea

Quote
However, as your evidence shows, it was not scientific accuracy per se which was the concern of the Fathers, but rather the desire to free our determination of Pascha from the calculations of the rabbis. By fixing our own calendar and our own designation of the equinox, we would be able to proceed with our festal celebrations independently of the Jews.

That's because the Jews determined spring by the ripening of barley in the Holy Land.  By basing the calendar on what caused the ripening of barley, i.e. spring, the Fathers eliminated the rabbis as middle men of the calendar.


Quote
Now while you have provided evidence that the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council were concerned with finding an astronomically correct date for the equinox, you have not provided evidence that the Church subsequently has shown any interest in astronomical accuracy.

The development and adoption of Milutin Milanković's calendar shows otherwise.

Quote
Rather, the Church has rejected proposals for revision of the calendar.

Particular patriarchs, with a knee jerk reaction to other issues, rejected revision of the calendar.  They are not the Church.

Quote
To me the evidence rather strongly points to a satisfaction with the date of the conventional equinox and the other conventional dates of the patristic calendar.
The Fathers used the term "Ισημερία" "equal-day."  The calendar that has the equinox on the day when daylight is equal to night, IS the patristic calendar.  Or what other terms of the Fathers do you want to bleach free of any meaning?
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« Reply #1097 on: December 08, 2009, 06:39:34 PM »

For once I agree with witega!  Smiley

I would add one thing: while local churches are responsible for their own Menaia, they have all traditionally had to follow the same calendar, since every year they had to determine the Pascha together with respect to the conventional spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian calendar.

No, now it is March 8.


Quote
Differences in the Menaia were always with respect to a common calendar, at least since the time of the Seven Councils, which is what I understand the council of 1583 to refer to by 'Paschalion and Menologion'. I.e. the determination of the date of Pascha AND the determination of the dates of the solar calendar were fixed by tradition. A local church may decide to move a commemoration from one day on the calendar to another, but a local church did not have the authority to adopt a new calendar entirely.

As witega points out correctly, Rome used a calendar, Constantinople used that one and another, Alexandria a different one entirely, and Antioch another still, during the Ecumenical Councils.

ialmisry, I said CONVENTIONAL spring equinox, which is March 21 by the Julian reckoning. The ASTRONOMICAL equinox is now March 8, but I am trying to argue in this thread that the Church doesn't care.
No, the conventional spring equinox is March 8 by the Julian reckoning.  The day is not equal on April 4.  The astronomical equinox comes on the 20 or 21 of March, but it is conventionally fixed on the 21st every year, and an extra day intercalculated every so often ("leap year") to keep it that way.  The Iranian calendar starts with the Astronomical equinox, which falls on 1 Farvardin, March 20 or 21, as the case may be.
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« Reply #1098 on: December 09, 2009, 12:19:41 AM »

@ witega

Since the Copts and Armenians had left the Orthodox Church by the end of the fifth century, we are still talking about over a thousand years of a common calendar for all the Orthodox by the 16th century. The Church by the 16th century certainly believed the common calendar was mandated by Tradition. Your only argument so far has been that the councils of 1583, 1587 and 1593 were not expressing the voice of the Church. That argument itself is based on what appears to me a legalistic and scholastic notion that only what has been bequeathed to us in written form may express the authority of the Holy Spirit, and that therefore the Council of 1583 was in error in attributing the common calendar to the authority of the Church, since there was no previous document explicitly mandating a common calendar, except whatever may be implicit in the written mandates for a common Pascha, which obviously must depend on a common calendar in some form. The consideration that perhaps the Councils of the 16th century were also appealing to unwritten Tradition, and the universal custom of the Orthodox Church as had been established by then for so many centuries, seems not to have crossed your mind.

Heresy and schism are promoted by the Evil One, but I don't see how you get from there to implying that the unity of the calendar is the fault of the Evil One. Unity seems to me the evidence of Divine action. How exactly would you describe the effect your new calendar has had on the Church? Is it from God?
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« Reply #1099 on: December 14, 2009, 04:56:30 PM »

Nicea stated that everyone should celebrate Pascha on the same Sunday 'in the same way as Rome and Alexandria'.
So it is official Church teaching that everyone should celebrate Easter on the same Sunday, in the same way as Rome and Alexandria. Is the Eastern Orthodox Church  in violation or in accord with this official Church teaching?
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« Reply #1100 on: December 14, 2009, 05:20:33 PM »

Nicea stated that everyone should celebrate Pascha on the same Sunday 'in the same way as Rome and Alexandria'.
So it is official Church teaching that everyone should celebrate Easter on the same Sunday, in the same way as Rome and Alexandria. Is the Eastern Orthodox Church  in violation or in accord with this official Church teaching?
The Orthodox Church is in accord with this official Church teaching, and they concelebrate with Alexandria.

Rome, however, adopted a new calendar a while ago, and now celebrates according to a different teaching.
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« Reply #1101 on: December 14, 2009, 07:09:26 PM »

Nicea stated that everyone should celebrate Pascha on the same Sunday 'in the same way as Rome and Alexandria'.
So it is official Church teaching that everyone should celebrate Easter on the same Sunday, in the same way as Rome and Alexandria. Is the Eastern Orthodox Church  in violation or in accord with this official Church teaching?
The Orthodox Church is in accord with this official Church teaching, and they concelebrate with Alexandria.

Rome, however, adopted a new calendar a while ago, and now celebrates according to a different teaching.
IIRC, one clause in the Nicene rules for scheduling Pascha is that the Church in Alexandria, not the Church in Rome, is the final arbiter of when to celebrate the feast.
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« Reply #1102 on: December 14, 2009, 07:14:15 PM »

I hate to say it but some folks (like Mr. Gress) are incapable of seeing reason. Perhaps the best thing is to let him live in his fantasy land; this issue is of no real consequence.
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« Reply #1103 on: December 14, 2009, 07:16:13 PM »

I hate to say it but some folks (like Mr. Gress) are incapable of seeing reason. Perhaps the best thing is to let him live in his fantasy land; this issue is of no real consequence.
Of no real consequence to whom?  I wouldn't be so dismissive of the opinions of others if I were you, for you run the risk of having your own opinions dismissed by others, and in the same way.
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« Reply #1104 on: December 15, 2009, 10:34:09 PM »

I hate to say it but some folks (like Mr. Gress) are incapable of seeing reason. Perhaps the best thing is to let him live in his fantasy land; this issue is of no real consequence.
Of no real consequence to whom?  I wouldn't be so dismissive of the opinions of others if I were you, for you run the risk of having your own opinions dismissed by others, and in the same way.

I do not believe that I arrived at my conclusion hastily for this issue has been debated for a long time (over 1000 posts in this thread alone). Secondly, everybody seems to be repeating the same thing over and over again. Thirdly, Isa, Witega and yourself, among others, have conclusively shown certain facts that Mr. Gress has continuously ignored or failed to refute. Finally, I would ask if the calendar is ordained by God, if the use of any particular calendar is necessary for one's salvation, and if the use of differing calendars has constrained most folks from inter-communion. The answers are No, No and No. Some of these Old Calendarists (unlike the vast majority of them) are making a mountain out of mole hill, and even a much smaller minority are using it as a reason for schism and condemnation. So, yes this issue is of real consequence to a few brethren but so is a really rare disease (for those people who are afflicted by it). However, unlike those people with the rare disease, this issue is a self-imposed handicap to those folks who make it such a consequential matter.
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« Reply #1105 on: December 18, 2009, 11:47:47 PM »

 The words "old calendar," are a misnomer. There is only the Church's calendar. The so called "new calendar" has been synodically condemned a dozen times and there is no excuse for an Orthodox Christian to use it.
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« Reply #1106 on: December 19, 2009, 12:12:50 AM »

^

Thanks for making my point.
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« Reply #1107 on: December 19, 2009, 12:39:41 PM »

By chance was reminded of this, from the Pedalion, quoting the Apostolic canons:
Quote
7. If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.

(Ap. cc. LXI, LXX, LXXI; c. XI of the 6th; c. I of Antioch; cc. XXXVII, XXXVIII of Laodicea; and cc. LX, LXXXI, CXVII of Carthage.).


Interpretation.

The sun passes through two equinoxes during the year, one in the springtime and the other in the season of autumn. They are called equinoxes because the day is then equal to the night, and, conversely, the night is equal to the day. The autumnal equinox occurs during September when the sun is entering the first division of the zodiac, called Libra (i.e., the Balance), not of the starry and sensible one, but of the starless and supersensible one. The vernal, or spring, equinox, on the other hand, occurs in the month of March, when the sun is entering the first sign of the zodiac, called Aries (i.e., the Ram), not of the sensible and starry one, wliich is really variable, but of the supersensible and starless one, which is really invariable, according to astronomers. Well, this vernal equinox, because of an irregularity of the sun’s course in its motion from west to east, does not occur always on one and the same day, but in the time of the holy Apostles it was on the 22nd day of the month of Drystrus, or March, according to the Injunction of the same Apostles (Book V, chap. 17), or, according to others, on the 23rd; whereas, at the time of the First Ecumenical Council it was on the 21st day of March, according to Sebastus and others. And now in our times it occurs on the llth, or even the 10th nearly, of March (for, according to the older astronomers, Ptolemy and others, the equinox descends a full day of 24 hours in the course of a little over three hundred years; but according to modern astronomers it descends the space of a day and night in 134 years, as appears on page 540 of the Tome of love).

These facts having already become known, the present Apostolical Canon ordains that any bishop or presbyter or deacon that celebrates holy Easter before the equinox of spring, with the legal Passover of the Jews, is to be deposed from office (for even among the Jews the wisest and most learned ones observed the celebration of Passover at the time of the equinox, according to Blastaris, just as Moses had enjoined it, but the less refined ones celebrated it before the equinox in accordance with the present Canon, and consequently they celebrated Passover twice in the same year, as is made plainly evident in the letter Emperor Constantine concerning Easter, which is to be found in Book I of the history written by Theodoret, chap. 10, or 9 according to others). But when is this performed? After the equinox, that is to say, and after the legal Passover. After the equinox, of course, because the equinox, because of its being a measure dividing the whole year into two halves, in case we celebrate Easter before the equinox, will make us observe Easter twice in the same year; and, in that event, we should consequently be marking the death of the Son of God twice. But if we celebrate it after the equinox, we observe but one Easter, and consequently denounce but one death of Christ. That is why the Apostles themselves, in their Injunctions (Bk. V, ch. 17), say the following: "Brethren, you must fix the days of Easter accurately, with all diligence, after the turn of the equinox, and not commemorate one suffering twice a year, but once a year Him who died but once."

Again, after the Passover of the Jews, for one thing, in order to have the type, or, more plainly speaking, the slaughter of the lamb, precede, and have what is typified, or, more plainly speaking, the death and resurrection of the Lord, afterwards follow. And, for another thing, in order not to celebrate it on any other day of the week, as the Jews celebrate Passover on any day that happens to be the fourteenth of the moon, but always on a Sunday, and the Apostles also say in the same place. On this account, moreover, whenever it so happens that the legal Passover falls on a Sunday, we do not celebrate Easter on that day, but on Sunday next thereafter, to avoid celebrating along with the Jews. For, even according to the very truth of the matter, it was then that the Jews first celebrated their Passover, and the resurrection of the Lord occurred afterwards, the Easter which we now celebrate every year serving as a figure to remind us of it.
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« Reply #1108 on: December 20, 2009, 07:03:48 PM »

I find this passage from the Pedalion interesting both for its slight inaccuracies and because it prescribes a different formula from what is being done by anyone.

The inaccuracies are, naturally, in its description of what the Jews do. 14 Nisan theoretically ought to follow the true equinox as closely as possible, which is to say, it should always fall either on the date of the vernal full moon or one day later (depending on the variation of Rosh Hoshanah in order to keep Yom Kippur off an unacceptable day). Of course, it does not, because they are using a calculated system which is occasionally a month late.

But more to the point is the implicit assertion that the proper calculation of Easter is simply to use the first Sunday after 14 Nisan instead of using an independent calculation.
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« Reply #1109 on: December 20, 2009, 09:25:14 PM »

What an issue....  Cheesy
It's true, that a lot of people in Greece that are zealots favour or belong to the old calendar community.
But it's sad that the people who have reached the upper spiritual step of vision of the Uncreated light do not -as far I know- agree. For example, Elder Porphyrios the Capsocalybite(situated in Mt. Athos) said, when asked, that this is a scientific matter and scientists should be asked instead of him. And I don't recall his having said sth like this ever before, or after....   laugh A diabolical coincidence? Not out of the question.  Smiley Great to be back...!  Wink

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« Reply #1110 on: December 20, 2009, 09:30:00 PM »

What an issue....  Cheesy
It's true, that a lot of people in Greece that are zealots favour or belong to the old calendar community.
But it's sad that the people who have reached the upper spiritual step of vision of the Uncreated light do not -as far I know- agree. For example, Elder Porphyrios the Capsocalybite(situated in Mt. Athos) said, when asked, that this is a scientific matter and scientists should be asked instead of him. And I don't recall his having said sth like this ever before, or after....   laugh A diabolical coincidence? Not out of the question.  Smiley Great to be back...!  Wink


Diabolical coincidence? Huh I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say with this question. Undecided  Could you please explain?
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« Reply #1111 on: December 20, 2009, 09:44:02 PM »

What an issue....  Cheesy
It's true, that a lot of people in Greece that are zealots favour or belong to the old calendar community.
But it's sad that the people who have reached the upper spiritual step of vision of the Uncreated light do not -as far I know- agree. For example, Elder Porphyrios the Capsocalybite(situated in Mt. Athos) said, when asked, that this is a scientific matter and scientists should be asked instead of him. And I don't recall his having said sth like this ever before, or after....   laugh A diabolical coincidence? Not out of the question.  Smiley Great to be back...!  Wink


Diabolical coincidence? Huh I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say with this question. Undecided  Could you please explain?
By all means...
Let's see : http://www.thefreedictionary.com/diabolical
Now, "diabolical coincidence" is actually a translation of a greek saying.

I myself mean that the truth might lie elsewhere(regarding what I think), despite the fact that Elders of the highest spiritual level tended to reject the idea of separation from the church because of this "scientific" issue. Hope I helped a little....
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« Reply #1112 on: January 04, 2010, 05:31:49 PM »



Again, you are making claims that cannot be supported by history. At the time of Nicea, there were at least multiple calendars in use by local Churches: to name only the top ones, Rome and Constantinople used the Julian calendar (first promulgated by Julius Caesar); Armenia had its own unrelated calendar; and Alexandria used the Egyptian calendar (far older than any of the others).

When St. Athanasius wrote a letter to the whole church, he included the Julian date as that was the imperial calendar, but on communications strictly within his own Patriarchate he used only the Egyptian date.

Nicea stated that everyone should celebrate Pascha on the same Sunday 'in the same way as Rome and Alexandria'. However, Rome and Alexandria were not actually using the same Paschalion at that point, although they agreed on all the major criteria (vernal equinox, not with the Jews, on a Sunday). Alexandria used the nineteen-year Metonic cycle; Rome started with 112-year cycle of Hippolytus, switched to an 84 year cycle before finally officially adopting the Alexandrian cycle in 525. (Resulting in the later, and better known in the West, controversy with the Celtic Church since the Irish monks were using the original Roman Hippolytan calculation while Rome had now switched to match Alexandria). The various methodologies matched most of the time, but did occasionally vary which led to a number of texts produced between 300 and 700 about how best to calculate Pascha--and to Rome's eventual switch to match Alexandria.


The solution is obvious! Let's all return to the Egyptian Calendar.  Wink The Coptic Church still uses it. For your reference here's a link explaining the calendar http://www.copticchurch.net/easter.html
And this one maps dates to the Gregorian for this year:
http://www.suscopts.org/stgeorgedaytona/Annual_Calendar_2010.html

Problem solved  Grin
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« Reply #1113 on: January 04, 2010, 06:25:47 PM »



Again, you are making claims that cannot be supported by history. At the time of Nicea, there were at least multiple calendars in use by local Churches: to name only the top ones, Rome and Constantinople used the Julian calendar (first promulgated by Julius Caesar); Armenia had its own unrelated calendar; and Alexandria used the Egyptian calendar (far older than any of the others).

When St. Athanasius wrote a letter to the whole church, he included the Julian date as that was the imperial calendar, but on communications strictly within his own Patriarchate he used only the Egyptian date.

Nicea stated that everyone should celebrate Pascha on the same Sunday 'in the same way as Rome and Alexandria'. However, Rome and Alexandria were not actually using the same Paschalion at that point, although they agreed on all the major criteria (vernal equinox, not with the Jews, on a Sunday). Alexandria used the nineteen-year Metonic cycle; Rome started with 112-year cycle of Hippolytus, switched to an 84 year cycle before finally officially adopting the Alexandrian cycle in 525. (Resulting in the later, and better known in the West, controversy with the Celtic Church since the Irish monks were using the original Roman Hippolytan calculation while Rome had now switched to match Alexandria). The various methodologies matched most of the time, but did occasionally vary which led to a number of texts produced between 300 and 700 about how best to calculate Pascha--and to Rome's eventual switch to match Alexandria.


The solution is obvious! Let's all return to the Egyptian Calendar.  Wink The Coptic Church still uses it. For your reference here's a link explaining the calendar http://www.copticchurch.net/easter.html
And this one maps dates to the Gregorian for this year:
http://www.suscopts.org/stgeorgedaytona/Annual_Calendar_2010.html

Problem solved  Grin
LOL. As attractive as that is 1) the star Sirius no longer rises on 1 Thouth 2) then Nile does rises no longer.  So, not only being out of sync with the Sun, is out of synct with the stars and the Nile.
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« Reply #1114 on: February 05, 2010, 01:30:54 PM »

^

Thanks for making my point.
Second Chance,

It really all boils down to the spirit of western idealism, secularism, Protestantism, nihilism, and the list that goes on and on. The reason the calendar is as big of as issue as it is is the spirit behind the change. The calendar within in itself is not salvific, but the spirit behind it sure influences greatly the direction different jurisdictions have taken. It is so much more then just about dates...

New Calendar churches are much more open to adopting western secularism, adopting Protestant idealism, and liberalism in general. Don't have to be a genius to figure this out. Just look at the three biggest, and most liberal in the U.S. GOA, AOC, & OCA.

I do agree that schism is most unfortunate and it is best to pray and love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
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« Reply #1115 on: February 05, 2010, 01:59:21 PM »

Most of this 'liberalism' in New Calendar churches seems imagined to me. It's a difficult term to define as it is, then to throw it at millions of people without any qualifications seems entirely uncharitable.  Any of the new calendar churches I've ever attended were very obviously filled with the Holy Spirit.

There are very traditionally minded people within the aforementioned dioceses in the USA who are entirely committed to all aspects of tradition, including cosmetics like clerical dress and whatever else.
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« Reply #1116 on: February 05, 2010, 02:02:22 PM »

Right, I think I agree with iavrishevo on the 'spirit'. I'm not sure anyone here is convinced by the other side, no matter how outwardly rational the argument, because ultimately this is a matter of the 'spirit of the law'. I just have a strongly unpleasant 'gut feeling' about the mainstream, so-called 'World Orthodox' churches. I can provide examples of what actions and words prompt this feeling, but all too often clever arguments can be employed to explain away these instances. So, for instance, when the Pope visited the Phanar back in 2006, you can see on the video where the deacon prays for the health of the Pope and even bows to him. However, someone sufficiently intelligent and lawyerly can explain this away by saying: 'Well, how do you KNOW that the Pope and the Patriarch were actually PRAYING together. You could also interpret this event as the Pope merely visiting the church and attending the liturgy. Does that mean we shouldn't allow visitors to come to the liturgy?' and so on and so forth. As for the deacon, you might argue 'Well, the deacon was merely praying for the Pope's health. Don't we also pray for the secular authorities, even if they aren't Orthodox? Should we stop doing that, too?' etc etc. Those who are willing to be convinced by these arguments can be convinced, but I am not convinced since I just don't interpret these events the same way. We can interpret events so differently because ultimately there isn't a purely objective definition of 'praying together' or any other such thing: it's a judgment call for each Christian what counts as praying together and what doesn't, and in order to make that call we have to apply our spiritual, super-rational judgment, which in turn can only be cultivated in the context of Orthodox praxis.

I hope this helps.
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« Reply #1117 on: February 05, 2010, 02:06:23 PM »

Greetings Alveus Lacuna,

Please don't misunderstand me. I make no accusations of anyone in-particular or as a group of faithful. I speak of those that direct our churches here in America, our leadership, and those who represent the image of Christ here on Earth. It comes from the top down.

In my experience it is no illusion, I see it constantly.
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« Reply #1118 on: February 05, 2010, 02:13:23 PM »

lavrishevo, are you under the Ecumenical Patriarch in the United States?
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« Reply #1119 on: February 05, 2010, 02:21:48 PM »

lavrishevo, are you under the Ecumenical Patriarch in the United States?

Yes, we are under the EP under of the diocese of Metropolitan Athenagoras of Panama and Central America, the Caribbean, Etc. We also follow the Old Calendar. Believe it or not!  Wink

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« Reply #1120 on: February 05, 2010, 02:26:25 PM »

How did that happen? He makes the Athonite (Ephraim) monasteries in his jurisdiction within the United States keep the New Calendar, so why wouldn't he either impose it on you as well or allow the monks in the USA to keep the Old Calendar as they wish to?
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« Reply #1121 on: February 05, 2010, 02:31:36 PM »

How did that happen? He makes the Athonite (Ephraim) monasteries in his jurisdiction within the United States keep the New Calendar, so why wouldn't he either impose it on you as well or allow the monks in the USA to keep the Old Calendar as they wish to?

Things are not black and white. We are a pan-Orthodox community here in PR and non of the clergy are ethnically Greek. Actually, the head of our parish and secretary for the diocese, also my Kum, is Serbian. Met. Amfilohije's cousin. This how I spent 32 days serving and traveling both Serbia and Montenegro... the most inspirational and Orthodox country I have ever been. We have in our parish Russians, Serbians, Maldovans, Greeks, Americans, Puerto Ricans, Etc.

Also, I can not say enough about Met. Amfilohije, a living saint!

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« Reply #1122 on: February 05, 2010, 10:48:47 PM »

I also see the "spirit" behind new calendarism as leading to some dangerous compromises. On the other hand, it seems to me that worse things have befallen the Church in its history without automatically rendering her graceless as some Old Calendarists seem to believe.
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« Reply #1123 on: February 06, 2010, 09:51:40 PM »

Well, you're absolutely right that not all kinds of divisions are schisms, leading to separation and loss of grace. Fr Anastasios reminded me that St Basil distinguishes between schism and parasynagogue, where in the latter some kind of division has arisen leading to a break in communion (e.g. some canonical infraction), but the situation doesn't entail that the other side has abandoned the Church.

It has been a great tragedy that Orthodox traditionalists have divided themselves over the issue of whether the New Calendarists, or the other mainstream Orthodox churches, have grace or not, since it isn't really a matter of faith, and it's possible to hold different opinions on this without betraying the goal of our struggle, which is the preservation of Orthodoxy from erosion by ecumenism. At least this is the attitude in my jurisdiction on the whole. The other side of this coin, from our perspective, is that whether or not we believe the New Calendarists have grace doesn't change the fact that we must not have communion with them as long as they are continuing on their path to heresy. Some may believe they have already gone over the cliff, others may believe they haven't yet reached the precipice, but in neither case is it sensible to go along with them.

On this Sunday we remember the Last Judgment, when we will be called to account for our deeds. Let us not be condemned for going along with evil against our consciences!
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« Reply #1124 on: February 07, 2010, 11:01:05 AM »

^

Thanks for making my point.
Second Chance,

It really all boils down to the spirit of western idealism, secularism, Protestantism, nihilism, and the list that goes on and on. The reason the calendar is as big of as issue as it is is the spirit behind the change. The calendar within in itself is not salvific, but the spirit behind it sure influences greatly the direction different jurisdictions have taken. It is so much more then just about dates...

New Calendar churches are much more open to adopting western secularism, adopting Protestant idealism, and liberalism in general. Don't have to be a genius to figure this out. Just look at the three biggest, and most liberal in the U.S. GOA, AOC, & OCA.

As opposed to what?  You just names the vast majority of the Orthodox.

The most ancient Church to stick with the Old Calendar is Jerusalem, where they stick with the idea that the Ottomans system still reigns and the idea of the Phanar as the head of the millet allows the hierarchy to ignore there flock.

The largest Church, of course, still uses the Old Calendar, but the second largest is Romania, which is has no use for western secularism (even  during Communism, over three fourths of the population were Orthodox, and the late patriarch stopped by a word the liberalization of the divorce laws and led the fight against changing the laws on homosexuality to conform to the EU's ideas on the matter), Protestant idealism (the number of Protestants are quite small: in the Patriarchal cathedral here in Chicago there's a priest who went to Romania as a Baptist missionary.  Things didn't go according to plan. Cheesy), nor liberalism in general.

There is a tendencey of Old Calendarists to live in a time warp, e.g. ones who insist that the Czar is necessary for the Church.


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I do agree that schism is most unfortunate and it is best to pray and love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
"Always remember that at the Last Judgment we are judged for loving Him, or failing to love Him, in the least person."

—Archbishop Anastasios of Albania
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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