I actually agree for the most part with the substance of your arguments in favor of the New Calendar, but I still find very troubling the rancor in how you've argued your points. Proclaiming a particular mode of calculating time to be "God's time", thus implying that those who contest your assessment are fighting against God Himself... Disparaging the Julian Calendar by calling it man-made, even against those who revere the Julian Calendar as the Church calendar... Calling arrogant and prideful those who resist the New Calendar and continue to use the Old... I'm afraid the acrimonious tone in your rhetoric will only serve to alienate the very people you want to convince.
Second Chance: The way that the majority of the Orthodox World clings to the Julian calendar actually perverts the decision of the Fathers to (a) tie the date of Pascha to the Vernal Equinox and (b) to standardize the date of the March Equinox as falling on March 21st. The March Equinox actually falls on any one of a narrow range of days (March 20-22) and the Fathers settled on the middle value that was indeed the March Equinox in the year of the decision. Note that the Fathers did not say that the calendar that they used (the Julian calendar) was to be used without any adjustment in perpetuity). The important thing for them was to celebrate Pascha in accordance with God's time--calculated by reference to the March Equinox that is determined by God's natural law and not by any calendar made by man.
It really bothers me that we Orthodox have elevated everything to the same level of importance, authority and holiness. For example, we have condemned "the Papal calendar," as well as the doctrines of Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Religious wars and conflicts have erupted over how to make the sign of the Cross as well as the Aryan heresy. We have separated ourselves from each other because of knots on head coverings, as well as because of the sinfulness of our leaders. And on what evidence do you find the calendar such a trivial issue? The Holy Fathers of Nicea certainly didn't agree with you when they put forth their formula for the annual scheduling of Pascha to make the date of the celebration more astronomically accurate and to make it totally unified throughout the entire Christian world. In so doing, they squelched all other Paschalia and made the Nicene Paschalion the only acceptable one. Is it not therefore tragic that we Orthodox no longer celebrate Christmas and all other fixed-date feasts together anymore, when the Nicene Fathers considered a unified date for Pascha so vitally important? How is this trivial?
It seems to me that far too often we are not discriminating between what is important and what is not. Nothing illustrates this better than the calendar controversy. People who adhere to the Julian Calendar seem unable to see the forest as they are so focused on the trees, leaves, soil, rills, and everything else in the forest. To make things worse they refuse to see the forest! Why is it worth to create a schism over the length of "the time between the Advent Fast and Lent," for example? Mighty big consequence for such a trivial matter, is it not?
Let's put it this way: when the astronomical event of the March Equinox occurs, it falls on one of three days in March (20th, 21st or 22nd). We have two calendars in use (the Julian and the Revised Julian) and only one of them corresponds to God's time. It is not the Julian calendar. Let's face it; we Orthodox have elevated a man-made calendar over God's time. How arrogant and prideful is THAT?
Personally, I agree with you to an extent, but to your opponents, this was and still is very much an issue of submitting to papal authority, and you would do well to respect this when discussing this issue with them. I'm not asking you to compromise what you think is so vitally important. All I'm asking you to do is show much more respect toward those who disagree with you.
Second Chance: Ah, but this is exactly where we have gotten it wrong: It is NOT a matter of submitting to Papal authority. It is a matter of making sure that our calendar is an accurate reflection of God's time, of his Divine natural law. The Julian calendar is deficient in this regard, whether or not the Gregorian calendar ever existed. Are we Orthodox so fragile, so unsure of ourselves, so paranoid that we cannot accept the fact the Pope was correct in this matter? Even a broken and stopped clock is correct twice a day, for heaven's sake!
As for the papal calendar, it is true that it was proposed by the Calabrian doctor Aloysius Lilius and decreed by Pope Gregory XIII (Wikipedia) in 1582 AD. Instead of examining the intrinsic value or truth of this calendar, we Orthodox have fixated on its provenance. Why is it so hard to admit that the Romans were right in this instance and that not everything that they believe in or do are heretical and evil?Why should we submit to papal authority, even in this instance? Can you not see how important it was to the Orthodox faithful in the 16th century (as well as to us in the 21st) to resist any and all incursions of papal authority into the life of the Church, to include the Gregorian Calendar? Submit to the pope on this one issue, and then another, and then another... Where do we draw the line and say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"?
Just a thought... One who admits so readily to being guilty of pride should probably be the last to call out the pride in someone else. IMO, you would do much better to combat your own pride and discuss issues with other people in a spirit of meekness and humility.
Second Chance: I hope that it is the same Lord who died for ALL of us to be able to contribute to the Body. As for pride, yes I am guilty also. It has been my bane for all of my life.
I think we are guilty of the sin of pride. It is this pride that rejects the argument that God's laws of nature trump any of our human attempts to fashion calendars. It is still this pride that perverts the plain meaning of Apostolic Canons and dates in the Menaion. Finally, it is pride in being Super Orthodox that prevents us from discriminating between critical, important, and trivial matters.And it's not prideful for you to so thoroughly minimize and invalidate the clamor of a sizable number of Orthodox who decry or even condemn the New Calendar as a deviation from Tradition? Who died and made you judge?
As for minimizing and invalidating the clamor of so many fellow Orthodox, I am not guilty. It is because this clamor is so large and strong that I am pushing back so hard. Please note that I am appealing not to human opinion but to God's immutable natural law and indeed to the Apostolic Tradition.God's immutable natural law? Again, what makes you think you're qualified to proclaim to us what this is, especially when so many of your opponents disagree with you?
Apostolic Tradition? Can you cite any Fathers, conciliar decrees, or canons that support your point of view? So far you haven't given us anything specific that you haven't first filtered through your rather dogmatic interpretation. If you want to say you're appealing to Apostolic Tradition, then you'd better be able to quote authorities outside of yourself.
By the way, I am the one who brought up the "ists," not Father Ambrose. And, PetertheEleut the Poster went right along by criticizing me for minimizing and invalidating the Old Calendarists. It is therefore odd that PetertheAleut the Section Moderator is jumping all over Father Ambrose. I feel that the esteemed moderator is minimizing and invalidating my own contribution to this mess.Nah! You give yourself too much credit. I don't know if you've taken the time to review my recent debates with Irish Hermit on a couple other concurrent threads, but he and I had been engaged in a pretty good go-round about Old Calendarists and New Calendarists for days before your most recent contributions on this thread. You just unwittingly--and I don't blame you for this --opened the door for Irish Hermit to walk into this discussion with the anti-Old-Calendarist agenda he's been preaching somewhere else. That's why I was so quick to protect the integrity of this thread by telling him to take his anti-Old-Calendarist agenda back where he started it.
I don't think that I will ever get the quotes features to work for me. So, I will be citing Peter's reply and then offer some thoughts.
Peter: I still find very troubling the rancor in how you've argued your points. Proclaiming a particular mode of calculating time to be "God's time", thus implying that those who contest your assessment are fighting against God Himself... Disparaging the Julian Calendar by calling it man-made, even against those who revere the Julian Calendar as the Church calendar...
Me: My intent was to point out that the argument is not merely between competing calendars. I hope to get folks' attention to the fact that there is such a thing as natural law, that is, that part of the His Creation that we are able to understand. An important part of natural law is the way that astronomical objects move and their time frame. We do know from the Scriptures that the movement of these objects can be measured and further described in the dimension of time. The Scriptures have told us that the time dimension includes the measures of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. Our observations tell us about the longest, shortest, and equinox days. We do not suspect but know when these events occur; we just have slightly different ways of overlaying a man-made calendar over the time dimension of Divinely ordained phenomena or God's time. My point is simply that there is a problem if a man-made calendar no longer reflects the divine order. It becomes an even greater problem when folks conflate God's time with any man-made calendar. It becomes a matter of concern to all faithful when some folks cling to an out-of-sync calendar and/or condemn those who try comply with God's time. Thus, I am sorry that some folks' sensibilities may be offended when I say that the Julian calendar is man-made, but it is exactly that. I would welcome any evidence to the contrary, that is, that it was created by Julius Caesar by Divine inspiration. I think I am somewhat like the little boy who cried out that the Emperor had no cloths: I am pointing out something that should be evident to all.
Peter: Calling arrogant and prideful those who resist the New Calendar and continue to use the Old... I'm afraid the acrimonious tone in your rhetoric will only serve to alienate the very people you want to convince.
Me: I am indeed sorry for my strong words. The other side of the coin here is obviously my out-of-control arrogance and pride. I apologize to all Old Calendarists who may have been offended. Furthermore, I do wish to thank Peter for bringing me down to earth.
Peter: God's immutable natural law? Again, what makes you think you're qualified to proclaim to us what this is, especially when so many of your opponents disagree with you?
Me: I do not believe that any of my "opponents" have ever argued from this perspective; therefore, I do not know if any disagrees with me as my points about natural law are usually ignored. In any case, I think I am qualified by my education and one aspect of natural law--a God-given brain. Are you saying that there is a problem with my points about the March Equinox and how this event happens when the sun is exactly over the equator and not because a man-made calendar declares it to be in that state? Conversely, are you saying that we must give the same consideration to the argument that the March Equinox happens whenever the Julian calendar says it does? It is really baffling to me that folks maintain with a straight face that the Church celebrates the Nativity of our Lord on December 25th; however, the date really falls on January 6th (the date in any Christian nation, including Russia--just open any paper on that date, it will NOT say December 25th). Or, if folks have never seen a Menaion, that Christmas happens on January 6th (the same day as the baptism of our Lord)!!!???. My point is again that December 25th (or any other date) should be when it falls astronomically or in God's time. As it happened in Christ's time.
Peter: Apostolic Tradition? Can you cite any Fathers, conciliar decrees, or canons that support your point of view? So far you haven't given us anything specific that you haven't first filtered through your rather dogmatic interpretation.
Me: First, the Council of Nicea, through a letter or proclamation of the Emperor, is said to have decided that the reference point for Paschal calculations is the March Equinox. (This is from a variety of secondary sources but I believe is agreed to by everyone). Second, there was a decision to standardize the date of the March Equinox as March 21st. You alluded to this yourself and again I do not think that anybody would disagree with this. The problem is that while Julian calendar's March 21st at that point in time corresponded to one of three days that the March Equinox happens, the Julian calendar drifted away from the actual equinox over the centuries as is now 13 days off. In my arguments, I humbly submit that there are no deviations from either Natural Law or Apostolic practice and teachings. I ask for arguments and facts to the contrary and declare myself amenable to persuasion. I do have a hard head but I usually bow down to facts and superior logic--eventually.