Among the various questions that Greek Orthodox Christians have is whether the church uses the julian calendar or not. This article outlines the different arguments that people make against the new julian calendar and discusses the arguments in favor of using the gregorian calendar instead.
Gregorian calendar vs new julian calendar
Whether or not the Orthodox Church should use the Gregorian calendar or the Julian calendar is a question that remains unanswered. The question is not just a practical one but a question of Orthodox Tradition. It is an issue that concerns Orthodox Christians, but one that has divided the Orthodox Church into two opposing parties.
The Julian calendar was introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar. It was used in western Europe until 1582. It was also in use by the general population long after the Gregorian Calendar was introduced. The Julian calendar adds a leap day to February every four years. The Gregorian Calendar is 13 days behind the Julian Calendar.
The Julian calendar is still in use today in eastern Europe. Most Orthodox churches still adhere to the Julian calendar, but a minority of Orthodox jurisdictions in western and eastern Europe use the Gregorian Calendar.
The Gregorian Calendar is the same calendar used in the secular Western world. It uses a lunar model to determine the date of movable feasts. It is a calendar that is more accurate than the Julian calendar. It is also the calendar used by most Roman Catholic countries.
Although the Gregorian Calendar is more accurate than the Julian calendar, it is not the sole reason that Orthodox Christians want to change. The Julian calendar has penetrated Church tradition, and there are many reasons why the Orthodox Church does not want to switch to the Gregorian calendar.
Arguments against the julian calendar
Several arguments against the Julian calendar in the Greek Orthodox church have been put forward. These arguments are not based on theological or philosophical principles, but on scientific facts.
The Julian calendar was introduced in the Roman Empire in 45 BC. It has a regular year of 365 days. Every four years it adds a leap day to February. During the Byzantine period it remained in use. Until 1582 it was in use in western Europe.
In the Orthodox Church, Julian calendar is still used for fixed dates. However, many Orthodox Churches follow the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the same calendar used by the secular Western world.
A new calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII to correct the Julian calendar. He corrected it by adding a leap day every four years. His main motivation was to correct the inconsistency in the Julian calendar between the calculated astronomical time and the calendar time. This reorientation towards the Western civilization was a form of deceit.
Meletios IV, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, called a council of nine men to discuss a proposal for a Gregorian calendar. The commission concluded that the entire Julian year needed reform. The proposal was criticized by local Orthodox churches and rejected. However, it was accepted by the Council of Nicea.
Individual fast days in the greek orthodox church
Keeping a fast during the Greek Orthodox Church’s traditional fasting period is a spiritual exercise. It also has a social impact. A strict fast involves abstinence from meat and dairy products, and some shellfish, wine and olive oil. It may also include eating fruits, grains and vegetables.
The Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar to determine fast days. It is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, and the two calendars are not synchronized. The new calendar was created by Pope Gregory XIII in the sixteenth century to correct the discrepancy between calendar time and calculated astronomical time. It is used in Orthodox countries like Russia, Serbia and Bulgaria, and some Orthodox parishes still use the old calendar.
The Julian calendar was attributed to Julius Caesar, and was used by the Orthodox Church in its earliest days. It was used between 45 BC and 1582 AD, but the Gregorian calendar replaced it. The new calendar does not change Orthodox Christian teachings. It is, however, an administrative change.
There are four major fasting periods in the Orthodox Church. These are the Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel, the Dormition Fast, the Fast of the Holy Apostles and the Fast of Lent. The Synaxis is a fast that falls on a fixed date, while the Dormition Fast commemorates the death of Mary.