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Saturday, April 02, 2005


Do Orthodox Churches of the western rite follow the western or eastern kalendar?

Thank you.


Benjamin Andersen said...

Depends on what you mean. Our temporal and sanctoral cycles are Western (Tridentine and Sarum/BCP), but we celebrate Easter with our hierarchs. As one might imagine, the Julian Easter calculation coupled with temporal/sanctoral cycles adjusted to the Gregorian calendar cause some problems, e.g. longer Epiphanytide season (some years with 7 or even 8 Sundays after Epiphany).

Benjamin Andersen said...

It should also be noted that even in the New Calendar Byzantine Rite, the combination of Julian Easter calculation with new style calculation for everything else causes some liturgical anomalies (e.g. some years the Apostles' Fast is severely shortened and sometimes non-existent).

Aristibule said...

Yes - we just had one of those anomalies in the time leading up to Lent in New Calendar Byzantine. And, I believe it was last year or the year before when New Calendar Byzantine had no Apostle's Fast?

As for the Old Calendar Western Rite folk, their calendar is essentially the same as the Western calendar pre-16th c. (or, English/American calendar pre-18th c.) The only changes being for a few new saints, and the relaxation of the fast on one saint's feast that is also on New Calendar Dec. 25th (economia for those whose kinfolk are on New Calendar.)

Michael said...

Thank you, both, for your replies.

I must admit to now being extremely confused. There appears to be a can of worms that I have unwittingly opened.

Please could somebody explain the Old/New Calendars? I only knew of the Gregorian/Julian distinction.

Benjamin Andersen said...

All Orthodox Christians (save the Orthodox Church of Finland), whether "Old" or "New Calendar," celebrate Easter according to the old Julian calculation.

"Old Calendar" Orthodox are those who follow not only the Julian Easter date but all the dates in their liturgical year are also according to the old Julian calendar (e.g. their "December 25th" is our January 7). Old Calendar Orthodox, therefore, follow a completely uniform calendar, although it is grossly scientifically inaccurate.

"New Calendar" Orthodox are those who, since the 1920's, follow the old Julian date of Easter but the rest of the days in their liturgical year are the same as in the Gregorian calendar (e.g. their "December 25th" is the December 25th that the rest of the modern world knows). New Calendar Orthodox, therefore, actually follow two differing calendars – the old Julian for Easter, and the reformed calendar for everything else. This is what causes liturgical anomalies.

Does this make sense?

Michael said...

Yes, I think so.

Just one question. I understand, thanks to your explanation, that the New Calendar adopts the Julian date of Easter and the Gregorian dates for everything else. What of the moveable feasts that depend on the date of Easter? Do they follow the Julian or Gregorian dates in the New Calendar?

The answer to this may seem blindingly obvious. I thank you for your patience in explaining this to me.

Aristibule said...

The moveable feasts follow Pascha - so Pentecost is 50 days, etc. So- again, that causes the liturgical anomalies. I'm sure you'll get it: a close relative of mine was confused upon finding out that this year the Gregorian Easter was weeks before Passover (unlike Julian Easter) - so decided next year they would just celebrate on Passover instead! How's that for confusion? ;)

Benjamin Andersen said...

One of my favorite WR Orthodox anomalies is Rogationtide in years with a late Easter. It's always funny to process around and pray the Litany for the rising of the crops when it's already time for harvest!