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Author Topic: calendar issue in OOC  (Read 791 times) Average Rating: 0
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deusveritasest
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« on: February 24, 2010, 02:15:15 AM »

How have the Oriental Orthodox churches treated the division in approach to the calendar, which happens to be even more severe than in the EOC?

What I have seen so far is that the African Oriental Orthodox churches (Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean) use some version of the "Old" rendering as found in the EOC, with the same paschal cycle and the same determining of dates on the civil calendar (+13 days right now); whereas most Asian Oriental Orthodox (Syriac, Armenian, and Malankara) use the paschal cycle of the Westerners and also their determining of dates on the civil calendar, which is essentially the Gregorian calendar rather than the "New" that is found in the EOC.
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Salpy
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2010, 02:19:58 AM »

It just doesn't bother us. 
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2010, 02:44:34 AM »

It just doesn't bother us.

It seems like a more helpful answer is that the Oriental churches are used to changing things without the consensus of one another, while the Orthodox are used to doing things together.  The Orthodox Churches share a common liturgy and calendar, while the Orientals are diverse in every way.  They have their own distinctive indigenous liturgies, as well as local variations in things like major feast days.  I think they're just used to handling absolutely everything on a local level, and very seldom even communicating with the other churches in their communion.  Just a guess.
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Father Peter
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2010, 03:36:58 AM »

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It seems like a more helpful answer is that the Oriental churches are used to changing things without the consensus of one another, while the Orthodox are used to doing things together.  The Orthodox Churches share a common liturgy and calendar, while the Orientals are diverse in every way.  They have their own distinctive indigenous liturgies, as well as local variations in things like major feast days.  I think they're just used to handling absolutely everything on a local level, and very seldom even communicating with the other churches in their communion.  Just a guess.

I don't think this is entirely/very accurate. It is not that things have changed, it is that things were always diverse. Within the Byzantine communion a uniformity was centrally imposed, as it was in the West. The diversity within our Orthodox Church is only that which was always there in all of the early Churches. The Byzantine communion only shares a common liturgy because the other local traditions were swept away in the Middle Ages.

There was always a centralising tendency in some areas of the Church. Leo of Rome wrote in a friendly manner to St Dioscorus, but within his letter still tried to impose several Roman liturgical customs as being universally obligatory. When Egeria visited Jerusalem what she saw was a different liturgical tradition to that which she was used to. It seems to me that this diversity was the universal custom, and reflected the inculturation of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in different cultures and places. It was only much later, in East and West, that a uniformity was imposed, that there is a uniformity in Catholic and Byzantine communities does not mean it was always there.

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deusveritasest
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2010, 04:44:01 AM »

It seems to me that the Asian use of the Gregorian calendar might be in violation of Nicaea I's decisions about the paschal cycle. Can anyone comment on this?
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 05:36:41 AM »

There is not a Nicene canon about the Calendar, and the reference in the Synodal letter only describes the fact that all would now celebrate on the same date as everyone else.

The main resolution during this period was that Pascha would be celebrated after the Spring equinox, and that Alexandria would provide the date. But on several occasions the Romans, who continued to do their own calculation, produced a different result and had to decide whether to stick with their own or submit to the Alexandrian. As far as I can see from a brief read, Alexandria and Rome carried out a correspondence on the issue of the date and neither mentioned any sort of Nicene authority for their own calculations. Letters from Leo of Rome show that he thinks the Alexandrian calculation is wrong.

It would appear that it was Antioch which used a different method and was the object of discussions at Nicaea and not any remnants of Quartodeciman groups. The issue here, as far as I can see, was what to do when the first full moon after the Spring equinox fell on a Sunday. And this caused problems all over the place, in the UK for instance, the indigenous Christians used a calculation which also used the full moon after the Spring equinox but differed on what to do in various circumstances. For a long period the calculation of Pascha remained a cause of some tension. Even in the 7th century kingdoms in the British Isles were divided on the matter.

As to the present practice of some Churches. I do not see how this can be considered non-Nicene. It is a matter of fact that the Julian calendar does not now reflect the actual date of the spring equinox as Nicaea envisaged. The Gregorian calendar does attempt to do so. It is more concerning that there are different Paschal celebrations, and it is this which might be considered non-Nicene. But the resolution of this situation surely requires that those Churches which use the Julian calendar also reflect on whether a disconnect between the calendar and the astronomical world was what the Fathers intended.

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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 08:30:10 AM »

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whereas most Asian Oriental Orthodox (Syriac, Armenian, and Malankara) use the paschal cycle of the Westerners and also their determining of dates on the civil calendar, which is essentially the Gregorian calendar rather than the "New" that is found in the EOC.

The Syriac Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar for the immovable feasts only, the Paschal cycle is according to the Julian calendar. Armenians and both the Malankara Churches (the one under the Syriac Patriarch of Antioch, and the autocephalous one) follow the Gregorian calendar for both the Paschal cycle and for the immovable feasts. There are two exceptions - the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal vicariate in Jerusalem and the Holy lands, follow the Julian calendar for all feasts, both the Paschal cycle and the immovable feasts.
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deusveritasest
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2010, 07:57:50 PM »

The Syriac Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar for the immovable feasts only, the Paschal cycle is according to the Julian calendar.

Oh, so then the Syriac Orthodox Church is essentially on the "Revised Julian Calendar"?
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2010, 09:00:07 AM »

I think one of the major motivation for the Indian Churches to move to the Gregorian was the need for all Indian Christians to keep the feasts on the same day.  India had become independant by then and the state too was interested in having a common calendar ( All major feasts of all the major religions in India are national holidays - For ex Good Friday is a holiday in India).

So in 1954, the Orthodox Church (both the factions) and churches following the West Syrian Tradition ( the reformed Marthoma Church and the Thozhiyoor Independant Church) shifted calendars.  The Catholics and the Eastern Catholics of the Chaldean and West Syrian Traditions had already changed over earlier.
The Orthodox were soon followed by the Church of the East in India.  The calendar issue complicated some other issues in the Indian Metropolia of the Church of the East and a split occured.  One faction backed the Patriarch in Chicago, the other the new Patriarch installed in Bagdad.  This division was resolved in 1995.

Personally the old calendar was fine by me; but come to think of it, shifting calendars to enable all Christians in India (where we account for a miniscule percent of the population) to mark the major feasts together was not a bad thing.  Ofcourse that meant we fell out of step with other Orthodox elsewhere, something many of us would have liked to avoid . 
I think at some point we just had to take a call between the two options.

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