Which Orthodox Churches Use the Gregorian Calendar?
If you’re interested in knowing which Orthodox churches use the Gregorian calendar, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know about which calendars are used by Russian Orthodox Churches and which are used by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
Patriarch Tikhon withdrew a decree stating that the Jerusalem Patriarch didn’t change
It is unclear whether the Patriarch of Jerusalem actually changed the calendar or not. The Patriarch of Jerusalem did not change the Gregorian calendar. There are two possible explanations.
Patriarch Tikhon was deceived by the reformists and published a controversial decree. This decree stated that the Jerusalem Patriarch didn’t alter the calendar, but in reality the Patriarch of Jerusalem did change it. In response to the controversy, the Patriarch withdrew his decree. This caused irreparable damage to the Orthodox Church.
Historically, many living religious traditions have inconsistencies between their civil and sacred calendars. For example, in modern Judaism, there is a traditional calendar called the Jewish calendar. Its roots are in Babylonian tradition. Recently, a renewed version of the Judaic calendar has entered Jewish culture. Unlike the civil Gregorian calendar, this calendar has no effect on secular institutions.
A month later, the Reformists issued a circular with a more radical proposal. This time, they were concerned with embarrassment and confusion within the church. It is interesting to note that the Reformists were more concerned about internal confusion than with the actual calendar issue. They also demanded that the iconostasis in the church be removed, allowing priests to see their icons.
Nevertheless, the Moscow Patriarchate also refused to support the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s position. In fact, it retracted a decree that stated that the Jerusalem Patriarch didn’t alter the gregorian calendar, claiming that the Jerusalem Patriarch had no authority to change the calendar.
Bulgarian Orthodox Church uses gregorian calendar
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian calendar and rejected a proposal to return to the Julian calendar. The conservatives in the Church, supported by Moscow, argued against the change. But a spokesman for the church said the calendar question would not be on the agenda of the church’s Dec. 20 meeting.
In 1993, the “Pan-Orthodox” Council in Tzarigrad reformed the Church Calendar in an uncanonical way. The reform of the calendar in Bulgaria a decade later is seen as a milestone in Bulgaria’s Orthodox history.
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian calendar in the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Orthodox church year begins with the Indiction on September 1 of the year. In Bulgaria, Christmas is celebrated on December 25. After the communist regime collapsed, the Christmas holiday was restored.
In the early Christian calendar, two brothers from Thessalonica were sent to the Slavic people as missionaries. Prince Rastislav, who ruled part of present-day Slovakia and the Czech Republic, requested missionaries from Thessalonica to spread Christianity in his country. These brothers were Constantine and Michael, and they became monks. They were blessed with knowledge and were later named Cyril and Methodius.
Russian Orthodox Church
Although the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian calendar, it does not follow the same dates as other Christian churches. The reason for this is that the Gregorian calendar requires thirteen days of leap years instead of ten. In addition, the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar. As a result, Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, while the Julian calendar dates it on January 7.
The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., and it is used by the Orthodox Church to reckon fast days. Pope Gregory XIII corrected the Julian calendar in the sixteenth century because of the increasing discrepancy between the calendar and astronomical time. In the end, he created the Gregorian calendar, which is still the official calendar of the Orthodox Church.
In the past, the Gregorian calendar was not widely adopted in Russia. The reason for this is that Orthodox Christians were not ready to change their calendars. They could not adapt to the new calendar, so they did not want to sacrifice a part of their holiday season. Besides, the divergence in dates allows the ecclesiastical hierarchy to pay courtesy visits on Christmas Day and Easter, and allows mixed families to celebrate Christian holidays twice.
Some Orthodox believe that the new calendar does not change Orthodox Christian teachings. Instead, it amounts to an administrative and disciplinary change. The authority to implement this change, however, rests in the contemporary local episcopal authority. However, this has increased the disunity among Orthodox churches, and the Church authorities have refused to make a final decision.