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Category: Church Calendar

Everywhere present

by Andrea Elizabeth

Details are depressing me, the light, the light, the light is calling me. Christmas music is sounding joy, let it be repeated.

The above is far eastern and far western, but it’s where I am.

Tis the season where everyone says and pictures Christ, Mary, and St Nicholas, lights candles, and enjoys smells and bells. Everyone is Orthodox in December.

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Julian Theophany

by Andrea Elizabeth

Since visiting Rocor Churches during their Nativity 3 years ago, part of me is still Old Calendar through Theophany, which they celebrate today. It feels almost like Chrismation for converts. Everything missing in our previous baptism, in this case 13 days before, is fulfilled on this day. But that’s just my intuition as I don’t know anyone who has taught that. Regardless,

Troparion – Tone 1

When [Thou], O Lord [wast] baptized in the Jordan
The worship of the Trinity was made manifest
For the voice of the Father bore witness to [Thee]
And called [Thee] His beloved Son.
And the Spirit, in the form of a dove,
Confirmed the truthfulness of His word.
O Christ, our God, [Who hast] revealed [Thy]self
And [hast] enlightened the world, glory to [Thee]!

Kontakion – Tone 4

Today [Thou hast] shown forth to the world, O Lord,
and the light of [Thy] countenance has been marked on us.
Knowing [Thee], we sing [Thy] praises.
[Thou hast] come and revealed [Thy]self,
O unapproachable Light.

Astrologers are Old Calendar

by Andrea Elizabeth

The earth has shifted enough that astrological charts are no longer accurate. The sun used to be in the sign of Leo on July 26, my birthday, but now it’s in the sign of Cancer on that date. However, Astrologers say that this doesn’t matter, cosmological forces are above such nitpicky details. Supposedly the ancient Babylonians set the standard and we need to stay on their calendar, not the modern one. Dedicated astrologers choose religious science over technical science.

Tis the Season?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Decision time approacheth. Whether tis nobler to enter wholeheartedly into the New Calendar Nativity Fast of one’s parish, or to begrudge its 13 day prematurity. The thirteen day lapse does not seem to matter as much the rest of the year because the other commemorations don’t seem as specifically seasonally important. This is probably a result of our not marking time by holy days, but by the civil calendar. It seems right when older texts mark days by approaching feasts and fasts rather than numbers. All that changed with the split calendar and increasing secularism.

I suppose it depends on one’s sense of Orthodox community – local or worldwide. It is sad that there is a discrepancy. One should not have to chose between the two. Submission to one’s Bishop and unity within one’s parish seems to trump what they are doing in Russia, Alaska, or even across town, except in cases of flagrant apostacy, which some think this issue boils down to. I don’t. To me it’s just sad.

So for me and mine, the fast begins this Sunday. Two days for eating meat are all that’s left. Then we make our subterranean descent into admitting that this world and ourselves are not as they should be, which prepares us for the Coming of Christ who fixes it, and shows us how to enter into His healing.

Phenomenological Impressions of the Church Calendar

by Andrea Elizabeth

of a personal nature: 13 days ago I forgot to commemorate my Patron, St. Elizabeth, on her New Calendar Feast Day. This was not intentional as I had intended to commemorate her that day. Today I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is her Saint day on the Old Calendar. I salute her today instead.

I’ve already talked about the Miracle of the Holy Fire that occurs every Holy Saturday in Jerusalem, and the miracle of the waters of the Jordan turning back on Old Calendar Theophany.

I’ve spoken elsewhere about how Fr. Seraphim Rose reposed on the afterfeast of the Dormition, OC, but that I read about it the night before the Feast of the Dormition NC. Before I started leaning towards the OC I took this as a sign that God can transpose the days, but that the connection with the Calendar and his repose was still significant.

Today after a long talk with my OCA Priest (who is fine with the New Calendar) regarding my recent studies on this issue, what sticks with me the most is that, after I told him about if we commemorate Father Seraphim Rose according to the New Calendar (he reposed on Sept 2 NC/ August 20 OC, 1982) he would be separated from the Dormition of the Theotokos, he said that Fr. Schmemann reposed on St. Herman’s Day, December 13th, 1983, NC, which wouldn’t be St. Herman Day on the Old Calendar.

So now I’m back to thinking that both Fr. Seraphim and Fr. Schmemann are important to Orthodoxy in America and that following either calendar will connect us with holy events and holy people. I don’t want to judge which one of them is the holiest, but my Priest, being an advocate for Fr. Schmemann, talked about the importance of his tireless dedication and efforts for the Church, what an impact he has had on revitalizing Orthodox towards the Eucharist, and how affective he was at reaching non-Orthodox, many of whom were brought into the Church. I have a hermit nature, so I identify with Fr. Seraphim more, but I am not closed off to more extroverted efforts. Orthodoxy has both contemplatives who withdraw from the world (reaching it through prayer), and those who are more open to redeeming secular society more visibly. I’m back to being glad for both.

However, sometimes when I am at home and unaware of what day it is, in the silence, and I accidentally become aware of what the Old Calendar is commemorating, I feel more in tune with it.

More articles on the Calendar Question

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’m not sure why Saint Louis University has a list of links describing Orthodox controversies, especially regarding the New Calendar, but it points to some good articles. Before going there I read an article in the Winter 2009 issue of the OCA’s magazine, The Orthodox Church, “Remembering Father Schmemann” on the 25th anniversary of his repose,

Yes, Father Alexander had the temerity to confront the bishops because he demanded
that they fulfill their responsibilities. He insisted that they not let challenges to the
Church play themselves out, that they take measures that would benefit the structures and
the people of God. It’s not a secret that they tried to keep him out of the loop, but he would
not be denied. And besides his academic status, his obligations to his classes, and the
responsibilities on the desk of the seminary dean, he found time to appear in the courtrooms
of villages in remote Pennsylvania regions, struggling to explain to confused and
disinterested courts what the issue was over a Julian liturgical calendar that judges had
never heard of
. He could work through the intricate details of the Tomos of Autocephaly
with the scholars and canon law experts of the Russian Orthodox Church, then explain
it to the dioceses, deaneries, priests, and people of our country. He came to know
contemporary America as he knew Russian history and literature.
(bold mine)

This lead me to see what happened in 1982 which pointed me to several articles on the St. Louis University site. “The Calendar Change” was published in the October 1982 issue of The Dawn, a newspaper of the OCA Diocese of the South. It explains the rationale of using the civic calendar and how this is supposed to help evangelize. I find it best answered by the article, The Calendar Question, by Father Alexander Lebedeff, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Here are some responses to the arguments that have been raised….

First, I have been deeply interested in the Calendar question for over thirty years. I have yet to hear even one compelling, or even good reason for the introduction of the new calendar and the resultant sundering of Church liturgical unity….

If I may summarize the reasons brought up so far on this list:

1. Accuracy. The old calendar is supposed to be astronomically inaccurate, and the new calendar fixes this.

Reply: All calendars are inherently astronomically inaccurate. The holy fathers who established the Church calendar knew perfectly well that assigning the vernal equinox to a fixed date was astronomically inaccurate. Yet, they went ahead and did this.

The so-called “Revised Julian Calendar” is fundamentally flawed. By maintaining the traditional Paschalion [for some reason this wont turn green] while changing the fixed calendar, the Typicon goes out the window. The Apostles’ Fast is severely shortened or even ends before it begins in certain years. Over the centuries, according to the “Revised Julian Calendar” the date of Pascha will gradually slip forward into the fixed year, so that Pascha (and all the moveable feasts) will eventually coincide with the Feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the Transfiguration, with the Dormition, and even with the Nativity (the last will happen in about 35,000 years, so you may say, “What’s the big deal?”, but it will occur).

As I said before, astronomers cannot use the Gregorian calendar for their calculations since it is “missing” the ten days that were “skipped” in 1583. Computer programmers are always making their calculation of the distance between dates by using the “Julian date.” Copernicus among other astronomers was adamantly opposed to the Gregorian calendar change. The Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences at the beginning of this century found no scientific or astronomical reasons for adopting the Gregorian calendar.

And, as I will address later, astronomical accuracy was absolutely not one of the reasons that the calendar change was introduced by Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis in 1924.

2. Obedience to one’s hierarchy.

Reply: This is actually a good reason for using the calendar your bishops say you should. It is absolutely not in any way a justification for the original change of the calendar.

An amazing issue here is the fact that some jurisdictions have allowed individual parishioners to actually vote and choose which calendar they wish to use! Here is a clear example of hierarchs abrogating their authority to lead and to teach. Lay parishioners have no concept of the liturgical and historical issues regarding the calendar. They are not theologically educated. Yet they are being asked to make decisions regarding abandoning the calendar that was part of the tradition of the church for sixteen centuries!

Not too long ago there was an incident that occurred in the US Navy. The captain of one of the larger vessels offered his crew the opportunity to vote on the place where they were to have their week of shore leave after a long tour of duty. Because of this, the captain was relieved of his command and demoted–he had abrogated his authority as commander of his vessel and had given this authority to his subordinates. The same comes to mind when one reads the posts that the MP has allowed its parishes in Great Britain to choose which calendar they wish to follow, including even the date of Pascha. Do parishioners really have the authority to overturn the decisions of Ecumenical and local councils? Democracy run amok, in my opinion.

3. We live by the civil calendar, which tells us what day of the month it is, so we should adjust our liturgical calendar to be in accord with it.

Reply: This seems like an awfully weak argument. Certainly, the civil authorities regulate standards of weight and measure, and even time (that’s what the atomic clocks are for at the Bureau of Standards). Do we really think that it is necessary or even permissible for the civil authorities to regulate when the Holy Church celebrates its feast days? Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State? The civil authorities should *never* be looked to in questions that concern the liturgical life of the Church.

The Church has lived and functioned under a broad spectrum of civil authorities, with dozens of calendar systems. Yet it maintained its own Church calendar, as it should have. Yes, the Church calendar was based on a pagan civil calendar. But once that calendar had been adopted by the church, it became something different. It was now the Church calendar, the mechanism that regulates the “heartbeat” of the liturgical life of the Church in time–that tells us when to fast, when to feast, etc.

At any time, in any place, the civil authorities can arbitrarily change things like the calendar. Does this mean that we have to immediately change the Church calendar correspondingly? I don’t think so. Yes, the Jews, Moslems, Chinese, and others have maintained their own calendars and pay no attention to the civil calendars of the countries in which they live. There is no reason why the Orthodox should not be able to maintain a Church calendar, as well.

Also, we never know when the state might introduce some serious change in the civil calendar. Seriously being discussed is the introduction of a calendar consisting of 13 months of 28 days each, plus a “world day” at the end of the year. This would, of course, ensure that every year, every date would fall on the same day of the week, simplifying all kinds of financial operations. If such a calendar becomes law, should the Orthodox “join in” and throw out their Church calendar to adopt the new civil one?

Summary.

The fact is, there was and there is no compelling reason for the calendar change. None of the reasons brought up by any of the participants on these lists can serve as justification for the Church abandoning its traditional ecclesiastical calendar and for causing a rift in the liturgical unity of the Church.

So far, no one has come up with an answer to why it was permissible to ignore the anathemas of the three pan-Orthodox Councils held in the 16th century that condemned the Papal calendar as heretical.

No one has come up with an answer as to why it is OK to use a “Revised Julian Calendar” that severely shortens or even eliminates the ages-old Apostle’s Fast, or that will (albeit some time from now) allow Pascha to drift forward through the Church year until it can coincide with the Nativity. All this instead of an extremely well-organized and brilliantly executed traditional Church calendar where such aberrations are simply not possible. The argument that if one follows the Julian calendar eventually Pascha will occur in the autumn is unconvincing. That happens in the Southern hemisphere now. Perhaps it is only fair that the seasons be eventually reversed so that our Orthodox brothers and sisters in South America, Africa, and Australia would be able to celebrate Pascha in the Spring, as well. Also, the argument that the existence of different time zones keeps Orthodox from celebrating the feasts together is specious-the calendar envisions each feast as a whole day of celebration — a twenty-four hour period from evening to evening — so that even in different time zones, all are conceptually celebrating together.

Finally, with all the discussion of astronomical “accuracy,” “obedience to one’s bishop’s,” “you can’t make the calendar an idol,” “there is no time in heaven,” etc., people forget that the reason that the calendar change, with all its painful consequences, was introduced in this century is very well known — and it has nothing to do with any of these reasons.

Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis, the architect of the Calendar reform, was perfectly clear about his reason–it was to achieve unity with other Christians.

Let me repeat this again. The reason the calendar reform was introduced was to foster ecumenism. Period.

We must remember that Patriarch Meletios of Constantinople (who had previously been Archbishop of Athens and Patriarch of Alexandria–how about that for the “independence” of these autocephalous churches!), a self-avowed Freemason, was a die-hard renovationist. In 1923, he recognized the renovationist Living Church of Russia (which had married bishops!) and its deposal of Patriarch Tikhon. He put together an agenda for a Pan-Orthodox Council that was to include not only acceptance of the Gregorian calendar, but also shortening and easing the restrictions of fast periods, of services, permission for twice-married clergy, and many other renovationist ideas. ….

Now, he may have had other motives, as well. It is not unlikely that the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the early 1920’s was in danger of annihilation by the newly secularized Turkish government. The Patriarchate had lost the protection of Imperial Russia, and needed the support of world public opinion in order to survive. Was the price of this support acceptance of the Western calendar? Very possibly.

So, the avowed reason for the calendar change was to become closer to Roman Catholics and Protestants–not any of the reasons argued here. It does not accomplish the goal of union with the heterodox. It does, however, accomplish the goal of causing bitter and deep division in the Orthodox Church. Is this something we want to support?

I have been accused of making an “emotional” appeal for the preservation and restoration of the traditional Church calendar.

But is it rational that we are now living in a situation where a non-Orthodox coming up to an Orthodox Christian, say, on the streets of Los Angeles, and asking a simple question: “Is today a fast day?” cannot get a straight answer? Nor can he get an answer to the question of “what saint does the Church celebrate today?”.

Answers like: “Well, uh, you see, uh, some Orthodox are still fasting the Dormition Fast, and some already celebrated the Dormition,” are not good or straight answers.

Is it rational to cause schizophrenia in our bishops, who, visiting parishes, have to remember which calendar they’re on? That bishops cannot be spiritually united with they’re flock — cannot feast with them and fast with them because of the calendar issue? They may have to celebrate each major feast day twice! Not a very good way to follow the Typicon! In one parish they are fasting and preparing for the Feast–in another it has long passed.

Does the bishop, who has already celebrated the Nativity have to go back and fast for two more weeks? Or does he start all his fasts two weeks early, just in case? The whole thing is ludicrous.

The same renovationists that brought you the calendar reform are busy working on new ones. It is a fact that Constantinople is actively involved in discussions leading to a single date for Pascha for all Christians, and even discussing the possibility of a fixed date. Stay tuned. Maybe we’ll hear some post-factum justifications of this reform as being more “accurate” as well.

The issue of the calendar is painful and divisive, as can be seen from the discussions that have taken place on this list. In my opinion, this is an excellent example of why the calendar reform should never have taken place, especially in a piece-meal fashion.

Although I cherish the traditions of the Church and consider the Church calendar to be one of the most enduring and sanctified of them, I would have been less bothered if the decision to revise the calendar had been made by all the bishops of the Orthodox Church acting together, with all Orthodox churches participating in the decision and its implementation.

This, however, did not occur.

Obviously, there are three possible resolutions.

One, a return by all Orthodox Christians to the sanctified traditional Church Calendar.

Two, acceptance by all Orthodox Christians of Pope Gregory’s calendar reform, and the ensuing absurdities regarding the Apostle’s Fast and Paschal drift, and acceptance of the ecumenist goals of Meletios Metaxakis.

Three, maintenance of the status quo, continuing the division of Orthodoxy in the world into two groups who cannot even celebrate the Great Feasts together.

It is clear to me which of these alternatives is consistent with the teaching of the Holy Councils and Fathers, and which are not.

I hope it is clear for others, as well.

Another link on the St. Louis site is to orthodoxinfo.com which links to several more articles. I do not know if it was right for people to go in schism over this issue, but the fact that several respectable Patriarchates still follow the Julian Calendar, and the questionable nature of how it was overturned in 1923, not to mention 1982, gives it legitimacy, other polemical debates and characterizations of certain groups aside.

Christological Correctives

by Andrea Elizabeth

There is a tendency for some groups within Orthodoxy to view tradition (don’t want to inflame by using a capital T) that has gotten out of vogue as needing correction or renovation. These include the Church Calendar, birth control, the eastern rite Liturgy, hesychasm as salvation, and last and least, head coverings and gender segregation during services. It seems to me that the mindset of correcting the ancient teachings on these has taken on an almost Protestant, if not Barlaamite attitude. That modern methods and thinking can be used to determine the true way we should go.

It is true that anti-western extremism can become angry and unloving, in possibly passionate proportions. This to me though is evidence that everyone, on either side of these issues, still has to confront their own passions and be saved internally as well as externally. This does not invalidate the conservative merit of the traditions of the Church. There is one mind in the Church, and its the same one that existed 2000 years ago. The reality that some of the canons have been relaxed, such as some penances, does not amount to all of the traditions being up for grabs and subject to revision. Where we have it up on the Catholics is that even though many may not live up to the traditions, we do not change them. The written standard is still kept.

DIONYSIUS AREOPAGITES IN THE WORKS OF SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS: ON THE QUESTION OF A “CHRISTOLOGICAL CORRECTIVE” AND RELATED MATTERS by Fr. Alexander Golitzin addresses the issue of eastern/western; traditional/modern incompatibility. I thought this point especially cogent:

Where this becomes dangerously misleading, however, is in the assumption that their own perspective holds good across the entire field of Christian literature. In the case of Eastern Christianity, it manifestly does not, and to ignore that fact is inevitably to create confusion and false alarms or, at the least, to miss essential elements in the writers under consideration. Given also that patristic scholarship in its modern form is a Western invention, and that it is the West which sets its agenda, it is all too easy for Orthodox scholars taking part in the conversation — as take part in it I believe they must — to be fooled by these non-issues.” (bold mine)

This all points to the need to read the Fathers with the same mindset that they themselves had. Fr. John Romanides, also mentioned in the above paper, is pretty clear in his book, Patrisitic Theology, about the traditional method of Purification, Illumination, and Theosis to achieve salvation as opposed to the scholastic, rationalistic approach. The latter is the western playing field, except for the Charismatics who missed having the Holy Spirit around. I found Father Romanides to be a little angry, judgmental and polemical, but so were most people, even the younger Fr. Seraphim Rose, 20 or so years ago. I fear now, that except for ROCOR, compromising political correctness is the greater evil.

Fr. Alexander also expands on the monastic perspective in reading St. Dionysius, which I have been wondering about since reading an article on St. Dionysius, cited here earlier, at Ora Et Labora. And he says that St. Gregory Palamas did not correct St. Dionysius in his references.

I think there is a middle way of viewing western influences. There is one hesychastic voice, but Christ is not absent in the west. I believe the above article by Fr. Alexander presents a more balanced tone regarding Fr. Romanides and even St. Augustine, who is also cited by St. Gregory Palamas. It reminds me more of St. John of San Francisco’s, and the older Fr. Seraphim Rose’s tone. They knew how to pick the wheat from the tares and yet they made the bread taste the same.

Metropolitan Hilarion’s strong words against the New Calendar

by Andrea Elizabeth

“His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia” had the following to say when asked in this interview about relations between the OCA and the Russian Church Abroad,

We would like to improve relations with the Orthodox Church in America, so our Synod of Bishops appointed a commission comprised of several clergymen who, we hope, will meet with a similar commission representing the OCA in order to study our common history. We must determine why divisions occurred, how we can restore Eucharistic communion. Nonetheless, we do not intend on merging with the Orthodox Church in America, only establish brotherly, prayerful relations. For many in our Church Abroad, the new calendar, which the OCA adopted, is unacceptable. This is a painful question, because many of our clergymen and laypersons would not wish to participate in a service where ecclesio-liturgical order is violated. So there are things that need to be discussed.

We welcome the election of the new head of the OCA, Metropolitan Jonah, who is known for his piety, he loves the old calendar, he loves order in the Church. So we hope that good relations with the Orthodox Church in America can be established. [bold mine]

I am surprised though that he says that the goal is to “restore Eucharistic communion” given that I, under the OCA, have been invited to commune at my nearest ROCOR parish after a recent confession with my own priest. The Old Believer Church in Erie’s position was that we could commune after confession with their Priest.

Curious

by Andrea Elizabeth

While learning about the Old Calendar, I have been wondering about our daily Scripture Lectionary and how it, which counts from the movable feast of Pentacost (50 days after Pascha), corresponds to fixed feasts, such as the Nativity of the Theotokos celebrated today. Our Scripture readings on the New Calendar for the feast are: Luke 1: 39-49,56; Philipians 2: 5-11; and Luke 10: 38-42, 11: 27-28. Our Priest said during the service that they correspond to today’s Feast. I didn’t talk to him about the Calendar issue yet because I wanted to look up the Old Calendar Scriptures for today. Oddly enough, these same Scriptures are included, but they also have the Scriptures from 13 days ago (see comments for correction): 2 Cor. 12:20-13:2, and Mark 4:24-34. And they repeat today’s Scriptures 13 days from now when they celebrate the Nativity of the Theotokos. That is what is on the website anyway. I wonder if the St. Herman Calendar does the same thing.

I just looked on the two dates where the Dormition of the Theotokos is celebrated, and the same thing does not happen. The Old Calendar August 15/August 2 (Church Calendar) does not have the Theotokos Scriptures. I just also noticed that the same passages in Luke and Philippians are used on both feast days within one calendar. These must be the Scriptures for the Theotokos, no matter what is being celebrated. Today on the Old Calendar they also list “Commemoration of the Meeting of the “Vladimir” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and the deliverance of Moscow from the Invasion of Tamerlane in 1395.” and “The Pskov Caves Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, named the “Tenderness” (1542).” So that would explain the coincidence of the Scripture readings. So apparently there are certain Scriptures that are moved with feast days. I also wonder though if the Scriptures on the days before and after the major feast days work better with the Old Calendar commemorations, even though the Scriptures are movable and most major feasts are not.

Too many notes

by Andrea Elizabeth

Said the Emperor to Mozart in Amadeus.

Too many days, said Pope Gregory XIII to the Orthodox Calendar.

Hieromonk Cassian in A Scientific Examination of the Orthodox Church Calendar explains that the 19 year cycle in use during the Council of Nicea takes into account the 365.25 day Julian solar year and the Metonic or Hebrew 19 year lunar cycle, 7 years of which have 13 lunar months, the other 12 years having 12 lunar months. The beauty of this lunarsolar calendar, even if it slightly overcompensates, is in its rhythm and consistent, stable pattern. “Ancient scholars (including the Holy Fathers) realized that the Julian year was imprecise. However, their goal was not the abstract ideal of ‘astronomical accuracy,’ but, rather, the attainment of an exact correspondence of the cycles of the sun and those of the moon.” (p. 9,10)

In order to synchronize the two differently-based calendars – viz., the Julian Calendar, which is solar, and the Jewish Calendar, which is lunar-, it is necessary to determine a period of time after which the dates of each calendar will “realign.” For example, let us say that a cycle begins with the day on which March 1 (Julian Calendar) occurs simultaneously as Nisan 1 (Jewish Calendar). This cycle will be considered complete when March 1 and Nisan 1 fall once again on the same day. We have already discussed the nineteen-year cycle ascribed to Meton of Athens – a cycle which several ancient civilizations, Eastern and Western (Babylon, Greece, China, et al.), had discovered independently in the middle of the first millennium B.C. The chief merit of the Metonic cycle resides in its determination of the least common multiple of the lunar and solar cycles. Again, as explained earlier, in the Metonic cycle, the lunar year as 354 days, while the solar year has 365 days. The addition of seven embolismic months, each having thirty days, “realigns” the lunar and solar years after a period of nineteen years. This lunisolar harmonization appealed to the Nicene Fathers, because they needed just this sort of link between the lunar phases and the vernal equinox, in order to conform to the dictates of the Seventh Apostolic Canon. (p. 23,24)

There are differences of hours between the two calendars, but in 330 B.C. “the Greek astronomer Callippus, who discovered an astounding natural phenomenon: every seventy-six years, the lunar and solar years both start not only on the same day, but at the same hours as well. Thus by quadrupling the Metonic cylce – a Callipic cycle -, the Jewish lunar year is synchronized to the Julian solar year. Although the Julian Calendar has some imprecision, this imprecision is found to almost the same extent in the Jewish Calendar. Thus, the vernal equinox, which moves ahead by the Julian calculation, moves ahead according to the Jewish one as well. “(p. 24)

There is also a repetition as to when dates again fall on the same day of the week. “Analagously, after a period of twenty-eight years, the sun completes a cycle in wich the calendar dates fall once again on the exact same days of the week as they did at the beginning of this cycle. Thus, the Great Indiction, a period of 532 years, is established by joining the nineteen-year lunar cycle with the twenty eight year solar cycle – in language of arithmetic: 19 x 28 = 532. […] This, then, is how the unique astronomical, mathematical, and Paschal rhythm of the Church Calendar was obtained. Whenever the Great Indiction elapses, the cycles of the sun and of the moon and the days of the week revert to their initial order. Since 1941, we have been in the Fifteenth Indiction; Pascha of that year was celebrated on the same calendar date as Pascha in 1409, ie., 532 years earlier.” (p.26)

It is truly amazing that despite astronomical inconsistencies, these patterns can repeat with as little deviation over the course of the centuries as they have. Taking away the leap years that occur on century years except those divisible by 400 (the Gregorian compensation to have a consistent equinox) destroys this pattern, and thus the rhythmic, methodological cycle of prayers and commemorations of the Church. Displace one day and there would be diminishment.