WHY THE CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
DOES NOT USE THE OLD CALENDAR
should read: http://www.celticorthodoxchurch.com/pascha_date.html
Julian Versus Gregorian Calendars
We must remember the Church adopted the calendar of the Roman Empire, the civil calendar, as its own. That happened to be the Julian calendar. It was not a religious or Christian calendar in any sense, but the system used by the secular (pagan) government to mark the passing of time. The Roman Empire, even after it was Christianized, did not change the name of the months - the names of all of them from January to August remain as reminders of the calendar's pagan ancestry.
It is significant to recognize that the most modern nations from which our Orthodox ancestors came from, to this land followed the Julian calendar in every day civil life, as did the Orthodox State Churches of those countries. In other words, in the Russian Empire, and the Kingdoms of Greece, Romania, etc., the Church dates coincided with the government's dates. When there was any discussion of changing the civil calendar, a corresponding change of the Church's calendar was considered. In fact, when Greece switched calendars, the Church of Greece followed suit.
Because of the many centuries of following the Julian calendar, many people in the Orthodox homelands had come to regard this calendar as a part of the Tradition. So strong was the feeling that a considerable segment of the Greek Church refused to accept the change and broke away from the Church. Some of the Orthodox churches "in exile" in the Western World, that once had a rather liberal attitude toward the new calendar and even allowed its use in some places, have come to denounce the Churches that follow the new calendar as modernist and heretical.
Why did the Church need to adopt a calendar in the first place? Why did it take the calendar of the Empire, when other possibilities were open to it? If a specifically religious calendar had been the point why not adopt the Jewish calendar? After all, the latter was the calendar that the Lord Jesus Christ observed, by which He lived and accomplished His work.
The mission of the Church in and to the world was, and still is, the main issue. This is the same as that of the Lord Himself to redeem the world - to save souls and to sanctify the world and everyone and everything in it. It constantly blesses things, material objects and thereby redeems them in the sense of returning them to the purpose for which the whole physical world was intended to be channels and signs of God s presence in the world; a world distorted by sin and misuse. When the Church set out to overcome the world, it undertook the transformation of the things of this world: the Roman Empire became a holy empire a Christian commonwealth; cities and towns were holy because of their having been the scene of the events of Christ's life, of the sacrifice of the martyrs and the lives of the saints.
St. Paul says that we must "redeem the time because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). The Church has always seen the sanctification of the world's time as a part of its overall mission. Dates came to have, as the Church extended its influence over society, a Christian significance: January 6 was no longer simply the sixth day of the first month but a holy day on which the Lord's Baptism and the Manifestation of the Trinity was solemnly commemorated. Every date was sanctified because on each one some martyr made the supreme sacrifice or some saint who had given himself wholly to Christ fell asleep. Days came to be known, for example, not just as February 23 but St. Polycarp's Day and not December 20 but St. Ignatius'; Day.
It is obvious that the Church deliberately kept the calendar of this world in order to sanctify the time signified by it. The point was to give Christian meaning to the times and seasons, to the days of the year.
The Church cannot abandon this aspect of her mission. It helps little to maintain stubbornly that a certain date is not September 14, as everyone else thinks, but really September 1. And no matter what we have to say about September 1, its significance for the life of the Church and its meaning for the world, we will hardly be heard if we first have to convince the rest of society that they are wrong about the date. And it does matter that the voice of the Church be heard by the rest of society.
Part of a larger work reprinted from the October 1982 issue of the Dawn, published by the OCA Diocese of the South.) The Orthodox Church, January, 1983.
Comment: Those who believe the Pre Christian Calendar of the Pagan Julian is somehow holy, try and convince the rest of the church that the Julian Calendar is the tradition. The Julian Calendar was the secular calendar in
use at the time. The tradition of the church then as now is to redeem the time using
whatever secular calendar is in popular use.
There is no such thing as an Orthodox Calendar, only Orthodox people, faith and worship.
We do as did the early Church, we redeem the times by using the secular calendar in popular usage.
We follow the Gregorian Calendar.