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Author Topic: Old vs. New Calendar?  (Read 207201 times) Average Rating: 0
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Maria
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« Reply #2250 on: January 20, 2014, 01:16:49 AM »

The 14 day of Nisan is also the historic day of the Jewish Passover, so it was understood that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover, which it always does in the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, the calculations of the Gregorian Calendar make it possible for the West to celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover which violates the spirit of the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council.
For purposes of computing Easter, the 14th of the Christian Nisan is the "Jewish Passover".  Whatever our Jewish neighbors do is of no mathematical significance.  The computation has only one Passover, that computed by Christians, not two, one computed by Christians and the other by the Rabbinic calendar.

This year, 2014, both East and West will celebrate Pascha on April 20. The Orthodox Pascha always comes after the Jewish Passover in accordance with the spirit of the decree of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, in 2005 the West celebrated Pascha on March 27, but the Jews did not celebrate Passover until April 24.
April 24 was Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5765, the first Day of Unleavened Bread.  Our pocket calendars call 15 Nisan "Passover", but in the Easter computation "Passover" means 14 Nisan, not 15 Nisan.  Rabbinic 14 Nisan 5765 was April 23, 2005. But as already stated, the only 14 Nisan that enters into the Easter computation is the Christian one, not the one from the Rabbinic calendar.  In 2005, Gregorian 14 Nisan was March 25th. Since this was after the equinox, it complied with the implicit (though not explicit) Nicene rule of the equinox.  Since it was computed independently of any Jewish calendars, it complied with the explicit Nicene rule of independence.

Quote from: frjohnmorris
In 2015, the West will celebrate Pascha on April 5, the same date that the Jews will celebrate Passover, something that is strictly forbidden by the Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
Again you seem to be using "Passover" in its modern sense of 15 Nisan.  In the context of the Easter computation, this is anachronistic.  Also, Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5775 will be Saturday, April 4th, not Sunday, April 5th. April 5th will be within the days of Unleavened Bread, of course.  If you mean to say that Easter must always fall after the Rabbinic days of Unleavened Bread are over, then you are mistaken.  Even your computation puts Easter sometimes within the Rabbinic calendar's days of Unleavened Bread, as it will this year, 2014, when the scriptural seven days of Unleavened Bread in the Rabbinic calendar will fall on 15-21 April in the civil calendar.

Canon 1 of Antioch is obsolete:  It refers to a situation that no longer exists, unless there are Karaite groups that sometimes define their Nisan in a way that allows their Passover to fall before the equinox.  That is, the canon forbids setting Easter to the 3rd Sunday in Jewish Nisan when Jewish Nisan falls too early.  (Apostolic Canon 7 covers the same ground, more explicitly.)  Antioch Canon 1 does not forbid Easter fortuitously to coincide with the third Sunday in Jewish Nisan if Jewish Nisan is computed correctly, nor does it require us to celebrate after the Jewish festival if Jewish Nisan is set too late from the Christian point of view, as it sometimes is in our time.  Our calculations are independent of the Jewish ones:  whatever date our Jewish friends calculate for their festival, we are required by the Nicene decision to take no account of it whatsoever in calculating our festival.  Insisting that Easter must fall after Rabbinic 15 Nisan adds a spurious rule to the traditional calculation and is a direct violation of the Nicene decision.

The Gregorian Calendar does not use the actual Spring Equinox, but follows tables written in the 16the century. that at that time were the best scientific guesses on when the Spring Equinox  would take place, but  now, the date of the Spring Equinox set by the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect. My point is that if we Orthodox are going to make a change on our calculation of the date of Pascha, we should make it according to scientific standards, not just to celebrate Pascha with the West.
The secular drift in the Gregorian calendar is very slow.  Overlaid on the secular drift, however, is an oscillation of the mean equinox about its average position in the Gregorian calendar, as well as an oscillation of the true equinox about its mean.  The discrepancy you refer to is mainly a result of these oscillations, not of the much smaller secular drift, as you seem to want to imply.  For the next two thousand years or so the average Spring equinox year of around 365.2424 days will remain close to the Gregorian tropical year of 365.2425 days, and so the mean equinox will remain close to its formal Gregorian date of March 21.  

Put another way, the Gregorian calendar almost always agrees with the astronomical method.  The only year in the next few years in which the astronomical method gives a different date is 2019, when the astronomical method would set Easter to March 24th, while the Gregorian lunar calendar sets it to April 21st.  If your party merely converted to the Gregorian calendar, you would be in far better agreement with the astronomical method than you are now.

There is  general agreement among Eastern Orthodox that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as calculated according to the method used by the ancient Jews, not the method used by modern Jews. What is important to Eastern Orthodox is fidelity to the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. I do not believe that the so called calendar issue applies to unmovable feasts, because on Ecumenical Council decreed that the Church must follow the Julian Calendar. However the date of Pasha is a completely different matter because we have precise instructions from the 1st Ecumenical Council on the calculation of the date of Pascha. I  believe that the Church is the ultimate authority on the application of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, not a Roman Pope in schism from the Church like Gregory XIII.

Fr. John W. Morris
What Ecumenical Council decreed that we are to follow the Julian Calendar?

Sheesh PtA!

It looks like a typo. I think he meant to say "no" but accidentally typed "on."
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 01:17:19 AM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #2251 on: January 20, 2014, 01:19:38 AM »

The 14 day of Nisan is also the historic day of the Jewish Passover, so it was understood that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover, which it always does in the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, the calculations of the Gregorian Calendar make it possible for the West to celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover which violates the spirit of the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council.
For purposes of computing Easter, the 14th of the Christian Nisan is the "Jewish Passover".  Whatever our Jewish neighbors do is of no mathematical significance.  The computation has only one Passover, that computed by Christians, not two, one computed by Christians and the other by the Rabbinic calendar.

This year, 2014, both East and West will celebrate Pascha on April 20. The Orthodox Pascha always comes after the Jewish Passover in accordance with the spirit of the decree of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, in 2005 the West celebrated Pascha on March 27, but the Jews did not celebrate Passover until April 24.
April 24 was Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5765, the first Day of Unleavened Bread.  Our pocket calendars call 15 Nisan "Passover", but in the Easter computation "Passover" means 14 Nisan, not 15 Nisan.  Rabbinic 14 Nisan 5765 was April 23, 2005. But as already stated, the only 14 Nisan that enters into the Easter computation is the Christian one, not the one from the Rabbinic calendar.  In 2005, Gregorian 14 Nisan was March 25th. Since this was after the equinox, it complied with the implicit (though not explicit) Nicene rule of the equinox.  Since it was computed independently of any Jewish calendars, it complied with the explicit Nicene rule of independence.

Quote from: frjohnmorris
In 2015, the West will celebrate Pascha on April 5, the same date that the Jews will celebrate Passover, something that is strictly forbidden by the Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
Again you seem to be using "Passover" in its modern sense of 15 Nisan.  In the context of the Easter computation, this is anachronistic.  Also, Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5775 will be Saturday, April 4th, not Sunday, April 5th. April 5th will be within the days of Unleavened Bread, of course.  If you mean to say that Easter must always fall after the Rabbinic days of Unleavened Bread are over, then you are mistaken.  Even your computation puts Easter sometimes within the Rabbinic calendar's days of Unleavened Bread, as it will this year, 2014, when the scriptural seven days of Unleavened Bread in the Rabbinic calendar will fall on 15-21 April in the civil calendar.

Canon 1 of Antioch is obsolete:  It refers to a situation that no longer exists, unless there are Karaite groups that sometimes define their Nisan in a way that allows their Passover to fall before the equinox.  That is, the canon forbids setting Easter to the 3rd Sunday in Jewish Nisan when Jewish Nisan falls too early.  (Apostolic Canon 7 covers the same ground, more explicitly.)  Antioch Canon 1 does not forbid Easter fortuitously to coincide with the third Sunday in Jewish Nisan if Jewish Nisan is computed correctly, nor does it require us to celebrate after the Jewish festival if Jewish Nisan is set too late from the Christian point of view, as it sometimes is in our time.  Our calculations are independent of the Jewish ones:  whatever date our Jewish friends calculate for their festival, we are required by the Nicene decision to take no account of it whatsoever in calculating our festival.  Insisting that Easter must fall after Rabbinic 15 Nisan adds a spurious rule to the traditional calculation and is a direct violation of the Nicene decision.

The Gregorian Calendar does not use the actual Spring Equinox, but follows tables written in the 16the century. that at that time were the best scientific guesses on when the Spring Equinox  would take place, but  now, the date of the Spring Equinox set by the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect. My point is that if we Orthodox are going to make a change on our calculation of the date of Pascha, we should make it according to scientific standards, not just to celebrate Pascha with the West.
The secular drift in the Gregorian calendar is very slow.  Overlaid on the secular drift, however, is an oscillation of the mean equinox about its average position in the Gregorian calendar, as well as an oscillation of the true equinox about its mean.  The discrepancy you refer to is mainly a result of these oscillations, not of the much smaller secular drift, as you seem to want to imply.  For the next two thousand years or so the average Spring equinox year of around 365.2424 days will remain close to the Gregorian tropical year of 365.2425 days, and so the mean equinox will remain close to its formal Gregorian date of March 21.  

Put another way, the Gregorian calendar almost always agrees with the astronomical method.  The only year in the next few years in which the astronomical method gives a different date is 2019, when the astronomical method would set Easter to March 24th, while the Gregorian lunar calendar sets it to April 21st.  If your party merely converted to the Gregorian calendar, you would be in far better agreement with the astronomical method than you are now.

There is  general agreement among Eastern Orthodox that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as calculated according to the method used by the ancient Jews, not the method used by modern Jews. What is important to Eastern Orthodox is fidelity to the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. I do not believe that the so called calendar issue applies to unmovable feasts, because on Ecumenical Council decreed that the Church must follow the Julian Calendar. However the date of Pasha is a completely different matter because we have precise instructions from the 1st Ecumenical Council on the calculation of the date of Pascha. I  believe that the Church is the ultimate authority on the application of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, not a Roman Pope in schism from the Church like Gregory XIII.

Fr. John W. Morris
What Ecumenical Council decreed that we are to follow the Julian Calendar?

Sheesh PtA!

It looks like a typo. I think he meant to say "no" but accidentally typed "on."
I'll wait for Fr. John to correct his "mistake", if it is truly a mistake.
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Mockingbird
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« Reply #2252 on: January 20, 2014, 01:22:06 AM »

There is  general agreement among Eastern Orthodox that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as calculated according to the method used by the ancient Jews, not the method used by modern Jews.
Then why do you find fault with the Gregorian Easter for sometimes coinciding with or preceding the modern Jewish 15 Nisan, as you have done more than once above?  For example, you wrote above

Quote from: frjohnmorris
In 2005 the West celebrated Pascha on March 27, but the Jews did not celebrate Passover until April 24.
But if, as you state in your most recent post, the "method used by modern Jews" is of no importance to the Easter computation (as I have consistently stated and you now seem to admit) then why did you bring the modern Jewish dates for Unleavened Bread into the discussion at all? 

The "method used by the ancient Jews", as it was imagined by the 3rd / early 4th-century church fathers who developed the Easter computation, is the method used by the Gregorian calendar.  At one time, the Julian calendar implemented the same method, but it has not done so for many centuries.  The accumulated errors now make the Julian computation often to return a nonsensical result.  It as if an approximation for the sine of an angle which had once been reasonably good were now returning a value often greater than 1.0.  It is the Gregorian calendar, not the Julian, that now incorporates the 3rd-century and early 4th-century fathers' presuppositions.  

And anyone who bothers to look at the sky can see this.  The Julian calendar says the moon was full today, January 19th, 2014.  I saw the moon tonight, and she was not just a few hours past full.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 01:29:23 AM by Mockingbird » Logged

Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.--Byrhtferth of Ramsey
Maria
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« Reply #2253 on: January 20, 2014, 01:24:33 AM »

The 14 day of Nisan is also the historic day of the Jewish Passover, so it was understood that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover, which it always does in the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, the calculations of the Gregorian Calendar make it possible for the West to celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover which violates the spirit of the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council.
For purposes of computing Easter, the 14th of the Christian Nisan is the "Jewish Passover".  Whatever our Jewish neighbors do is of no mathematical significance.  The computation has only one Passover, that computed by Christians, not two, one computed by Christians and the other by the Rabbinic calendar.

This year, 2014, both East and West will celebrate Pascha on April 20. The Orthodox Pascha always comes after the Jewish Passover in accordance with the spirit of the decree of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, in 2005 the West celebrated Pascha on March 27, but the Jews did not celebrate Passover until April 24.
April 24 was Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5765, the first Day of Unleavened Bread.  Our pocket calendars call 15 Nisan "Passover", but in the Easter computation "Passover" means 14 Nisan, not 15 Nisan.  Rabbinic 14 Nisan 5765 was April 23, 2005. But as already stated, the only 14 Nisan that enters into the Easter computation is the Christian one, not the one from the Rabbinic calendar.  In 2005, Gregorian 14 Nisan was March 25th. Since this was after the equinox, it complied with the implicit (though not explicit) Nicene rule of the equinox.  Since it was computed independently of any Jewish calendars, it complied with the explicit Nicene rule of independence.

Quote from: frjohnmorris
In 2015, the West will celebrate Pascha on April 5, the same date that the Jews will celebrate Passover, something that is strictly forbidden by the Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
Again you seem to be using "Passover" in its modern sense of 15 Nisan.  In the context of the Easter computation, this is anachronistic.  Also, Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5775 will be Saturday, April 4th, not Sunday, April 5th. April 5th will be within the days of Unleavened Bread, of course.  If you mean to say that Easter must always fall after the Rabbinic days of Unleavened Bread are over, then you are mistaken.  Even your computation puts Easter sometimes within the Rabbinic calendar's days of Unleavened Bread, as it will this year, 2014, when the scriptural seven days of Unleavened Bread in the Rabbinic calendar will fall on 15-21 April in the civil calendar.

Canon 1 of Antioch is obsolete:  It refers to a situation that no longer exists, unless there are Karaite groups that sometimes define their Nisan in a way that allows their Passover to fall before the equinox.  That is, the canon forbids setting Easter to the 3rd Sunday in Jewish Nisan when Jewish Nisan falls too early.  (Apostolic Canon 7 covers the same ground, more explicitly.)  Antioch Canon 1 does not forbid Easter fortuitously to coincide with the third Sunday in Jewish Nisan if Jewish Nisan is computed correctly, nor does it require us to celebrate after the Jewish festival if Jewish Nisan is set too late from the Christian point of view, as it sometimes is in our time.  Our calculations are independent of the Jewish ones:  whatever date our Jewish friends calculate for their festival, we are required by the Nicene decision to take no account of it whatsoever in calculating our festival.  Insisting that Easter must fall after Rabbinic 15 Nisan adds a spurious rule to the traditional calculation and is a direct violation of the Nicene decision.

The Gregorian Calendar does not use the actual Spring Equinox, but follows tables written in the 16the century. that at that time were the best scientific guesses on when the Spring Equinox  would take place, but  now, the date of the Spring Equinox set by the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect. My point is that if we Orthodox are going to make a change on our calculation of the date of Pascha, we should make it according to scientific standards, not just to celebrate Pascha with the West.
The secular drift in the Gregorian calendar is very slow.  Overlaid on the secular drift, however, is an oscillation of the mean equinox about its average position in the Gregorian calendar, as well as an oscillation of the true equinox about its mean.  The discrepancy you refer to is mainly a result of these oscillations, not of the much smaller secular drift, as you seem to want to imply.  For the next two thousand years or so the average Spring equinox year of around 365.2424 days will remain close to the Gregorian tropical year of 365.2425 days, and so the mean equinox will remain close to its formal Gregorian date of March 21.  

Put another way, the Gregorian calendar almost always agrees with the astronomical method.  The only year in the next few years in which the astronomical method gives a different date is 2019, when the astronomical method would set Easter to March 24th, while the Gregorian lunar calendar sets it to April 21st.  If your party merely converted to the Gregorian calendar, you would be in far better agreement with the astronomical method than you are now.

There is  general agreement among Eastern Orthodox that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as calculated according to the method used by the ancient Jews, not the method used by modern Jews. What is important to Eastern Orthodox is fidelity to the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. I do not believe that the so called calendar issue applies to unmovable feasts, because on Ecumenical Council decreed that the Church must follow the Julian Calendar. However the date of Pasha is a completely different matter because we have precise instructions from the 1st Ecumenical Council on the calculation of the date of Pascha. I  believe that the Church is the ultimate authority on the application of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, not a Roman Pope in schism from the Church like Gregory XIII.

Fr. John W. Morris
What Ecumenical Council decreed that we are to follow the Julian Calendar?

Sheesh PtA!

It looks like a typo. I think he meant to say "no" but accidentally typed "on."
I'll wait for Fr. John to correct his "mistake", if it is truly a mistake.

I recall a similar post of his. I am sure it is a typo.
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PeterTheAleut
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Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #2254 on: January 20, 2014, 03:56:53 AM »

The 14 day of Nisan is also the historic day of the Jewish Passover, so it was understood that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover, which it always does in the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, the calculations of the Gregorian Calendar make it possible for the West to celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover which violates the spirit of the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council.
For purposes of computing Easter, the 14th of the Christian Nisan is the "Jewish Passover".  Whatever our Jewish neighbors do is of no mathematical significance.  The computation has only one Passover, that computed by Christians, not two, one computed by Christians and the other by the Rabbinic calendar.

This year, 2014, both East and West will celebrate Pascha on April 20. The Orthodox Pascha always comes after the Jewish Passover in accordance with the spirit of the decree of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, in 2005 the West celebrated Pascha on March 27, but the Jews did not celebrate Passover until April 24.
April 24 was Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5765, the first Day of Unleavened Bread.  Our pocket calendars call 15 Nisan "Passover", but in the Easter computation "Passover" means 14 Nisan, not 15 Nisan.  Rabbinic 14 Nisan 5765 was April 23, 2005. But as already stated, the only 14 Nisan that enters into the Easter computation is the Christian one, not the one from the Rabbinic calendar.  In 2005, Gregorian 14 Nisan was March 25th. Since this was after the equinox, it complied with the implicit (though not explicit) Nicene rule of the equinox.  Since it was computed independently of any Jewish calendars, it complied with the explicit Nicene rule of independence.

Quote from: frjohnmorris
In 2015, the West will celebrate Pascha on April 5, the same date that the Jews will celebrate Passover, something that is strictly forbidden by the Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
Again you seem to be using "Passover" in its modern sense of 15 Nisan.  In the context of the Easter computation, this is anachronistic.  Also, Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5775 will be Saturday, April 4th, not Sunday, April 5th. April 5th will be within the days of Unleavened Bread, of course.  If you mean to say that Easter must always fall after the Rabbinic days of Unleavened Bread are over, then you are mistaken.  Even your computation puts Easter sometimes within the Rabbinic calendar's days of Unleavened Bread, as it will this year, 2014, when the scriptural seven days of Unleavened Bread in the Rabbinic calendar will fall on 15-21 April in the civil calendar.

Canon 1 of Antioch is obsolete:  It refers to a situation that no longer exists, unless there are Karaite groups that sometimes define their Nisan in a way that allows their Passover to fall before the equinox.  That is, the canon forbids setting Easter to the 3rd Sunday in Jewish Nisan when Jewish Nisan falls too early.  (Apostolic Canon 7 covers the same ground, more explicitly.)  Antioch Canon 1 does not forbid Easter fortuitously to coincide with the third Sunday in Jewish Nisan if Jewish Nisan is computed correctly, nor does it require us to celebrate after the Jewish festival if Jewish Nisan is set too late from the Christian point of view, as it sometimes is in our time.  Our calculations are independent of the Jewish ones:  whatever date our Jewish friends calculate for their festival, we are required by the Nicene decision to take no account of it whatsoever in calculating our festival.  Insisting that Easter must fall after Rabbinic 15 Nisan adds a spurious rule to the traditional calculation and is a direct violation of the Nicene decision.

The Gregorian Calendar does not use the actual Spring Equinox, but follows tables written in the 16the century. that at that time were the best scientific guesses on when the Spring Equinox  would take place, but  now, the date of the Spring Equinox set by the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect. My point is that if we Orthodox are going to make a change on our calculation of the date of Pascha, we should make it according to scientific standards, not just to celebrate Pascha with the West.
The secular drift in the Gregorian calendar is very slow.  Overlaid on the secular drift, however, is an oscillation of the mean equinox about its average position in the Gregorian calendar, as well as an oscillation of the true equinox about its mean.  The discrepancy you refer to is mainly a result of these oscillations, not of the much smaller secular drift, as you seem to want to imply.  For the next two thousand years or so the average Spring equinox year of around 365.2424 days will remain close to the Gregorian tropical year of 365.2425 days, and so the mean equinox will remain close to its formal Gregorian date of March 21.  

Put another way, the Gregorian calendar almost always agrees with the astronomical method.  The only year in the next few years in which the astronomical method gives a different date is 2019, when the astronomical method would set Easter to March 24th, while the Gregorian lunar calendar sets it to April 21st.  If your party merely converted to the Gregorian calendar, you would be in far better agreement with the astronomical method than you are now.

There is  general agreement among Eastern Orthodox that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as calculated according to the method used by the ancient Jews, not the method used by modern Jews. What is important to Eastern Orthodox is fidelity to the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. I do not believe that the so called calendar issue applies to unmovable feasts, because on Ecumenical Council decreed that the Church must follow the Julian Calendar. However the date of Pasha is a completely different matter because we have precise instructions from the 1st Ecumenical Council on the calculation of the date of Pascha. I  believe that the Church is the ultimate authority on the application of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, not a Roman Pope in schism from the Church like Gregory XIII.

Fr. John W. Morris
What Ecumenical Council decreed that we are to follow the Julian Calendar?

Sheesh PtA!

It looks like a typo. I think he meant to say "no" but accidentally typed "on."
I'll wait for Fr. John to correct his "mistake", if it is truly a mistake.

I recall a similar post of his. I am sure it is a typo.
Well then, Maria, please let him correct it. Until then, my question to him stands.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 04:02:36 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #2255 on: January 20, 2014, 09:23:37 AM »

The 14 day of Nisan is also the historic day of the Jewish Passover, so it was understood that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover, which it always does in the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, the calculations of the Gregorian Calendar make it possible for the West to celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover which violates the spirit of the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council.
For purposes of computing Easter, the 14th of the Christian Nisan is the "Jewish Passover".  Whatever our Jewish neighbors do is of no mathematical significance.  The computation has only one Passover, that computed by Christians, not two, one computed by Christians and the other by the Rabbinic calendar.

This year, 2014, both East and West will celebrate Pascha on April 20. The Orthodox Pascha always comes after the Jewish Passover in accordance with the spirit of the decree of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, in 2005 the West celebrated Pascha on March 27, but the Jews did not celebrate Passover until April 24.
April 24 was Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5765, the first Day of Unleavened Bread.  Our pocket calendars call 15 Nisan "Passover", but in the Easter computation "Passover" means 14 Nisan, not 15 Nisan.  Rabbinic 14 Nisan 5765 was April 23, 2005. But as already stated, the only 14 Nisan that enters into the Easter computation is the Christian one, not the one from the Rabbinic calendar.  In 2005, Gregorian 14 Nisan was March 25th. Since this was after the equinox, it complied with the implicit (though not explicit) Nicene rule of the equinox.  Since it was computed independently of any Jewish calendars, it complied with the explicit Nicene rule of independence.

Quote from: frjohnmorris
In 2015, the West will celebrate Pascha on April 5, the same date that the Jews will celebrate Passover, something that is strictly forbidden by the Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
Again you seem to be using "Passover" in its modern sense of 15 Nisan.  In the context of the Easter computation, this is anachronistic.  Also, Rabbinic 15 Nisan 5775 will be Saturday, April 4th, not Sunday, April 5th. April 5th will be within the days of Unleavened Bread, of course.  If you mean to say that Easter must always fall after the Rabbinic days of Unleavened Bread are over, then you are mistaken.  Even your computation puts Easter sometimes within the Rabbinic calendar's days of Unleavened Bread, as it will this year, 2014, when the scriptural seven days of Unleavened Bread in the Rabbinic calendar will fall on 15-21 April in the civil calendar.

Canon 1 of Antioch is obsolete:  It refers to a situation that no longer exists, unless there are Karaite groups that sometimes define their Nisan in a way that allows their Passover to fall before the equinox.  That is, the canon forbids setting Easter to the 3rd Sunday in Jewish Nisan when Jewish Nisan falls too early.  (Apostolic Canon 7 covers the same ground, more explicitly.)  Antioch Canon 1 does not forbid Easter fortuitously to coincide with the third Sunday in Jewish Nisan if Jewish Nisan is computed correctly, nor does it require us to celebrate after the Jewish festival if Jewish Nisan is set too late from the Christian point of view, as it sometimes is in our time.  Our calculations are independent of the Jewish ones:  whatever date our Jewish friends calculate for their festival, we are required by the Nicene decision to take no account of it whatsoever in calculating our festival.  Insisting that Easter must fall after Rabbinic 15 Nisan adds a spurious rule to the traditional calculation and is a direct violation of the Nicene decision.

The Gregorian Calendar does not use the actual Spring Equinox, but follows tables written in the 16the century. that at that time were the best scientific guesses on when the Spring Equinox  would take place, but  now, the date of the Spring Equinox set by the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect. My point is that if we Orthodox are going to make a change on our calculation of the date of Pascha, we should make it according to scientific standards, not just to celebrate Pascha with the West.
The secular drift in the Gregorian calendar is very slow.  Overlaid on the secular drift, however, is an oscillation of the mean equinox about its average position in the Gregorian calendar, as well as an oscillation of the true equinox about its mean.  The discrepancy you refer to is mainly a result of these oscillations, not of the much smaller secular drift, as you seem to want to imply.  For the next two thousand years or so the average Spring equinox year of around 365.2424 days will remain close to the Gregorian tropical year of 365.2425 days, and so the mean equinox will remain close to its formal Gregorian date of March 21. 

Put another way, the Gregorian calendar almost always agrees with the astronomical method.  The only year in the next few years in which the astronomical method gives a different date is 2019, when the astronomical method would set Easter to March 24th, while the Gregorian lunar calendar sets it to April 21st.  If your party merely converted to the Gregorian calendar, you would be in far better agreement with the astronomical method than you are now.

There is  general agreement among Eastern Orthodox that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as calculated according to the method used by the ancient Jews, not the method used by modern Jews. What is important to Eastern Orthodox is fidelity to the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. I do not believe that the so called calendar issue applies to unmovable feasts, because on Ecumenical Council decreed that the Church must follow the Julian Calendar. However the date of Pasha is a completely different matter because we have precise instructions from the 1st Ecumenical Council on the calculation of the date of Pascha. I  believe that the Church is the ultimate authority on the application of the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, not a Roman Pope in schism from the Church like Gregory XIII.

Fr. John W. Morris
What Ecumenical Council decreed that we are to follow the Julian Calendar?

No Ecumenical Council decreed that we must follow the Julian Calendar. When Pope Gregory xiii introduced it in 1582 acceptance of the Julian Calendar was interpreted as acceptance of papal authority. It took several centuries for the Protestant countries of Europe to adopt the Julian Calendar. Now it is the universal calendar and no longer means acceptance of papal authority. The date of Pascha is different because it is based on the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. It would take agreement of all the autocephalous Churches of Eastern Orthodoxy to change how we calculate Pascha. Neither the date of the Spring Equinox of Julian or the Gregorian Calendars are astronomically accurate.  Several years ago the World Council of Churches proposed that the date of Pascha be set by the actual date of the Spring Equinox, but the Orthodox rejected the proposal because it did not include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. In the Middle East they reached a compromise. All Christians celebrate the Non-movable dates according to the Gregorian Calendar, but celebrate Pascha on the Orthodox date.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2256 on: January 21, 2014, 11:26:32 PM »

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has remained on the Julian Calendar, Father.

And doesn't the Roman Catholic Church (in the Mideast) follow the Gregorian Calendar?

In fact, in a letter to the Pan-Orthodox Congress of 1923, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem indicated it could not change from the Julian Calendar because of the long standing agreement for sharing use of the shrines.
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« Reply #2257 on: January 21, 2014, 11:46:02 PM »

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has remained on the Julian Calendar, Father.

And doesn't the Roman Catholic Church (in the Mideast) follow the Gregorian Calendar?

In fact, in a letter to the Pan-Orthodox Congress of 1923, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem indicated it could not change from the Julian Calendar because of the long standing agreement for sharing use of the shrines.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is not the only Orthodox Church in the Mideast. Antioch follows the New Calendar for everything but the date of Pascha.

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« Reply #2258 on: January 22, 2014, 12:58:29 AM »

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has remained on the Julian Calendar, Father.

And doesn't the Roman Catholic Church (in the Mideast) follow the Gregorian Calendar?

In fact, in a letter to the Pan-Orthodox Congress of 1923, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem indicated it could not change from the Julian Calendar because of the long standing agreement for sharing use of the shrines.
at the time (and since) they were saying all sorts of nonsense about the shrines.
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« Reply #2259 on: January 22, 2014, 02:01:08 AM »

The date of Pascha is different because it is based on the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. It would take agreement of all the autocephalous Churches of Eastern Orthodoxy to change how we calculate Pascha.
The example of Finland shows that some in the EO churches understand that the paschalion is a tool of the church, not the church a tool of the paschalion.

Neither the date of the Spring Equinox of Julian or the Gregorian Calendars are astronomically accurate.
The Gregorian calendar's equinox is closer to the astronomical equinox after 400 years than the Julian March 21st was, 400 years after Nicea. 

Still it is refreshing to hear someone from the EO camp agree that accuracy is important.  Some of your folk deny even that. 

In the 3rd and 4th centuries, Christian writers complained that the Jewish computation of 14 Nisan was not accurate.  Yet for some of the present day, it is of no concern that the Julian paschalion will eventually wrap around to place the nomikon faska in exactly the part of the year that the paschalion was devised to prevent it from falling.

Several years ago the World Council of Churches proposed that the date of Pascha be set by the actual date of the Spring Equinox, but the Orthodox rejected the proposal because it did not include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
If by "Jewish Passover" they meant "Rabbinic 15 Nisan" then they were right about the arithmetic:  The Milankovitch method, or any similar astronomical method, would, in about 3 years out of every 19 (and more frequently as the centuries roll), place Easter earlier than Rabbinic 15 Nisan .  But as I have argued above, it is a spurious interpretation of the Paschalion, invented by medieval Byzantine canon lawyers, to hold that Easter must always follow Rabbinic 15 Nisan.  The nomikon faska rightly so-called is the 14th of the Christian 'Abib / Nisan, not the 14th or 15th of any Rabbinic calendar month.  If Easter is set always to the 3rd Sunday in its lunar month, never to the 2nd Sunday, the festival never falls earlier than the 15th, and so will always follow the 14th.  The Nicene decision frees us from having to concern ourselves with whether the Rabbinic 14 Nisan or 15 Nisan precedes, follows, or coincides with Easter.

In case it be of interest to any here: the Samaritan Passover offering on Mt. Gerizim will this year be on the evening of April 13th.
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« Reply #2260 on: January 22, 2014, 04:15:18 AM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.
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« Reply #2261 on: January 22, 2014, 06:18:26 AM »

And doesn't the Roman Catholic Church (in the Mideast) follow the Gregorian Calendar?

They recently switched to Orthodox Pascha.

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

Nothing by Fr. Andrew Philips is well worth quoting from.
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« Reply #2262 on: January 22, 2014, 10:10:42 AM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2263 on: January 22, 2014, 01:03:18 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 01:04:02 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #2264 on: January 22, 2014, 01:32:18 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2265 on: January 22, 2014, 01:38:55 PM »

Quote
In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal
We should not have been there in the first place.

PP
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« Reply #2266 on: January 22, 2014, 02:16:40 PM »


Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father, maybe it's because I don't know the EO tradition regarding this, but I'm not sure I follow how that particular phrase means that all Orthodox Paschas have to be after the Jewish Passover. At first glance, I thought that it was merely clarifying the preceding phrase, "...before the vernal equinox", since it was erroneous computation of the Jewish Passover that led to Easter being celebrated before the equinox. IMO, it's not the celebrating with the Jews that seems to be emphasized in the canon, but rather, the celebration of Pascha before the equinox.
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« Reply #2267 on: January 22, 2014, 02:37:58 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.
Yes, I did read the whole canon before I commented on it. I am familiar with the "with the Jews" clause, which I understand to be a response to the practice of celebrating the Christian Pascha with the Jewish Passover even when the Passover fell before the vernal equinox. The key phrase in this canon, though, is "before the vernal equinox". No mention whatsoever is made of the Jewish Passover. I'm not concerned with how Orthodox Christians have historically interpreted this canon. If the interpretation cannot be supported by the text of the canon, then it may very well be a gross misinterpretation. If the Jews celebrate the Passover on the second full moon of spring, why should we be beholden to follow them in their error?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 02:39:51 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #2268 on: January 22, 2014, 02:49:41 PM »


Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father, maybe it's because I don't know the EO tradition regarding this, but I'm not sure I follow how that particular phrase means that all Orthodox Paschas have to be after the Jewish Passover. At first glance, I thought that it was merely clarifying the preceding phrase, "...before the vernal equinox", since it was erroneous computation of the Jewish Passover that led to Easter being celebrated before the equinox. IMO, it's not the celebrating with the Jews that seems to be emphasized in the canon, but rather, the celebration of Pascha before the equinox.
Quote
In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal
We should not have been there in the first place.

PP

Let put this bluntly. More traditionally minded Orthodox need to  attend such meetings to act as a counter to those who are too ecumenical and are giving the non-Orthodox the impression that we are willing to compromise the Faith for the sake of union with non-Orthodox. We also need Orthodox representatives who understand the history and teachings of Protestantism. Having participated as an official Orthodox representative at ecumenical meetings, it has been my experience that many Orthodox do not know enough about liberal Protestantism to clearly express themselves in a way that the Protestants will not take as a willingness to compromise the Orthodox Faith. I have been in one official dialogue with Protestants when the Protestants completely misunderstood an Orthodox theologian as willing to compromise on doctrine because he did not know how to speak the language of liberal Protestantism. Thus the Protestants did not understand what the Orthodox theologian was really saying heard what they wanted to hear. I remember during one discussion by an Orthodox theologian on why we do not ordain women, that the Protestants went away with the impression that we could enter into Communion with them although they ordain women as long as we do not have to ordain women. Later when I spoke privately to the Orthodox theologian he was shocked that the Protestants had so misunderstood what he actually said.  I do not know how to express this diplomatically, but some Orthodox seem to have an inferiority complex and want to be accepted by what they consider the American religious establishment so much that they give the false impression that we are willing to compromise our Faith for the sake of relations with non-Orthodox. That is one reason why I oppose so called ecumenical worship services. When an Orthodox Bishop participates in a service with a Catholic Bishop or Protestant clergy they send the wrong message and create the illusion that a unity exists that does not actually exist. More often than not the Orthodox who agree to pray with non-Orthodox find themselves standing there while non-Orthodox teaching is proclaimed by the texts the non-Orthodox choose to use. It is much better to follow the canons and to refuse to pray with non-Orthodox.

Fr. John W. Morris
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 02:50:21 PM by frjohnmorris » Logged
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« Reply #2269 on: January 22, 2014, 02:56:44 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.
Yes, I did read the whole canon before I commented on it. I am familiar with the "with the Jews" clause, which I understand to be a response to the practice of celebrating the Christian Pascha with the Jewish Passover even when the Passover fell before the vernal equinox. The key phrase in this canon, though, is "before the vernal equinox". No mention whatsoever is made of the Jewish Passover. I'm not concerned with how Orthodox Christians have historically interpreted this canon. If the interpretation cannot be supported by the text of the canon, then it may very well be a gross misinterpretation. If the Jews celebrate the Passover on the second full moon of spring, why should we be beholden to follow them in their error?

You should be concerned with how Orthodox Christians have interpreted the canons, because like the Bible. You are treating the canons the way that a Protestant treats the Bible. We do not interpret the Bible or the canons by ourselves, but always strive to interpret the Bible and the canons the way that the Church has historically interpreted the canon. In this case the historical interpretation of the canon is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2270 on: January 22, 2014, 03:09:55 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.
Yes, I did read the whole canon before I commented on it. I am familiar with the "with the Jews" clause, which I understand to be a response to the practice of celebrating the Christian Pascha with the Jewish Passover even when the Passover fell before the vernal equinox. The key phrase in this canon, though, is "before the vernal equinox". No mention whatsoever is made of the Jewish Passover. I'm not concerned with how Orthodox Christians have historically interpreted this canon. If the interpretation cannot be supported by the text of the canon, then it may very well be a gross misinterpretation. If the Jews celebrate the Passover on the second full moon of spring, why should we be beholden to follow them in their error?

You should be concerned with how Orthodox Christians have interpreted the canons, because like the Bible. You are treating the canons the way that a Protestant treats the Bible. We do not interpret the Bible or the canons by ourselves, but always strive to interpret the Bible and the canons the way that the Church has historically interpreted the canon. In this case the historical interpretation of the canon is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
I'm not sure, though, that the Church has historically interpreted Apostolic Canon VII as forbidding the celebration of Pascha before the Jewish Passover, and such interpretation of the canon has no support in the text of the canon. To me, this appears to be a misinterpretation introduced by John Zonaras in the 12th century, a misinterpretation that, because it so closely resembles the traditional Nicene formulation, has been historically mistaken for it. However, I'm not so sure that Zonaras's interpretation was held by the Church prior to the 12th century. Therefore, if such a teaching has not been held universally throughout all the ages since the applicable canons were ratified, I don't think it can rightly be considered a right teaching of those canons.

Again, if the Jews are in error on their calculation of their Passover, are we to follow them in their error?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 03:35:57 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #2271 on: January 22, 2014, 08:15:52 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.
Yes, I did read the whole canon before I commented on it. I am familiar with the "with the Jews" clause, which I understand to be a response to the practice of celebrating the Christian Pascha with the Jewish Passover even when the Passover fell before the vernal equinox. The key phrase in this canon, though, is "before the vernal equinox". No mention whatsoever is made of the Jewish Passover. I'm not concerned with how Orthodox Christians have historically interpreted this canon. If the interpretation cannot be supported by the text of the canon, then it may very well be a gross misinterpretation. If the Jews celebrate the Passover on the second full moon of spring, why should we be beholden to follow them in their error?

You should be concerned with how Orthodox Christians have interpreted the canons, because like the Bible. You are treating the canons the way that a Protestant treats the Bible. We do not interpret the Bible or the canons by ourselves, but always strive to interpret the Bible and the canons the way that the Church has historically interpreted the canon. In this case the historical interpretation of the canon is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
I'm not sure, though, that the Church has historically interpreted Apostolic Canon VII as forbidding the celebration of Pascha before the Jewish Passover, and such interpretation of the canon has no support in the text of the canon. To me, this appears to be a misinterpretation introduced by John Zonaras in the 12th century, a misinterpretation that, because it so closely resembles the traditional Nicene formulation, has been historically mistaken for it. However, I'm not so sure that Zonaras's interpretation was held by the Church prior to the 12th century. Therefore, if such a teaching has not been held universally throughout all the ages since the applicable canons were ratified, I don't think it can rightly be considered a right teaching of those canons.

Again, if the Jews are in error on their calculation of their Passover, are we to follow them in their error?

When I was representing the Orthodox Church during the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue we had a discussion on the Aleppo proposal with the Lutherans. The Orthodox delegation was told by Constantinople that the Orthodox who had discussed the Aleppo proposal  had concluded that we could not accept it unless the provision was added that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
Before the 1st Ecumenical Council, the debate over the date of Pascha was between the Churches in what is now Turkey who celebrated Pascha on he 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan which is the date of the Jewish Passover regardless of the day of the week  and Rome and the other Churches who celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan.  The Churches of Asia Minor were called Quartodecimans from 14, because they celebrated Pascha on the 14th of Nisan. At Nicaea, the Church decided to follow the Roman custom which was to celebrate Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover or the 14th of Nisan. Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431 anathematized anyone who celebrates Pascha on the day of the Jewish Passover. Under the Gregorian Calendar Western Easter can fall on the Jewish Passover as it did in 1825. Therefore the Gregorian calculations of the date of Pascha are uncanonical by Eastern Orthodox standards.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2272 on: January 23, 2014, 12:38:32 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.
Yes, I did read the whole canon before I commented on it. I am familiar with the "with the Jews" clause, which I understand to be a response to the practice of celebrating the Christian Pascha with the Jewish Passover even when the Passover fell before the vernal equinox. The key phrase in this canon, though, is "before the vernal equinox". No mention whatsoever is made of the Jewish Passover. I'm not concerned with how Orthodox Christians have historically interpreted this canon. If the interpretation cannot be supported by the text of the canon, then it may very well be a gross misinterpretation. If the Jews celebrate the Passover on the second full moon of spring, why should we be beholden to follow them in their error?

You should be concerned with how Orthodox Christians have interpreted the canons, because like the Bible. You are treating the canons the way that a Protestant treats the Bible. We do not interpret the Bible or the canons by ourselves, but always strive to interpret the Bible and the canons the way that the Church has historically interpreted the canon. In this case the historical interpretation of the canon is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
I'm not sure, though, that the Church has historically interpreted Apostolic Canon VII as forbidding the celebration of Pascha before the Jewish Passover, and such interpretation of the canon has no support in the text of the canon. To me, this appears to be a misinterpretation introduced by John Zonaras in the 12th century, a misinterpretation that, because it so closely resembles the traditional Nicene formulation, has been historically mistaken for it. However, I'm not so sure that Zonaras's interpretation was held by the Church prior to the 12th century. Therefore, if such a teaching has not been held universally throughout all the ages since the applicable canons were ratified, I don't think it can rightly be considered a right teaching of those canons.

Again, if the Jews are in error on their calculation of their Passover, are we to follow them in their error?

When I was representing the Orthodox Church during the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue we had a discussion on the Aleppo proposal with the Lutherans. The Orthodox delegation was told by Constantinople that the Orthodox who had discussed the Aleppo proposal  had concluded that we could not accept it unless the provision was added that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
Before the 1st Ecumenical Council, the debate over the date of Pascha was between the Churches in what is now Turkey who celebrated Pascha on he 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan which is the date of the Jewish Passover regardless of the day of the week  and Rome and the other Churches who celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan.  The Churches of Asia Minor were called Quartodecimans from 14, because they celebrated Pascha on the 14th of Nisan. At Nicaea, the Church decided to follow the Roman custom which was to celebrate Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover or the 14th of Nisan. Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431 anathematized anyone who celebrates Pascha on the day of the Jewish Passover. Under the Gregorian Calendar Western Easter can fall on the Jewish Passover as it did in 1825. Therefore the Gregorian calculations of the date of Pascha are uncanonical by Eastern Orthodox standards.
In quoting me, you totally failed to address the specific statements I made about John Zonaras and the misinterpretation of the Pascha rules that he introduced to the Church in the 12th century. Your statements are still based on Zonaras's error and NOT on what the Church had understood before Zonaras.
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« Reply #2273 on: January 23, 2014, 03:28:25 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.
Yes, I did read the whole canon before I commented on it. I am familiar with the "with the Jews" clause, which I understand to be a response to the practice of celebrating the Christian Pascha with the Jewish Passover even when the Passover fell before the vernal equinox. The key phrase in this canon, though, is "before the vernal equinox". No mention whatsoever is made of the Jewish Passover. I'm not concerned with how Orthodox Christians have historically interpreted this canon. If the interpretation cannot be supported by the text of the canon, then it may very well be a gross misinterpretation. If the Jews celebrate the Passover on the second full moon of spring, why should we be beholden to follow them in their error?

You should be concerned with how Orthodox Christians have interpreted the canons, because like the Bible. You are treating the canons the way that a Protestant treats the Bible. We do not interpret the Bible or the canons by ourselves, but always strive to interpret the Bible and the canons the way that the Church has historically interpreted the canon. In this case the historical interpretation of the canon is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
I'm not sure, though, that the Church has historically interpreted Apostolic Canon VII as forbidding the celebration of Pascha before the Jewish Passover, and such interpretation of the canon has no support in the text of the canon. To me, this appears to be a misinterpretation introduced by John Zonaras in the 12th century, a misinterpretation that, because it so closely resembles the traditional Nicene formulation, has been historically mistaken for it. However, I'm not so sure that Zonaras's interpretation was held by the Church prior to the 12th century. Therefore, if such a teaching has not been held universally throughout all the ages since the applicable canons were ratified, I don't think it can rightly be considered a right teaching of those canons.

Again, if the Jews are in error on their calculation of their Passover, are we to follow them in their error?

When I was representing the Orthodox Church during the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue we had a discussion on the Aleppo proposal with the Lutherans. The Orthodox delegation was told by Constantinople that the Orthodox who had discussed the Aleppo proposal  had concluded that we could not accept it unless the provision was added that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
Before the 1st Ecumenical Council, the debate over the date of Pascha was between the Churches in what is now Turkey who celebrated Pascha on he 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan which is the date of the Jewish Passover regardless of the day of the week  and Rome and the other Churches who celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan.  The Churches of Asia Minor were called Quartodecimans from 14, because they celebrated Pascha on the 14th of Nisan. At Nicaea, the Church decided to follow the Roman custom which was to celebrate Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover or the 14th of Nisan. Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431 anathematized anyone who celebrates Pascha on the day of the Jewish Passover. Under the Gregorian Calendar Western Easter can fall on the Jewish Passover as it did in 1825. Therefore the Gregorian calculations of the date of Pascha are uncanonical by Eastern Orthodox standards.
In quoting me, you totally failed to address the specific statements I made about John Zonaras and the misinterpretation of the Pascha rules that he introduced to the Church in the 12th century. Your statements are still based on Zonaras's error and NOT on what the Church had understood before Zonaras.

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox.  Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
 
I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431. It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science. However,  because this involves the interpretation of a decision of an Ecumenical Council, agreement among all Orthodox would be required to change the tables used to calculate Pascha. We do not need another schism caused by the calendar.

Fr. John W. Morris
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 03:40:17 PM by frjohnmorris » Logged
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« Reply #2274 on: January 23, 2014, 03:43:27 PM »

FYI Father, I think the council of Antioch you refer to was in AD 341, not 431.
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« Reply #2275 on: January 23, 2014, 04:13:19 PM »

This topic reminds me of an article I've been editing for the English site, Pravoslavie.ru

It's not published yet, but it's a well worth quoting from:

"The solar calendar is based on the measurement of one year i.e. the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution around the Sun. Using contemporary methods this has been established as 365.2419 days, or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to the nearest second). In a period of 10,000 years there would therefore be 3, 652, 419 days. If, however, we needed to establish a calendar over a longer period, this figure would be inaccurate. For example in 100,000 years there would be either more or less than 36, 524, 190 days. Thus we can see that absolute exactness is impossible. Moreover some scientists believe that the Earth does not revolve around the Sun at a constant speed. Some suggest that it is speeding up. It is clear that, for astronomical reasons, which we are unable to alter, all calendars are inexact. It is not possible for us to move the Earth into an orbit around the Sun which would be constant and measure a round number.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are called to 'redeem time because the days are evil'. These words call us to prayer, because prayer is the only way of making use of time to the full. Time, which by definition is temporary and not eternal, is for ever lost if it is not hallowed i.e. eternalised through contact with the Eternal, the Creator of time. The Church calls us to hallow all things, time included. The reason for this is that since the Fall, all Creation is tainted with sin-- and therefore time also. The inexactitude of time, the impossibility of measuring time with astronomical accuracy, is a consequence of the Fall, a symbol of imperfection. Therefore, any attempt to 'absolutize' or eternalize time by fixing it in a calendar is illusory. Time is imperfect, sullied and will come to an end in any case. Both time and our inevitably imprecise methods of measuring it are doomed to disappear. To attempt to create a perfect, astronomically exact calendar is to attempt to create something perfect out of something naturally imperfect. We cannot undo the cosmic cataclysm of the Fall by making astronomical measurements or adjustments. It is as if we were to try to perfect man by taking measurements of his body. Realising this, the Church Fathers in 325 showed that there is, however, a way of hallowing, Christianising and purifying time.

One of the tasks of the First Oecumenical Council in 325 was to fix a universal calendar for all Christians. The importance of this task lay in the fact that at that time Christians were celebrating Easter on different dates. Therefore it was essential to establish Paschalia-- tables for the dating of Easter-- in order to strengthen the unity of the Church and put an end once and for all to disputes and schisms about the calendar. The Fathers decided that there was only one way of doing this-- to base the calendar on Christ, and most notably on the most important event in His Life and in the whole history of Creation-- the Resurrection. Thus the Fathers looked at the events which in chronological order preceded the Resurrection and determined its date. They are as follows:

1) The spring equinox i.e. the moment when on the 21 March the day is as long as the night.

2) The first full moon after this equinox (the full moon being the moment when the night sky is illuminated by a maximum of light).

3) The first Sunday after this first full moon. Sunday is the third day after the Crucifixion and the first day of the week (Matt. 28, 1). It is the day of the Resurrection, the Lord's Day.


The problem for the Fathers then was how to imitate the order of the events of the Passion Week, the week in which man was recreated and saved, and guard the theological truths contained in that week, representing them chronologically in the calendar. Practically speaking, how could the solar calendar (according to which the equinox is dated) be combined or harmonised with the lunar calendar (according to which the full moon is dated)? In the Passion Week the sun and the moon had come together to worship the Creator, to bow down before Him, - how could this be expressed in the form of a calendar? As we have already seen, and the Fathers saw long before us, it is impossible to harmonise the two calendars with absolute astronomical accuracy. The Fathers therefore chose to base the calendar not on an imperfect astronomical calendar, but on a perfect theological calendar.

The Fathers chose to introduce a new calendar into the world - the calendar of the Resurrection, the calendar of the Church, which although linked to astronomical time, the fallen time of the fallen world, is not the same as astronomical time. And it is not the same because it is centred on the time of Christ's Victory over Death, and not on the movements of the stars, planets and satellites of the Fallen Cosmos. By adopting the Julian calendar and a lunar calendar, neither of which was quite accurate, the Fathers managed to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars to the end of time. Accuracy in time for the Fathers was of little import when time itself will end. What was important was the Resurrection of Christ which takes man across time into Eternity-- Timelessness. The Fathers showed that, while it is impossible to find harmony in astronomical, i.e. fallen, time, it is possible to find harmony through the Resurrection. Thus, at the First Oecumenical Council, the Church gave harmony to the disharmony of Fallen Creation. For the Church is harmony in a disharmonious universe, hallowing all things by the Holy Ghost, restoring them, transfiguring them into the things of Christ. The new-found harmonisation of the solar and lunar calendars represent the harmony between God (the Sun of Truth) and Man (the moon being a symbol of the Mother of God, Who represents the greatest holiness attained by Man). The Church calendar is spiritual harmony restored to the universe by the Resurrection of Christ, which is also the Resurrection of Man and the whole Cosmos...

Of course what is essential is the cultivation of love in accordance with the Gospel commandments. This is possible through the Church and our obedience to Her. For if we are not obedient to the Church, the Body of Christ, how can we be obedient to Christ and the Gospel? If we disobey the Church, then in some way we separate ourselves from Her, everyone making for himself his own 'church'. The only thing that has any absolute significance is our faithfulness to Christ and the Church that is His Body and therefore our Mother. This faithfulness is witnessed to in our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Church, whose authority is the Holy Ghost Who speaks through the saints to us. If we disobey this authority, then the Church is rent by splits and schisms with groups breaking away from Her.

 We must fight to preserve the catholic unity of the Church. As the steward in the Gospels, we shall surely be judged according to our faithfulness to the Church. And if we are not faithful in such matters as the calendar, how can we be faithful in the great things? Love cannot be obtained without obedience, and obedience is obtained by renouncing our own wills, a hard and difficult path, the saints tell us, composed of ascetic struggles and privations. It is an unfortunate fact that those who wish to introduce the new calendar also wish to introduce other innovations, in disobedience to the age-old practices and traditions of the Church."
Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church


I think no matter how you look at it, the calendar change has caused great strife and schism for the Church. You can try to justify it all you want... But look at it's fruits.

There is nothing in the decrees of the 1st Ecumenical Council adopting the Julian Calendar. The council only dealt with the date of Pascha, which the council decreed must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal or  Spring Equinox and the full moon,  both of which are actual observable astronomical events independent of which calendar one uses.  There is also general agreement among Eastern Orthodox authorities that Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons,  requires that Pascha must also follow the Jewish Passover. "If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, with the Jews, let him be deposed." However, the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Julian Calendar is incorrect and does not correspond to the actual Spring Equinox.  The question that we Orthodox must ask ourselves is if we are using an incorrect date for the Spring Equinox are we faithfully following the 1st Council of Nicaea? Obviously, I am merely asking the question. I am merely pointing out that it is incorrect to argue that the Ecumenical Councils mandated the use of the Julian Calendar. The 1st Council used the Julian Calendar date for the Spring Equinox  only because that was the calendar in use at the time. A Pan-Orthodox Council and the approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches would be required to adjust  the calculations of the date of Pascha using the actual Spring Equinox instead of the incorrect date for the Spring Equinox used by the Julian Calendar. We could not adopt the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha because it also incorrectly calculates the Spring Equinox, and it does not have the requirement that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Indeed, because the Gregorian Calendar date for Pascha sometimes comes before the Jewish Passover, it violates Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons.

Fr. John W. Morris
With all due respects, Father, Apostolic Canon VII says nothing about celebrating Pascha before the Jewish Passover; rather, the canon forbids celebrating Pascha before the vernal equinox.

Go back and read the canon it contains the phrase "with the Jews."  The traditional interpretation of that canon has been that we must not celebrate Pascha before the Jewish Passover. In 1997 the World Council of Churches sponsored a conference on the date of Pascha in Aleppo, Syria. The conference proposed that all Christians agree to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the actual Spring Equinox as determined by modern science. Because the proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha had to take place following the Jewish Passover the Eastern Orthodox did not accept the Aleppo proposal.
Yes, I did read the whole canon before I commented on it. I am familiar with the "with the Jews" clause, which I understand to be a response to the practice of celebrating the Christian Pascha with the Jewish Passover even when the Passover fell before the vernal equinox. The key phrase in this canon, though, is "before the vernal equinox". No mention whatsoever is made of the Jewish Passover. I'm not concerned with how Orthodox Christians have historically interpreted this canon. If the interpretation cannot be supported by the text of the canon, then it may very well be a gross misinterpretation. If the Jews celebrate the Passover on the second full moon of spring, why should we be beholden to follow them in their error?

You should be concerned with how Orthodox Christians have interpreted the canons, because like the Bible. You are treating the canons the way that a Protestant treats the Bible. We do not interpret the Bible or the canons by ourselves, but always strive to interpret the Bible and the canons the way that the Church has historically interpreted the canon. In this case the historical interpretation of the canon is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
I'm not sure, though, that the Church has historically interpreted Apostolic Canon VII as forbidding the celebration of Pascha before the Jewish Passover, and such interpretation of the canon has no support in the text of the canon. To me, this appears to be a misinterpretation introduced by John Zonaras in the 12th century, a misinterpretation that, because it so closely resembles the traditional Nicene formulation, has been historically mistaken for it. However, I'm not so sure that Zonaras's interpretation was held by the Church prior to the 12th century. Therefore, if such a teaching has not been held universally throughout all the ages since the applicable canons were ratified, I don't think it can rightly be considered a right teaching of those canons.

Again, if the Jews are in error on their calculation of their Passover, are we to follow them in their error?

When I was representing the Orthodox Church during the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue we had a discussion on the Aleppo proposal with the Lutherans. The Orthodox delegation was told by Constantinople that the Orthodox who had discussed the Aleppo proposal  had concluded that we could not accept it unless the provision was added that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
Before the 1st Ecumenical Council, the debate over the date of Pascha was between the Churches in what is now Turkey who celebrated Pascha on he 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan which is the date of the Jewish Passover regardless of the day of the week  and Rome and the other Churches who celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan.  The Churches of Asia Minor were called Quartodecimans from 14, because they celebrated Pascha on the 14th of Nisan. At Nicaea, the Church decided to follow the Roman custom which was to celebrate Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover or the 14th of Nisan. Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431 anathematized anyone who celebrates Pascha on the day of the Jewish Passover. Under the Gregorian Calendar Western Easter can fall on the Jewish Passover as it did in 1825. Therefore the Gregorian calculations of the date of Pascha are uncanonical by Eastern Orthodox standards.
In quoting me, you totally failed to address the specific statements I made about John Zonaras and the misinterpretation of the Pascha rules that he introduced to the Church in the 12th century. Your statements are still based on Zonaras's error and NOT on what the Church had understood before Zonaras.

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox.  Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
 
I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431. It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science. However,  because this involves the interpretation of a decision of an Ecumenical Council, agreement among all Orthodox would be required to change the tables used to calculate Pascha. We do not need another schism caused by the calendar.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father, 

I always appreciate your contributions here.  Thanks for the gift of your time. 

My understanding is the same as yours on these points.  I also believe in the miracle of the Holy Fire which, to me, confirms our Paschalion, although I do not criticize those other Christians who commemorate the Resurrection on the Gregorian date.  I am simply glad that they commemorate it.  I am of the personal belief that if an ecumenical council truly changed our date, however, that the Fire would move with it. 

I would like to know more about the change in the Jewish calculation of Passover.  I am not aware of this. 

I understand that this controversy was front and center in the English Church at the Synod of Whitby in 664. 

But what are we to make of Orthodox churches such as the Orthodox Church of Finland, which use the Gregorian paschalion ? 
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« Reply #2276 on: January 23, 2014, 05:24:40 PM »

FYI Father, I think the council of Antioch you refer to was in AD 341, not 431.

You are absolutely right. It was a mistype. Can I plead not guity by reason of insanity? (joke)

Fr. John
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« Reply #2277 on: January 23, 2014, 05:43:23 PM »

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute.
As long as you rely on what you believe is the historical teaching of the Church that Pascha is to always follow the Jewish Passover without exception, you are relying on Zonaras whether you know it or not.

The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox.  Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
But we do not celebrate Pascha on a Sunday merely to make sure it falls after the Jewish Passover if the 14th of Nisan happens to fall on a weekday. We celebrate Pascha on a Sunday because our Lord rose from the dead early on a Sunday morning. I'm also somewhat familiar with the Nicene formulation of Pascha, but I'm not aware of any text in that formulation that states anything explicitly about the Jewish Passover. It's as if the Nicene Fathers couldn't have cared less when the Jews actually celebrated their Passover. The important concerns addressed were that Pascha would always be celebrated on a Sunday, that Pascha would always follow the vernal equinox, that Pascha would always follow immediately after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, and that Alexandria would be the final arbiter of the date of Pascha every year. The Jewish Passover, in and of itself, was simply not mentioned--not in the Apostolic Canons, not in the Nicene Formula, and not in Canon I of Antioch 341.

I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
Is this how the Church read Canon I of the Antiochian Council of 341 prior to Zonaras in the 12th century? If not, then I think you're guilty of reading Zonaras's misinterpretation of the canons back into the canon in question.

It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science. However,  because this involves the interpretation of a decision of an Ecumenical Council, agreement among all Orthodox would be required to change the tables used to calculate Pascha. We do not need another schism caused by the calendar.
I would venture to say that it wasn't the New Calendar itself that caused a schism. ISTM that the real problem is that a number of jurisidictions were rightly scandalized by the authoritarian way the New Calendar was implemented in many of our churches.
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« Reply #2278 on: January 23, 2014, 06:25:18 PM »

Quote


I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431. It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science. However,  because this involves the interpretation of a decision of an Ecumenical Council, agreement among all Orthodox would be required to change the tables used to calculate Pascha. We do not need another schism caused by the calendar.

Fr. John W. Morris

We have changed over the centuries but not for the better;  I would include the conflation of the church and secular calendars; the introduction of fixed date for the Vernal Equinox; the introduction of tables; and the fanaticism of those who make the calendar issue a dogmatic one (on both sides).

I agree with you that "It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science." After all, that formulation was aligned God's time (the Vernal Equinox) with man's overlay of His time (any calendar--Julian at that time). In the letter of Saint Constantine the Great, we also see that the Church really wanted to celebrate this Feast of Feasts on the same day.

To me the essence of the decision of the First Ecumenical Council is paramount; any interpretation made of it by local churches after the fact are reversible by each local church. We do not need an ecumenical council, for the ROC for example, to return to the Apostolic rule.
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« Reply #2279 on: January 23, 2014, 08:55:48 PM »

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. 
The Asian practice was largely a dead letter by the time of Nicea.  The controversy at Nicea was between two schools of Sunday observance:  traditionalists or "Jewish calendarists", who set the festival to the Sunday falling in the 3rd week of Jewish Nisan; and innovators or "Independent calendarists" who wanted to compute a Christian month of Nisan and set the festival to the 3rd Sunday of that independently computed, Chrsitian Nisan.  The "Jewish calendarists" seem to have been mainly in Syria, not Asia Minor.  Nicea sided with the "Independent calendarists."  Henceforth Christians were to have their own lunar calendar, one which began with the first lunar month to have its latter half entirely after the equinox, and the Jewish lunar calendar would be of no concern whatever.
Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
The Rabbinic calendar effectively calculates Passover by the same formula that the computistical fathers considered "Mosaic":  First full moon of Spring.  It differs by a month from the Gregorian Easter in 3 years out of 19 because the Rabbinic calendar's implied equinox is about 4 days late. 
 
I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
It is false to say that the Gregorian equinox is "incorrect."  It is approximate, to as good an approximation as Julian March 21 ever was, just as the Gregorian lunar calendar is as good an approximation to the moon as the Julian was in the long-ago days of its accuracy.

In almost every case, the Gregorian Easter agrees with the astronomical one.  The next discrepancy will be in 2019, when the astronomical method would give a date earlier than the Gregorian calendar, and so before the Rabbinic matzoth, which, as I noted, presupposes a later equinox that the Gregorian calendar does.

It is not possible for Gregorian Easter to coincide with Rabbinic 14 Nisan, because 14 Nisan in the Rabbinic calendar never falls on Sunday.  The "Passover" that sometimes coincides with Gregorian Easter is 15 Nisan, not 14 Nisan.  But in the context of the paschalion, the "Jewish Passover" means 14th of Nisan, never the 15th.  The workaday meaning of "Passover" has changed since 325.  It is anachronistic to apply the modern meaning of "Passover" to formulations that presuppose a different one.

It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science.
As noted above, the Gregorian calendar almost always does this already.  And the astronomical method, like the Gregorian method, would still violate your spurious "Passover" rule.
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« Reply #2280 on: January 24, 2014, 03:06:39 PM »

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. 
The Asian practice was largely a dead letter by the time of Nicea.  The controversy at Nicea was between two schools of Sunday observance:  traditionalists or "Jewish calendarists", who set the festival to the Sunday falling in the 3rd week of Jewish Nisan; and innovators or "Independent calendarists" who wanted to compute a Christian month of Nisan and set the festival to the 3rd Sunday of that independently computed, Chrsitian Nisan.  The "Jewish calendarists" seem to have been mainly in Syria, not Asia Minor.  Nicea sided with the "Independent calendarists."  Henceforth Christians were to have their own lunar calendar, one which began with the first lunar month to have its latter half entirely after the equinox, and the Jewish lunar calendar would be of no concern whatever.
Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
The Rabbinic calendar effectively calculates Passover by the same formula that the computistical fathers considered "Mosaic":  First full moon of Spring.  It differs by a month from the Gregorian Easter in 3 years out of 19 because the Rabbinic calendar's implied equinox is about 4 days late. 
 
I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
It is false to say that the Gregorian equinox is "incorrect."  It is approximate, to as good an approximation as Julian March 21 ever was, just as the Gregorian lunar calendar is as good an approximation to the moon as the Julian was in the long-ago days of its accuracy.

In almost every case, the Gregorian Easter agrees with the astronomical one.  The next discrepancy will be in 2019, when the astronomical method would give a date earlier than the Gregorian calendar, and so before the Rabbinic matzoth, which, as I noted, presupposes a later equinox that the Gregorian calendar does.

It is not possible for Gregorian Easter to coincide with Rabbinic 14 Nisan, because 14 Nisan in the Rabbinic calendar never falls on Sunday.  The "Passover" that sometimes coincides with Gregorian Easter is 15 Nisan, not 14 Nisan.  But in the context of the paschalion, the "Jewish Passover" means 14th of Nisan, never the 15th.  The workaday meaning of "Passover" has changed since 325.  It is anachronistic to apply the modern meaning of "Passover" to formulations that presuppose a different one.

It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science.
As noted above, the Gregorian calendar almost always does this already.  And the astronomical method, like the Gregorian method, would still violate your spurious "Passover" rule.

I do not know where you are getting your information on what actually happened at Nicaea. We do not have that many actual primary sources on the council. I have looked at the few sources that we have and they agree with my argument that the 1st Ecumenical Council declared that the Church would follow the Roman practice for the calculation of the date of Pascha. The Romans celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover. Therefore the council also mandated that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover. The difference was that the council decreed that Orthodox would make their own calculations instead of relying on the Jewish calculations for when the 1st full moon falls after the Spring Equinox. The council gave the responsibility to prepare the tables indicating the date of Pascha to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.  That is why St. Athanasius sent out his Festal Letters, the 39th of which gave the final list of canonical books of the New Testament. 

As I mentioned I participated in the North American Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. When the Lutherans brought up the Aleppo proposal, the representatives of the Greek Archdiocese cited the response of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the document. The Greek representatives reported that the consensus within the Eastern Orthodox Church is that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Since the requirement that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover was part of the original calculations of Rome and the 1st Council of Nicaea specified that the Church would follow the Roman standard for the calculation of Pascha it is logical to assume that the 1st Ecumenical Council required that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover. Since that is the consensus of the Church, it can hardly be called "spurious."

There are several problems with the Gregorian Calendar calculations of the date of Pascha. The first is that they overturn the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council which also gave the Patriarchate of Alexandria the responsibility for preparing the tables indicating the date of Pascha. The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the council and still uses the tables prepared by the Patriarchate of Alexandria. When the compilers of the Gregorian Calendar prepared their own tables on the date of Pascha they violated this provision of the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. The Pope does not have the authority to overrule an Ecumenical Council. The Gregorian calculations not only violate Nicaea 1 by celebrating the Western Easter before the Jewish Passover, it also also allows for the Western Easter to fall on the day of Passover as it did in 1825. This is a direct violation not only of the 1st Ecumenical Council, but also of of Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 341.

Finally although the Gregorian Calendar date of the Spring Equinox may be closer to the actual Vernal Equinox than the Julian Calendar date, it is still incorrect. If we are to make a change, we should use the actual date of the Spring Equinox as calculated by scientists and include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover thereby remaining faithful to the mandates of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, as far as I know there is no support within Orthodoxy for changing our date of Pascha. If a change is made, it must be done with the approval of the entire Orthodox Church through a Pan-Orthodox Council and the unanimous approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches. It should be done to follow the scientifically determined date of the Spring Equinox, not  to celebrate Pascha with the West. 

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2281 on: January 24, 2014, 04:19:49 PM »

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. 
The Asian practice was largely a dead letter by the time of Nicea.  The controversy at Nicea was between two schools of Sunday observance:  traditionalists or "Jewish calendarists", who set the festival to the Sunday falling in the 3rd week of Jewish Nisan; and innovators or "Independent calendarists" who wanted to compute a Christian month of Nisan and set the festival to the 3rd Sunday of that independently computed, Chrsitian Nisan.  The "Jewish calendarists" seem to have been mainly in Syria, not Asia Minor.  Nicea sided with the "Independent calendarists."  Henceforth Christians were to have their own lunar calendar, one which began with the first lunar month to have its latter half entirely after the equinox, and the Jewish lunar calendar would be of no concern whatever.
Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
The Rabbinic calendar effectively calculates Passover by the same formula that the computistical fathers considered "Mosaic":  First full moon of Spring.  It differs by a month from the Gregorian Easter in 3 years out of 19 because the Rabbinic calendar's implied equinox is about 4 days late. 
 
I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
It is false to say that the Gregorian equinox is "incorrect."  It is approximate, to as good an approximation as Julian March 21 ever was, just as the Gregorian lunar calendar is as good an approximation to the moon as the Julian was in the long-ago days of its accuracy.

In almost every case, the Gregorian Easter agrees with the astronomical one.  The next discrepancy will be in 2019, when the astronomical method would give a date earlier than the Gregorian calendar, and so before the Rabbinic matzoth, which, as I noted, presupposes a later equinox that the Gregorian calendar does.

It is not possible for Gregorian Easter to coincide with Rabbinic 14 Nisan, because 14 Nisan in the Rabbinic calendar never falls on Sunday.  The "Passover" that sometimes coincides with Gregorian Easter is 15 Nisan, not 14 Nisan.  But in the context of the paschalion, the "Jewish Passover" means 14th of Nisan, never the 15th.  The workaday meaning of "Passover" has changed since 325.  It is anachronistic to apply the modern meaning of "Passover" to formulations that presuppose a different one.

It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science.
As noted above, the Gregorian calendar almost always does this already.  And the astronomical method, like the Gregorian method, would still violate your spurious "Passover" rule.

I do not know where you are getting your information on what actually happened at Nicaea. We do not have that many actual primary sources on the council.
Where are you getting your information, Fr. John? Would you share it with us?

I have looked at the few sources that we have and they agree with my argument that the 1st Ecumenical Council declared that the Church would follow the Roman practice for the calculation of the date of Pascha. The Romans celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover. Therefore the council also mandated that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover. The difference was that the council decreed that Orthodox would make their own calculations instead of relying on the Jewish calculations for when the 1st full moon falls after the Spring Equinox.
What's the difference between that and what I'm saying? If the Jews celebrate their Passover on the first full moon after the spring equinox and we Christians wait until the following Sunday, then our Pascha will always follow the Jewish Passover, even if only by sheer coincidence. That does not prove that the Nicene Fathers actually intended for the Church to celebrate Pascha after the Jewish Passover without exception, as you and John Zonaras seem to think.

The council gave the responsibility to prepare the tables indicating the date of Pascha to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.  That is why St. Athanasius sent out his Festal Letters, the 39th of which gave the final list of canonical books of the New Testament. 

As I mentioned I participated in the North American Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. When the Lutherans brought up the Aleppo proposal, the representatives of the Greek Archdiocese cited the response of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the document. The Greek representatives reported that the consensus within the Eastern Orthodox Church is that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Since the requirement that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover was part of the original calculations of Rome and the 1st Council of Nicaea specified that the Church would follow the Roman standard for the calculation of Pascha it is logical to assume that the 1st Ecumenical Council required that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover.
No, Father, it is not logical to assume that, as I have already shown.

Since that is the consensus of the Church, it can hardly be called "spurious."
But has it always been the consensus of the Church, even prior to John Zonaras in the 12th century? Is it truly the consensus of the Church even today? The evidence I've reviewed seems to say otherwise on both questions.

There are several problems with the Gregorian Calendar calculations of the date of Pascha. The first is that they overturn the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council which also gave the Patriarchate of Alexandria the responsibility for preparing the tables indicating the date of Pascha. The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the council and still uses the tables prepared by the Patriarchate of Alexandria. When the compilers of the Gregorian Calendar prepared their own tables on the date of Pascha they violated this provision of the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. The Pope does not have the authority to overrule an Ecumenical Council. The Gregorian calculations not only violate Nicaea 1 by celebrating the Western Easter before the Jewish Passover, it also also allows for the Western Easter to fall on the day of Passover as it did in 1825. This is a direct violation not only of the 1st Ecumenical Council, but also of of Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 341.
Why are you arguing about the Gregorian Calendar? Is it not the Revised Julian Calendar that many Orthodox use for their menologion? What relevance does the Gregorian Calendar have to this discussion?

Finally although the Gregorian Calendar date of the Spring Equinox may be closer to the actual Vernal Equinox than the Julian Calendar date, it is still incorrect. If we are to make a change, we should use the actual date of the Spring Equinox as calculated by scientists and include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover thereby remaining faithful to the mandates of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, as far as I know there is no support within Orthodoxy for changing our date of Pascha. If a change is made, it must be done with the approval of the entire Orthodox Church through a Pan-Orthodox Council and the unanimous approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches. It should be done to follow the scientifically determined date of the Spring Equinox, not  to celebrate Pascha with the West.
I'm not aware of any major movement amongst the Orthodox outside of Finland to celebrate Pascha with the West. It would be nice to eliminate this incongruity between celebrating Pascha on the "Old" Julian Calendar and the Menaion on the "New" Revised Julian Calendar, but that's another issue altogether.
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« Reply #2282 on: January 24, 2014, 06:06:56 PM »

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox.
The Asian practice was largely a dead letter by the time of Nicea.  The controversy at Nicea was between two schools of Sunday observance:  traditionalists or "Jewish calendarists", who set the festival to the Sunday falling in the 3rd week of Jewish Nisan; and innovators or "Independent calendarists" who wanted to compute a Christian month of Nisan and set the festival to the 3rd Sunday of that independently computed, Chrsitian Nisan.  The "Jewish calendarists" seem to have been mainly in Syria, not Asia Minor.  Nicea sided with the "Independent calendarists."  Henceforth Christians were to have their own lunar calendar, one which began with the first lunar month to have its latter half entirely after the equinox, and the Jewish lunar calendar would be of no concern whatever.
Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
The Rabbinic calendar effectively calculates Passover by the same formula that the computistical fathers considered "Mosaic":  First full moon of Spring.  It differs by a month from the Gregorian Easter in 3 years out of 19 because the Rabbinic calendar's implied equinox is about 4 days late. 
 
I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
It is false to say that the Gregorian equinox is "incorrect."  It is approximate, to as good an approximation as Julian March 21 ever was, just as the Gregorian lunar calendar is as good an approximation to the moon as the Julian was in the long-ago days of its accuracy.

In almost every case, the Gregorian Easter agrees with the astronomical one.  The next discrepancy will be in 2019, when the astronomical method would give a date earlier than the Gregorian calendar, and so before the Rabbinic matzoth, which, as I noted, presupposes a later equinox that the Gregorian calendar does.

It is not possible for Gregorian Easter to coincide with Rabbinic 14 Nisan, because 14 Nisan in the Rabbinic calendar never falls on Sunday.  The "Passover" that sometimes coincides with Gregorian Easter is 15 Nisan, not 14 Nisan.  But in the context of the paschalion, the "Jewish Passover" means 14th of Nisan, never the 15th.  The workaday meaning of "Passover" has changed since 325.  It is anachronistic to apply the modern meaning of "Passover" to formulations that presuppose a different one.

It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science.
As noted above, the Gregorian calendar almost always does this already.  And the astronomical method, like the Gregorian method, would still violate your spurious "Passover" rule.

I do not know where you are getting your information on what actually happened at Nicaea. We do not have that many actual primary sources on the council.
Where are you getting your information, Fr. John? Would you share it with us?

I have looked at the few sources that we have and they agree with my argument that the 1st Ecumenical Council declared that the Church would follow the Roman practice for the calculation of the date of Pascha. The Romans celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover. Therefore the council also mandated that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover. The difference was that the council decreed that Orthodox would make their own calculations instead of relying on the Jewish calculations for when the 1st full moon falls after the Spring Equinox.
What's the difference between that and what I'm saying? If the Jews celebrate their Passover on the first full moon after the spring equinox and we Christians wait until the following Sunday, then our Pascha will always follow the Jewish Passover, even if only by sheer coincidence. That does not prove that the Nicene Fathers actually intended for the Church to celebrate Pascha after the Jewish Passover without exception, as you and John Zonaras seem to think.

The council gave the responsibility to prepare the tables indicating the date of Pascha to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.  That is why St. Athanasius sent out his Festal Letters, the 39th of which gave the final list of canonical books of the New Testament. 

As I mentioned I participated in the North American Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. When the Lutherans brought up the Aleppo proposal, the representatives of the Greek Archdiocese cited the response of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the document. The Greek representatives reported that the consensus within the Eastern Orthodox Church is that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Since the requirement that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover was part of the original calculations of Rome and the 1st Council of Nicaea specified that the Church would follow the Roman standard for the calculation of Pascha it is logical to assume that the 1st Ecumenical Council required that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover.
No, Father, it is not logical to assume that, as I have already shown.

Since that is the consensus of the Church, it can hardly be called "spurious."
But has it always been the consensus of the Church, even prior to John Zonaras in the 12th century? Is it truly the consensus of the Church even today? The evidence I've reviewed seems to say otherwise on both questions.

There are several problems with the Gregorian Calendar calculations of the date of Pascha. The first is that they overturn the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council which also gave the Patriarchate of Alexandria the responsibility for preparing the tables indicating the date of Pascha. The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the council and still uses the tables prepared by the Patriarchate of Alexandria. When the compilers of the Gregorian Calendar prepared their own tables on the date of Pascha they violated this provision of the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. The Pope does not have the authority to overrule an Ecumenical Council. The Gregorian calculations not only violate Nicaea 1 by celebrating the Western Easter before the Jewish Passover, it also also allows for the Western Easter to fall on the day of Passover as it did in 1825. This is a direct violation not only of the 1st Ecumenical Council, but also of of Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 341.
Why are you arguing about the Gregorian Calendar? Is it not the Revised Julian Calendar that many Orthodox use for their menologion? What relevance does the Gregorian Calendar have to this discussion?

Finally although the Gregorian Calendar date of the Spring Equinox may be closer to the actual Vernal Equinox than the Julian Calendar date, it is still incorrect. If we are to make a change, we should use the actual date of the Spring Equinox as calculated by scientists and include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover thereby remaining faithful to the mandates of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, as far as I know there is no support within Orthodoxy for changing our date of Pascha. If a change is made, it must be done with the approval of the entire Orthodox Church through a Pan-Orthodox Council and the unanimous approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches. It should be done to follow the scientifically determined date of the Spring Equinox, not  to celebrate Pascha with the West.
I'm not aware of any major movement amongst the Orthodox outside of Finland to celebrate Pascha with the West. It would be nice to eliminate this incongruity between celebrating Pascha on the "Old" Julian Calendar and the Menaion on the "New" Revised Julian Calendar, but that's another issue altogether.

Among other sources, I used Eusebius and the Nicene Fathers volume that contains the decisions of the 7 Ecumenical Councils along with commentary and the canons of the local councils recognized by Trullo as having ecumenical authority, and the Rudder. The Nicene Fathers volume contains every record we have from the 1st Ecumenical Council. I have also consulted Schaff's history of the Church which states that the Gregorian Calendar date of Pascha violated the rules of the 1st Ecumenical Council and several other scholarly works on church history.
In 1997, the World Council of Churches sponsored a meeting in Aleppo that proposed that all Christians celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the Spring Equinox as it takes place in Jerusalem. However this proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. I was part of the Orthodox delegation during the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. The Lutherans asked the dialogue to endorse the Aleppo proposal. This led to a detailed discussion of the issue during two meetings. At the second meeting, the representatives of the Greek Archdiocese reported that they had consulted Constantinople which told them that the Orthodox cannot not accept the Aleppo proposal because it is the consensus of all Eastern Orthodox that our rules include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. I vividly remember this because I and a Lutheran theologian, whose name I do not remember, were responsible for writing the official statement of the dialogue on this issue.
I am aware that there are scholars who do not agree that the rules of the Church mandate that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. However, that is only the opinion of some scholars. What is authoritative is the consensus of the Church, which is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
Also as an historian I do not agree with the opinion of some scholars that the 1st Ecumenical Council did not intend that Orthodox celebrate Pascha after the Jewish Passover. The original dispute on the date of Pascha was between Rome under Pope Victor I in ca. 190 and the Churches of Asia Minor.  Rome required that Pascha be celebrated on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover which fell on the first full moon after the Spring Equinox which is the 14th of Nisan according to the Jewish Calendar. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th of Nisan  regardless of the day of the week. The 1st Ecumenical Council ruled that the Church follow the Roman practice as is specifically stated by the letter of the Emperor to those not present at the council. That would mean that Pascha must be celebrated on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover or the 14th of Nisan which falls on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox because that was the Roman practice. However, the council also ruled that Orthodox make their own calculations and not rely on the Jews to tell us when the first full moon takes place following the Spring Equinox. Instead, the council gave the Patriarchate of Alexandria the responsibility for calculating the date of Pascha. Orthodox still follow the tables prepared by Alexandria. The Gregorian Calendar calculation of the date of Pascha does not follow the tables from Alexandria. Therefore we are in compliance with the 1st Ecumenical Council while the West is not. Because the tables from Alexandria always date Pascha after the Jewish Passover, Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Thus there are two pieces of historical evidence that the Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover; the decision of the 1st Council of Nicea that all Churches must follow the Roman practice which mandated that Orthodox Pascha must come after the Jewish Passover, and the tables prepared by Alexandria following the rules adopted by the council which always places Orthodox Pascha after the Jewish Passover.
I am aware that those Orthodox Churches that follow the New Calendar do not actually follow the Gregorian Calendar, but the New Revised Julian Calendar. However, for all practical purposes the New Revised Julian Calendar is the Gregorian Calendar because the two calendars are identical until 4400.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2283 on: January 24, 2014, 06:45:57 PM »

I am not relying on Zonaras. I am relying on the history of the Paschal Dispute. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th  of the Jewish month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week. The 14th of Nisan is the day of the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox. The Church in Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the 14th of Nisan. Because the Jews celebrated the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, that means that Rome and the rest of the Church celebrated Pascha on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover. The 1st Council of Nicaea ruled that the Church would follow the Roman practice, which is to celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox.
The Asian practice was largely a dead letter by the time of Nicea.  The controversy at Nicea was between two schools of Sunday observance:  traditionalists or "Jewish calendarists", who set the festival to the Sunday falling in the 3rd week of Jewish Nisan; and innovators or "Independent calendarists" who wanted to compute a Christian month of Nisan and set the festival to the 3rd Sunday of that independently computed, Chrsitian Nisan.  The "Jewish calendarists" seem to have been mainly in Syria, not Asia Minor.  Nicea sided with the "Independent calendarists."  Henceforth Christians were to have their own lunar calendar, one which began with the first lunar month to have its latter half entirely after the equinox, and the Jewish lunar calendar would be of no concern whatever.
Because at that time the Jews celebrated Passover on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox that means that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover as they calculated it in 325, or more correctly the Mosaic Passover since the modern Jews use a different method to calculate Passover.
The Rabbinic calendar effectively calculates Passover by the same formula that the computistical fathers considered "Mosaic":  First full moon of Spring.  It differs by a month from the Gregorian Easter in 3 years out of 19 because the Rabbinic calendar's implied equinox is about 4 days late.  
 
I recognize that the Julian calendar date for the Vernal Equinox is incorrect, but the Gregorian date for the Vernal Equinox is also incorrect. Therefore, we cannot accept the Gregorian date for Pascha and be faithful to the decision of the 1st Ecumenical Council, not only because the date of the Spring Equinox according to the Gregorian Calendar is incorrect, but also because there are times when the Gregorian date for Pascha falls before the Jewish Passover. The Gregorian Pascha can  even fall on the day of the Jewish Passover which is strictly forbidden by Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 431.
It is false to say that the Gregorian equinox is "incorrect."  It is approximate, to as good an approximation as Julian March 21 ever was, just as the Gregorian lunar calendar is as good an approximation to the moon as the Julian was in the long-ago days of its accuracy.

In almost every case, the Gregorian Easter agrees with the astronomical one.  The next discrepancy will be in 2019, when the astronomical method would give a date earlier than the Gregorian calendar, and so before the Rabbinic matzoth, which, as I noted, presupposes a later equinox that the Gregorian calendar does.

It is not possible for Gregorian Easter to coincide with Rabbinic 14 Nisan, because 14 Nisan in the Rabbinic calendar never falls on Sunday.  The "Passover" that sometimes coincides with Gregorian Easter is 15 Nisan, not 14 Nisan.  But in the context of the paschalion, the "Jewish Passover" means 14th of Nisan, never the 15th.  The workaday meaning of "Passover" has changed since 325.  It is anachronistic to apply the modern meaning of "Passover" to formulations that presuppose a different one.

It we are to change, we should use the actual date of the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox as determined by  modern science.
As noted above, the Gregorian calendar almost always does this already.  And the astronomical method, like the Gregorian method, would still violate your spurious "Passover" rule.

I do not know where you are getting your information on what actually happened at Nicaea. We do not have that many actual primary sources on the council.
Where are you getting your information, Fr. John? Would you share it with us?

I have looked at the few sources that we have and they agree with my argument that the 1st Ecumenical Council declared that the Church would follow the Roman practice for the calculation of the date of Pascha. The Romans celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover. Therefore the council also mandated that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover. The difference was that the council decreed that Orthodox would make their own calculations instead of relying on the Jewish calculations for when the 1st full moon falls after the Spring Equinox.
What's the difference between that and what I'm saying? If the Jews celebrate their Passover on the first full moon after the spring equinox and we Christians wait until the following Sunday, then our Pascha will always follow the Jewish Passover, even if only by sheer coincidence. That does not prove that the Nicene Fathers actually intended for the Church to celebrate Pascha after the Jewish Passover without exception, as you and John Zonaras seem to think.

The council gave the responsibility to prepare the tables indicating the date of Pascha to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.  That is why St. Athanasius sent out his Festal Letters, the 39th of which gave the final list of canonical books of the New Testament.  

As I mentioned I participated in the North American Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. When the Lutherans brought up the Aleppo proposal, the representatives of the Greek Archdiocese cited the response of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the document. The Greek representatives reported that the consensus within the Eastern Orthodox Church is that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Since the requirement that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover was part of the original calculations of Rome and the 1st Council of Nicaea specified that the Church would follow the Roman standard for the calculation of Pascha it is logical to assume that the 1st Ecumenical Council required that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover.
No, Father, it is not logical to assume that, as I have already shown.

Since that is the consensus of the Church, it can hardly be called "spurious."
But has it always been the consensus of the Church, even prior to John Zonaras in the 12th century? Is it truly the consensus of the Church even today? The evidence I've reviewed seems to say otherwise on both questions.

There are several problems with the Gregorian Calendar calculations of the date of Pascha. The first is that they overturn the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council which also gave the Patriarchate of Alexandria the responsibility for preparing the tables indicating the date of Pascha. The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the council and still uses the tables prepared by the Patriarchate of Alexandria. When the compilers of the Gregorian Calendar prepared their own tables on the date of Pascha they violated this provision of the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council. The Pope does not have the authority to overrule an Ecumenical Council. The Gregorian calculations not only violate Nicaea 1 by celebrating the Western Easter before the Jewish Passover, it also also allows for the Western Easter to fall on the day of Passover as it did in 1825. This is a direct violation not only of the 1st Ecumenical Council, but also of of Canon 1 of the Council of Antioch in 341.
Why are you arguing about the Gregorian Calendar? Is it not the Revised Julian Calendar that many Orthodox use for their menologion? What relevance does the Gregorian Calendar have to this discussion?

Finally although the Gregorian Calendar date of the Spring Equinox may be closer to the actual Vernal Equinox than the Julian Calendar date, it is still incorrect. If we are to make a change, we should use the actual date of the Spring Equinox as calculated by scientists and include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover thereby remaining faithful to the mandates of the 1st Ecumenical Council. However, as far as I know there is no support within Orthodoxy for changing our date of Pascha. If a change is made, it must be done with the approval of the entire Orthodox Church through a Pan-Orthodox Council and the unanimous approval of the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches. It should be done to follow the scientifically determined date of the Spring Equinox, not  to celebrate Pascha with the West.
I'm not aware of any major movement amongst the Orthodox outside of Finland to celebrate Pascha with the West. It would be nice to eliminate this incongruity between celebrating Pascha on the "Old" Julian Calendar and the Menaion on the "New" Revised Julian Calendar, but that's another issue altogether.

Among other sources, I used Eusebius and the Nicene Fathers volume that contains the decisions of the 7 Ecumenical Councils along with commentary and the canons of the local councils recognized by Trullo as having ecumenical authority, and the Rudder. The Nicene Fathers volume contains every record we have from the 1st Ecumenical Council. I have also consulted Schaff's history of the Church which states that the Gregorian Calendar date of Pascha violated the rules of the 1st Ecumenical Council and several other scholarly works on church history.
I'm not asking to know what documents you've read. I'm asking to know what those documents say. I therefore ask that you quote the pertinent canons and documents here on this thread.

In 1997, the World Council of Churches sponsored a meeting in Aleppo that proposed that all Christians celebrate Pascha on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the Spring Equinox as it takes place in Jerusalem. However this proposal did not include the stipulation that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. I was part of the Orthodox delegation during the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. The Lutherans asked the dialogue to endorse the Aleppo proposal. This led to a detailed discussion of the issue during two meetings. At the second meeting, the representatives of the Greek Archdiocese reported that they had consulted Constantinople which told them that the Orthodox cannot not accept the Aleppo proposal because it is the consensus of all Eastern Orthodox that our rules include the provision that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. I vividly remember this because I and a Lutheran theologian, whose name I do not remember, were responsible for writing the official statement of the dialogue on this issue.
Yes, I am aware of the Aleppo Council and of your role in it, because you keep repeating that fact. Your reiteration, though, offers nothing new to this discussion.

I am aware that there are scholars who do not agree that the rules of the Church mandate that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. However, that is only the opinion of some scholars. What is authoritative is the consensus of the Church, which is that Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover.
There is no consensus throughout time that we must follow this rule. I notice that you keep failing to address Zonaras's role in articulating this false "consensus" in the 12th century. How convenient.

Also as an historian I do not agree with the opinion of some scholars that the 1st Ecumenical Council did not intend that Orthodox celebrate Pascha after the Jewish Passover. The original dispute on the date of Pascha was between Rome under Pope Victor I in ca. 190 and the Churches of Asia Minor.  Rome required that Pascha be celebrated on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover which fell on the first full moon after the Spring Equinox which is the 14th of Nisan according to the Jewish Calendar. The Churches in Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th of Nisan  regardless of the day of the week. The 1st Ecumenical Council ruled that the Church follow the Roman practice as is specifically stated by the letter of the Emperor to those not present at the council. That would mean that Pascha must be celebrated on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover or the 14th of Nisan which falls on the day of the first full moon following the Spring Equinox because that was the Roman practice. However, the council also ruled that Orthodox make their own calculations and not rely on the Jews to tell us when the first full moon takes place following the Spring Equinox. Instead, the council gave the Patriarchate of Alexandria the responsibility for calculating the date of Pascha. Orthodox still follow the tables prepared by Alexandria. The Gregorian Calendar calculation of the date of Pascha does not follow the tables from Alexandria.
I am very well versed in the history of the great Pascha debates of Nicea and before. I am aware also that they do not support your thesis that the Fathers cared so much about following the Jewish Passover that they were willing to follow the Jews in their error should they schedule their own Passover after the second full moon of spring.

Therefore we are in compliance with the 1st Ecumenical Council while the West is not. Because the tables from Alexandria always date Pascha after the Jewish Passover, Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Thus there are two pieces of historical evidence that the Orthodox Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover; the decision of the 1st Council of Nicea that all Churches must follow the Roman practice which mandated that Orthodox Pascha must come after the Jewish Passover, and the tables prepared by Alexandria following the rules adopted by the council which always places Orthodox Pascha after the Jewish Passover.
That can also be explained by the mere coincidence that the Sunday after the first full moon of spring will almost always follow the Jewish Passover if the Passover is scheduled correctly. What happens, though, if the two happen to coincide because Passover falls on a Sunday? What happens if the Jews happen to schedule their Passover a month late? Are we to follow them in their error?

I am aware that those Orthodox Churches that follow the New Calendar do not actually follow the Gregorian Calendar, but the New Revised Julian Calendar. However, for all practical purposes the New Revised Julian Calendar is the Gregorian Calendar because the two calendars are identical until 4400.
"For all practical purposes" does not turn one into the other. The Revised Julian Calendar is NOT the Gregorian Calendar, regardless of how much you buy the Old Calendarist rhetoric that they're the same. The Revised Julian Calendar was created to be different from the Gregorian Calendar by its foundation upon different calculations.
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« Reply #2284 on: January 24, 2014, 07:18:48 PM »


I am aware that those Orthodox Churches that follow the New Calendar do not actually follow the Gregorian Calendar, but the New Revised Julian Calendar. However, for all practical purposes the New Revised Julian Calendar is the Gregorian Calendar because the two calendars are identical until 4400.

Fr. John W. Morris
According to this article at OrthodoxWiki the two calendars diverge in the year 2800. Perhaps you can clarify.
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« Reply #2285 on: January 24, 2014, 11:51:09 PM »

As I've asked before, why does everyone insist on calling it the "revised Julian"? Why not the "revised Gregorian"?
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« Reply #2286 on: January 25, 2014, 12:02:18 AM »

As I've asked before, why does everyone insist on calling it the "revised Julian"? Why not the "revised Gregorian"?
Because that's not what it is.
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« Reply #2287 on: January 25, 2014, 12:40:01 PM »

As I've asked before, why does everyone insist on calling it the "revised Julian"? Why not the "revised Gregorian"?
Because that's not what it is.

What's Julian about the revised Julian? The epoch is the same as the Gregorian, as opposed to the Julian, and in every other respect the revised Julian is more similar to the Gregorian than to the Julian. Revised Gregorian is a far more accurate name.
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« Reply #2288 on: January 25, 2014, 01:14:31 PM »

I do not know where you are getting your information on what actually happened at Nicaea. We do not have that many actual primary sources on the council. I have looked at the few sources that we have and they agree with my argument that the 1st Ecumenical Council declared that the Church would follow the Roman practice for the calculation of the date of Pascha.
The council agreed that there should be a uniform date, and that the date should be computed independently, as was already being done in "Rome, in Africa, in all Italy, Egypt, Spain, Gaul, Britain, Libya in all Achaia, and in the dioceses of Asia, of Pontus, and Cilicia."  (Constantine, Letter to the absent bishops, in Eusebius, Life of Constantine, iii.18ff.)
  
The Romans celebrated Pascha on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover. Therefore the council also mandated that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover.
Yet again, you are being inconsistent in your definition of "Passover."  By "Passover" do you mean

(a) the 14th of Nisan as computed on the Jewish calendar?  
(b) the 14th of Nisan as computed by Christians?  or
(c) the 15th of Nisan as computed on the Jewish calendar?  

Sometimes your statements seem to presuppose one of these, then a subsequent statement presupposes a different one.  Your two statements just quoted are an example of this.  Your first statement is almost correct if one uses definition (b).   But your second statement, read in light of your other statements on this thread, clearly presupposes definition (c).  

In Alexandria, Easter was set to the Sunday after "Passover" as defined by Christians, definition (b).  The date of this "Passover" varied by a 19-year cycle, similar to, but not identical to, the Julian Paschalion of the present day.  In Rome, as far as we know, the "Passover" in question was also a Christian Passover, definition (b), whose dates were cyclic in the civil calendar at intervals of 84 years.  Also, sometimes the Romans waited for the second Sunday after the Christian Passover.  They seemed to think that, since our Lord rose on the 16th of the moon by the Johannine chronology, Easter should not fall before the 16th of the moon.  In any case, "Passover" definition (b) was the one that was implicitly approved by the council.  Definition (a) was what Athanasius refers to when he states that "The Syrians, Cilicians, and Mesopotamians...kept Easter with the Jews."  (De Synodis 1.5).   So definition (a) (and by implication definition (c)) was deprecated by the Council.

The difference was that the council decreed that Orthodox would make their own calculations instead of relying on the Jewish calculations for when the 1st full moon falls after the Spring Equinox.
Here you presuppose that "full moon" =  "Passover" definition (b) above.  But you frequently contradict this statement elsewhere by presupposing that the council commanded that we use a "Passover" defined by definition (c) above.  

The council gave the responsibility to prepare the tables indicating the date of Pascha to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.  That is why St. Athanasius sent out his Festal Letters...
The council did not micro-manage the Paschalion.  In particular it did not give any special privileges to the Bishop of Alexandria.  The council seems, rather, to have assumed that the foremost bishops would work out the details in practice through consultation.  The sequel shows this process at work.  Nowhere in his writings does Athanasius pretend to any special privileges in the Easter computation.  On the other hand, Athanasius clearly consulted with Rome on the question, and sometimes when the two systems gave discrepant computations, Alexandria adopted the Roman date.  Other times, Rome adopted the Alexandrine date.  Easter 346 and 349 seem to be examples of the first, Easter 330, 340, and 341 seem to be examples of the second.  In 333 the two cities agreed on a date that was according-to-rule for neither.  For 349 the Aramaic index to St. Athanasius's letters gives us a picture of some of the horse-trading:  
Quote
In this year, Easter-day was on the 30th of Pamenoth, the 19th day of the moon, VII Kal. April (March 26th)]...because the Romans refused [the Alexandrine date of April 23rd], for they said they held a tradition from the Apostle Peter not to pass the twenty-sixth day of Pharmuthi (April 21st), nor the thirtieth of Phamenoth (March 26th).
Furthermore, Athanasius's Festal letters are addressed only to his own bishops, not to the whole world.  And he would have sent them even if the council had not considered the Easter question.

Theophilus, a later bishop of Alexandria, sent a 100-year Easter table to Emperor Theodosius.  In his cover-letter to the Emperor, he nowhere explicitly cites any special legal privileges of his see, though he seems to be relying on Alexandria's reputation as a city where astronomy is done well.   Likewise in his brief description of principles of the Easter computation, he never cites councils or canons.  The only laws he cites are those of Scripture, meterology, arithmetic, and astronomy.  His underlying presupposition seems to be that the way of distinguishing good Easter tables from less good Easter tables is by how well they uphold the principles of (1) the equinox (2) the full moon and (3) the Lord's day, not by whether they come from Alexandria or not.  The idea that Alexandria had some sort of special privilege in the matter arose only later, perhaps with bishop Cyril.

As I mentioned I participated in the North American Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. When the Lutherans brought up the Aleppo proposal, the representatives of the Greek Archdiocese cited the response of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the document. The Greek representatives reported that the consensus within the Eastern Orthodox Church is that Pascha must follow the Jewish Passover. Since the requirement that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover was part of the original calculations of Rome and the 1st Council of Nicaea specified that the Church would follow the Roman standard for the calculation of Pascha it is logical to assume that the 1st Ecumenical Council required that Pascha follow the Jewish Passover.
Here again you switch from "Passover" by definition (b) above to "Passover" by definition (c) above.  All the independent Paschal computations in use at the time of the council presupposed definition (b), so definition (b) is the only one that the council can be said implicitly to have ordered.  Definition (a) was deprecated, and so it is logical to suppose that definition (c), on which you rely, is also implicitly deprecated by the Council.

There are several problems with the Gregorian Calendar calculations of the date of Pascha. The first is that they overturn the decisions of the 1st Ecumenical Council which also gave the Patriarchate of Alexandria the responsibility for preparing the tables indicating the date of Pascha.
The council did not do this; see above.

The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the council and still uses the tables prepared by the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
By using the tables that reached their final form in the 5th century, you are departing from the intention of the conciliar generation. It is the Gregorian Paschalion that is faithful to the Council, as also Milankovitch's proposal would be, and the Aleppo proposal would be.

The Gregorian calculations not only violate Nicaea 1 by celebrating the Western Easter before the Jewish Passover, it also also allows for the Western Easter to fall on the day of Passover as it did in 1825.
Here again you are changing the definition of "Passover" to agree with your prejudices, rather than using the definition that is implicit in the arithmetic of the Paschalion.
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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.--Byrhtferth of Ramsey
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« Reply #2289 on: January 25, 2014, 01:17:40 PM »

As I've asked before, why does everyone insist on calling it the "revised Julian"? Why not the "revised Gregorian"?
Because that's not what it is.

What's Julian about the revised Julian? The epoch is the same as the Gregorian, as opposed to the Julian, and in every other respect the revised Julian is more similar to the Gregorian than to the Julian. Revised Gregorian is a far more accurate name.
In your opinion it is. In the opinion of those who drafted the Revised Julian Calendar it is not.
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« Reply #2290 on: January 25, 2014, 01:27:59 PM »

As I've asked before, why does everyone insist on calling it the "revised Julian"? Why not the "revised Gregorian"?
If calling it "Revised Julian" bothers you, then call it the Milankovitch calendar.

As it happens, both the Gregorian and Milaknovitch solar calendars are "revised Julian" calendars.  They both began with the Julian year of 365.25 days and added a correction term.  There are good arguments for either value of the correction.

On the lunar side, the Gregorian lunar calendar is, and was intended to be, a revision of the Julian lunar calendar, while the Milankovitch calendar throws out the use of a lunar calendar altogether for a precise astronomical computation of the essential astronomical phenomenon, the first lunar opposition of springtime.  There are good arguments for either approach.
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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.--Byrhtferth of Ramsey
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« Reply #2291 on: January 25, 2014, 01:31:10 PM »

As I've asked before, why does everyone insist on calling it the "revised Julian"? Why not the "revised Gregorian"?
Because that's not what it is.

What's Julian about the revised Julian? The epoch is the same as the Gregorian, as opposed to the Julian, and in every other respect the revised Julian is more similar to the Gregorian than to the Julian. Revised Gregorian is a far more accurate name.
In your opinion it is. In the opinion of those who drafted the Revised Julian Calendar it is not.

It is my opinion, but I also provided reasons and evidence to support it, unlike you.
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« Reply #2292 on: January 25, 2014, 01:38:11 PM »

As I've asked before, why does everyone insist on calling it the "revised Julian"? Why not the "revised Gregorian"?
If calling it "Revised Julian" bothers you, then call it the Milankovitch calendar.

As it happens, both the Gregorian and Milaknovitch solar calendars are "revised Julian" calendars.  They both began with the Julian year of 365.25 days and added a correction term.  There are good arguments for either value of the correction.

On the lunar side, the Gregorian lunar calendar is, and was intended to be, a revision of the Julian lunar calendar, while the Milankovitch calendar throws out the use of a lunar calendar altogether for a precise astronomical computation of the essential astronomical phenomenon, the first lunar opposition of springtime.  There are good arguments for either approach.

Well, the real point behind my quibbles over the name is related to the argument that the "revised Julian" doesn't fall under the anathema against the Gregorian because it is not the same as the Gregorian. But that depends on how you define "Gregorian". If by "Gregorian" you mean just the version promulgated by Pope Gregory, then yes. But if you mean the Gregorian and any revised forms of the Gregorian to which only minor alterations were made, then the "revised Julian" ought to fall under the anathema, since in fact it is simply a form of the Gregorian with minor alterations made to make it more accurate. Calling the new calendar "revised Julian" allows its followers to pretend that they are just following the traditional calendar with minor alterations, rather than the anathematized Western calendar with alterations.
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« Reply #2293 on: January 25, 2014, 01:57:00 PM »

The real point behind my quibbles over the name is related to the argument that the "revised Julian" doesn't fall under the anathema against the Gregorian because it is not the same as the Gregorian. But that depends on how you define "Gregorian". If by "Gregorian" you mean just the version promulgated by Pope Gregory, then yes. But if you mean the Gregorian and any revised forms of the Gregorian to which only minor alterations were made, then the "revised Julian" ought to fall under the anathema, since in fact it is simply a form of the Gregorian with minor alterations made to make it more accurate. Calling the new calendar "revised Julian" allows its followers to pretend that they are just following the traditional calendar with minor alterations, rather than the anathematized Western calendar with alterations.
If you have to use fine legalistic sophistry to decide whether Milankovitch's calendar comes under an anathema or not, then maybe something is wrong with your reliance on the anathema, your reliance on legalistic arguments, or both. 
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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.--Byrhtferth of Ramsey
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« Reply #2294 on: January 25, 2014, 03:15:57 PM »

The real point behind my quibbles over the name is related to the argument that the "revised Julian" doesn't fall under the anathema against the Gregorian because it is not the same as the Gregorian. But that depends on how you define "Gregorian". If by "Gregorian" you mean just the version promulgated by Pope Gregory, then yes. But if you mean the Gregorian and any revised forms of the Gregorian to which only minor alterations were made, then the "revised Julian" ought to fall under the anathema, since in fact it is simply a form of the Gregorian with minor alterations made to make it more accurate. Calling the new calendar "revised Julian" allows its followers to pretend that they are just following the traditional calendar with minor alterations, rather than the anathematized Western calendar with alterations.
If you have to use fine legalistic sophistry to decide whether Milankovitch's calendar comes under an anathema or not, then maybe something is wrong with your reliance on the anathema, your reliance on legalistic arguments, or both. 

I completely agree with you. I am not the one resorting to sophistry, however; it is the ones who try to argue that the new calendar doesn't fall under the anathema who are doing so.
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