There seem to be many people who believe (or at least try to justify) the new calendar on the grounds of scientific accuracy, or for purely pragmatic, secular reasons (the "when in Rome" argument - after all, it is the modern western world, which is on the Gregorian calendar, which is the hub of commerce, no?)
However, either argument is found wanting in the extreme.Scientific Accuracy
calendar can claim to be 100% "scientifically accurate". This is true of both the Gregorian calendar, and it's sophistically titled clone, the "revised Julian calendar." Also the question should be asked, "just how important is this 'accuracy' to begin with?, particularly for an obviously ecclessiastical calendar? Particularly within the degrees of "accuracy" which we are told the adoption of the "revised calendar" will bring us all?Commerce Argument
- How does the current arrangement/dominion of the western nations in such matters have a thing to do with an ecclessiastical
calendar? Since when do such things have anything to do with the celebration of fixed feasts? Orthodox Christians would not be the only religious people finding themselves with a religious calendar that differs from the secular one - how are Jews and Muslims suffering, by using the secular calendar for business matters, while using another for religious purposes?
However, what ultimatly needs to be recognized is that both arguments (scientific accuracy, and commerce) point to reasons which had nothing to do with why
the EP (and a few others, later on) adopted the "new calendar" to begin with. If one reads the Patriarchal Enyclical
of the EP from 1920, it is very
clear why this disruption was introduced into the life of the Church - to facillitate the ecumenical movement
. This document sets into motion a line of thinking which has caused nothing but chaos in the Orthodox world, a bad momentum which is still "snow balling" so to speak.
The text embodies the very sort of "bad ecumenism", if only in seed form, which would come to be recognized as an ecclessiological heresy by any number of 20th century Orthodox confessors, including those who for their own reasons did not opt to cease commemorating the EP or refuse communion with him and those with him (thus to avoid the conclusion of some that only "schismatic" nut jobs think in this way.) It's precisely this heretical
ecumenism which would decades later, after much suffering and admonishment, would be anathematized
by the Holy Synod of the ROCOR in 1983.
The text is addressed to the "Churches of Christ everywhere" in it's title, yet is clearly addressed to all heterodox bodies of every degree of estrangement, thus creating a stated equivelency between schisms and heresies with the Orthodox Church which is simply not a reflection of reality. The document also reduces the seperation of these groups from the Orthodox Church to a break down of charity and nastiness on all
sides, rather than state the truth that fundamentally these divisions persist because of dogmatic
Indeed, the change of the calendar is the first
thing suggested by this unfortunate document, in pursuing this misguided agenda. So there should be no mistake; the new calendar was hatched, and imposed on many Orthodox faithful, to pursue a movement whose Orthodox participation from the begining
was imbued with falsehood.
Besides the more fundamental "muddying" of the real distinctions which exist between the Orthodox Church and those outside of Her, the document takes for granted that unity can be achieved by "pretending" everyone is closer than they really, objectively are - that somehow the indulgence of anti-canonical activities (and they are so for a reason
- they were not simply the bigotry of the ancients), or "going through the motions" would of itself help solve dogmatic differences, rather than simply cast them into the oblivion of lukewarm neglect. Sadly, if anything, the non-Orthodox parties involved in the various ecumenical congresses since that time, have if anything moved further
away from the truth, not closer to it in the course of these dialogues, joint prayers, co-liturgizing, etc.
I also dare say, with a great deal of sadness, that it can also be said that many who pride themselves as being in the canonical unity of the Orthodox Church have also themselves
"moved away" from the truth, from the clarity and purity of the Orthodox confession, in the time that they have associated themselves with this movement. This is precisely why the Holy Fathers and our Canons have forbidden the activities which play such an important part of the ecumenical movement - because such equivocating and comprimises endager Orthodox Christians themselves, and as bad, do nothing to motivate the heterodox to get their affairs in order, and return to the unity of the one Church of Christ. If anything, they are legitimized by such activities.
So it is this rotten ecumenism, which explains the calendar change - not scientific scruples, or commerce related issues. And this is precisely why no luminary of the Church in the 20th century that I'm
aware of had a good thing to say about it, including those who chose to remain in communion with the EP.