Posts Tagged ‘feasts’

Till (maybe) you’ve read the recent Sunday (Triumph) of Orthodoxy sermon of Serbian Orthodox Bishop MAXIM of the Western USA.  Blew me the heck away on a whole bunch of levels I don’t need to bother you with.

(BTW, there’s nothing “ecumenically incorrect” about calling the First Sunday of the Great Fast [Lent] “The Triumph of Orthodoxy.”  The “Orthodoxy” referenced is regarding Holy Images, theoretically maintained by Old Rome and even some High Church Protestants to this day, though in different ways from Eastern Christians, e.g., statues and naturalistic paintings of sacred subjects.  The 7th Ecumenical[!] Synod was several centuries before the break between Rome and the rest of the Church.  ISTR reading that at least some Eastern Catholic Churches still call that Sunday “of Orthodoxy,” and certainly they don’t commemorate something they don’t believe they still share in, even by Rome’s allowance.)

IIUC, some say one of the reasons for the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the West starting in the 1580s, and in favor of the Orthodox New Calendar or “Revised Julian Calendar” starting in the 1920s, was that with the movement of the astronomical Vernal Equinox with respect to the ‘official’ – or what we industrial moderns might call standardized – Vernal Equinox of March 21 (Old Style), is that otherwise Easter or Pascha would, after many, many years (40,000 or something?), “catch up with Christmas” or Nativity.

But I’ve just realized this is not true.  Unless it’s changed by human action, the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord will always be on December 25.  It so happens that, unless the Easter / Pascha rules are changed, *it* always falls from March 22 to April 25 inclusive, according to the calendar with which it is being computed – Gregorian for the West, “Julian” for the East (which is why sometimes Orthodox Pascha comes in May according to the New or Gregorian calendars).  And unless changed by some ridiculous human action, April 25 will never catch up with December 25!

What may happen, given alot of time, is that Orthodox Pascha will catch up with Gregorian and New Calendar Nativity/s.  But that’s the fault of the adopters of those newer calendars, right?!*  (Speaking objectively, that is!)

In that time frame though, we would see Pascha in Northern Hemisphere late Fall, and Nativity in NH late Summer or something.  But as an English priest said, Orthodox aren’t really worshiping the seasons.  And besides, Southern Hemisphere Christians are already celebrating these major feasts in different seasons from the North!

A trace of this movement is already seen in New Calendar jurisdictions (like my own, the Greek Archdiocese of America), where the Apostles’ Fast leading up to the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, is currently 13 days shorter than in Old Calendar jurisdictions and parishes – ie, shorter than it used to be – and some years is eliminated by a later Pascha.  In 2100 this will increase to two whole weeks.  Furthermore, while currently Orthodox Pascha usually comes one, four, or five weeks after Western Easter (otherwise, on the same day), in the 25th century it will add *six* weeks to the mix, AD 2698 will be the last year they coincide, and in 2725 it will come *two* weeks later for the first time – illustrating the general long-term thrust as being later than the Western dates.

(*–In the ’20s there was a proposal to change how Orthodox compute Pascha along with the New Calendar, that would remove this risk.  But no Orthodox Synod wanted to change Pascha.)