The Calendar and Christian Unity


Many Orthodox who follow the recent New Calendar innovation accuse those who have not followed the New Calendar of "severing the unity" of the church. This is especially prevalent in the United States of America, where, with the ethnocentrism peculiar to their culture, Americans see the majority of Orthodox following the Gregorian calendar and conclude that those following the Old are renegades. In actual fact, the majority of Orthodox Christians in the World follow the traditional church calendar. Fr John Moses muses about this accusation here, on the e-mail list "paradosis".

Oct 14/27 1999

Please excuse me. I am a convert and perhaps there is some bit of logic that is escaping me here.

Is it not true that the Julian calendar had served as a part of the liturgical unity of Orthodoxy virtually since its beginning?

If so, was not the recent calendar reform a sin against that unity, no matter what the justification for that sin might have been? Surely, the Church may adopt any calendar that it wants. But has not recent history and the discussion of this e-mail list not proven that the calendar reform was in fact destructive to the unity of the Church? How can such confusion and division be anything other than sin?

With great respect for the Fathers of Athos, whose dedication and holiness far exceed my own, how can you claim that those who remain with the Julian calendar are schismatics and those introduced "reform" which has resulted in the fracturing of the Church are not? If you and I have stood together in agreement, and then you move away, how can you then ask me "why have you moved?"

And if the calendar reform was in fact a sin against the unity of the church, how can anyone justify maintaining and perpetuating that sin? It would be interesting if those who came to me in confession would say, "Well, Father, I know its a sin, and I know that it has caused controversy and divided our Church, but I've been doing it for so long that you can't call it a sin anymore."

Again, maybe in my inexperience, I have missed something.

Fr. John

This essay was posted by Priest John Moses to an Orthodox e-mail list called "paradosis", Thursday, Oct 15/28 1999. It is used and slightly edited with permission. Fr John is the pastor of All Saints of North America Church , in Middlebrook, VA, located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

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