St.Seraphim of Sarov russian Orthodox Saint
(11-10-2010, 01:18 AM)Mexican Wrote: I am and Old Calendarist.

I accept that the Latin Church could have had valid reasons to change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar (being the calendar a matter of discipline and notof faith), there was no reason for the Eastern Churches to change their calendars.

There were good reasons to change the calendar. As you said, it's just a matter of discipline. The way the Orthodox make a fuss about something like this is ridiculous.

Catholic Encyclopedia Wrote:For the measurement of time the most important units furnished by natural phenomena are the Day and the Year. In regard of both, it is convenient and usual to speak of the apparent movements of the sun and stars as if they were real, and not occasioned by the rotation and revolution of the earth.

The Day is the interval between two successive passages of the sun across the meridian of any place. It is commonly computed from the midnight passage across the inferior meridian on the opposite side of the globe; but by astronomers from the passage at the noon following. The Civil Day is thus twelve hours in advance of the Astronomical.

The Solar Day, which is what we always mean by this term day, is longer by about four minutes of time than the Sidereal, or the successive passages of a fixed star across the same meridian; for, owing to the revolution of the earth in its orbit from west to east, the sun appears to travel annually in a path (the ecliptic), likewise from west to east, among the stars round the entire heavens. The belt of constellations through which it appears to proceed is styled the zodiac. During half the year (March to September) the ecliptic lies to the north of the celestial equator; during the other half (September to March) to the south. The points where ecliptic and equator intersect are called the equinoxes. In the northern hemisphere the March equinox (or "first point of Aries") is called the vernal equinox; the September equinox ("first point of Libra"), the autumnal.

The Year (Tropical Year) is the period in which the sun makes a complete circuit of the heavens and returns to the point in the zodiac whence it started, and the problem to be solved by those who construct calendars is to find the exact measure of this yearly period in terms of days, for the number of these occupied by the sun's annual journey is not exact. Taking the vernal equinox as a convenient starting-point, it is found that before the sun arrives there again, 365 days and something more have passed. These are, of course, solar days; of sidereal days, each shorter by four minutes, there are 366. The first attempt to find a practical solution of this problem was made by Julius Cæsar, who introduced the Julian Calendar. With the assistance of the astronomers of Alexandria, he determined the true length of the year to be 365 days and 6 hours, or a quarter of a day. From this it followed that the reckoning of the civil year began too soon, i.e. six hours before the sun had reached the point whence it started its annual cycle. In four years, therefore, the year would begin an entire day too soon. To remedy this Cæsar instituted leap-years, a 366th day being introduced in every fourth year, to cover the fractional portions of a day thus accumulated. This extra day was assigned to February, the 24th and 25th day of which were styled in leap-year the sixth before the calends (or first) of March. Hence the name Bissextile given to these years.

Cæsar's reform, which was introduced in the year 46 B.C., would have been perfect had the calculation on which it was based been accurate. In reality, however, the portion of a day to be dealt with, over and above the complete 365, is not quite six hours, but 11 minutes and 14 seconds less. To add a day every fourth year was, therefore, almost three quarters of an hour too much, the following new year commencing 44 minutes and 52 seconds after the sun had passed the equinox. At the end of a century these accumulated errors amounted to about three-quarters of a day, and at the end of four centuries to three entire days. The practical inconveniences of this defect in the system were not slow in making themselves felt, the more so as, Cæsar being murdered soon after (44 B.C.), leap-year, by a misunderstanding of his play, occurred every third year, instead of every fourth. At the time of the Julian reform the sun passed the vernal equinox on 25 March, but by the time of the Council of Nicæa (A.D. 325) this had been changed For the 21st, which was then fixed upon as the proper date of the equinox--a date of great importance for the calculation of Easter, and therefore of all the moveable feasts throughout the year.

But the error, of course, continued to operate and disturb such arrangements. In the thirteenth century the year was seven days behind the Nicæan computation. By the sixteenth it was ten days in arrear, so that the vernal equinox fell on 11 March, and the autumnal on 11 September; the shortest day was 11 December, and the longest 11 June, the feast of St. Barnabas, whence-the old rhyme:

Barnaby bright, the longest day and the shortest night.

Such alterations were too obvious to be ignored, and throughout the Middle Ages many observers both pointed them out and endeavoured to devise a remedy. For this purpose it was necessary, however, not only to determine with accuracy the exact amount of the Julian error, but also to discover a practical means of correcting it. It was this latter problem that chiefly stood in the way of reform, for the amount of error was ascertained almost exactly as early as the thirteenth century. The necessity of a reform was continually urged, especially by Church authorities, who felt the need in connexion with the ecclesiastical calendar. It was accordingly strongly pressed upon the attention of the pope by the councils of Constance, Basle, Lateran (A.D. 1511), and finally by Trent, in its last session (A.D. 1563).

Nineteen years later the work was accomplished by Pope Gregory XIII (from whom the Gregorian reform takes its name) with the aid chiefly of Lilius, Clavius, and Chacon or Chaconius. There were two main objects to be attained: first, the error of ten days, already mentioned, which had crept in, had to be got rid of; second, its recurrence had to be prevented for the future. The first was attained by the omission from the calendar of the ten superfluous days, so as to bring things back to their proper position. To obviate the recurrence of the same convenience, it was decided to omit three leap years in every four centuries, and thus eliminate the three superfluous days, which, as we have seen, would be introduced in that period under the Julian system. To effect this, only those Centurial years were retained as leap years the first two figures of which are exact multiples of 4--as 1600, 2000, 2400--other centurial years 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, etc.--becoming common years of 365 days each. By this comparatively simple device an approximation to perfect accuracy was effected, which for all practical purposes is amply sufficient; for, although the length of the Gregorian year exceeds the true astronomical measurement by twenty-six seconds, it will be about thirty-five centuries before the result will be an error of a day, and, as Lord Grimthorpe truly says, before that time arrives mankind will have abundant time to devise a mode of correction.
Why the fuss about the Julian versus Gregorian kalenders?
(11-11-2010, 04:25 PM)Virgil the Roman Wrote: Why the fuss about the Julian versus Gregorian kalenders?

It's simple. The Orthodox (and formerly the Protestants) didn't accept the reformed and improved calendar because it was issued by the Pope. Anti-Romanism at its best.

CE Wrote:The introduction of the Gregorian Calendar entailed various discrepancies between the dates which different people assigned to the same events. The Julian system of time-measurements, introduced by Cæsar, was not sufficiently accurate, as it made the year slightly too long, with the result that by the sixteenth century it had fallen ten days in arrear, so that, for instance, the day of the vernal equinox, which should have been called 21 March, was called 11 March. To remedy this, besides substituting an improved system which should prevent the error from operating in future, it was necessary to omit ten full days in order to bring things back to the proper point. Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced the reformed system, or "New Style", ordained that ten days in October, 1582, should not be counted, the fourth of that month being immediately followed by the fifteenth. He moreover determined that the year should begin with 1 January, and in order to prevent the Julian error from causing retardation in the future as in the past, he ruled that three leap years should be omitted in every four centuries, viz. those of the centennial years the first two figures of which are not exact multiples of four, as 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, etc. The New Style (N.S.) was speedily adopted by Catholic States, but for a long time the Protestant States retained the Old (O.S.), from which there followed important differences in marking dates according as one or other style was followed. In the first place there was the original difference of ten days between them, increased to eleven by the O.S. 29 February in A.D. 1700, to twelve days in 1800, and to thirteen in 1900. Moreover, the period from 1 January to 24 March inclusive, which was the commencement of the year according to N.S., according to O.S. was the conclusion of the year previous. From want of attention to this, important events have sometimes been misquoted by a year. In illustration may be considered the death of Queen Elizabeth. This occurred in what was then styled in England 24 March 1602, being the last day of that year. In France and wherever the N.S. prevailed, this day was described as 3 April, 1603. To avoid all possible ambiguity such dates are frequently expressed in fractional form as 24 March/3 April, 1602/3. In our modern histories years are always given according to N.S., but dates are otherwise left as they were originally recorded. Thus Queen Elizabeth is said to have died 24 March, 1603. Not till 1700 was the Gregorian reform accepted by the Protestant States of Germany and the Low Countries, and not till 1752 by Great Britain, there being by that time a difference of eleven days between O.S. and N.S. Sweden, after some strange vacillation, followed suit in 1753. O.S. was still followed by Russia and other Eastern Orthodox countries well into the twentieth century, and their dates consequently were thirteen days behind those of the rest of Christendom.
(11-09-2010, 11:51 PM)justlurking Wrote:
(11-09-2010, 06:05 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: Palamism is the reason numerous Orthodox became papist in the middle ages. among them John VIII Palaeologos, and his prime minister.

Acceptance or rejection of it?

what are you asking? acceptance of palamism or denial of it, or acceptance of catholicism or denial of it?
For the benefit of those still reading this thread who might be unaware of, or confused about, the controversy surrounding St. Gregory Palamas and the Essence–Energies distinction, I've copied over a recent post by "Ghosty" at CAF; this post is one of the most conciliative and concise treatments of the issue I've seen anywhere, whether in books or on the internet.
Ghosty Wrote:The "debate" is, in my opinion (and I've devoted a LOT of time to studying this topic), a mountain out of a molehile. Long story short, both East and West have always spoken of the Essence and Energies of God (Energy is translated into Western theological use as "activity" or "operations"). Prior to the Schism there was really no division on this issue; that came with theological developments in the Byzantine East with St. Gregory Palamas and his debate with a theologian called Barlaam (in the 14th century).

Their disagreement was basically this: if we can't comprehend the Essence of God, but we can experience His Energies, how are these two things related? Barlaam argued that the two are distinct, and therefore we can't have a direct experience of God. St. Gregory Palamas argued that they are distinct but they are both Divine, and so we have a direct experience of God through the Energy, but not through the unknowable Essence. Barlaam countered that this would make two Gods, and Palamas responded that Barlaam's solution runs against Scripture and Tradition, since the Apostolic teaching is that we become direct participants in the Divine Nature through Grace. Barlaam, denying that the Energy could be God, also denied direct participation in Divinity (at least that's how Palamas presents his argument; we only really know of Barlaam's beliefs through the writings of his opponent).

In the West this debate quite simply never came up, or rather the sharing of Divinity with humanity was approached from a different angle (with the Protestant Reformation). The fact that humans can't comprehend the infinite Divine Essence was resolved by simply pointing out that "knowing" is not the same as "comprehending", much the way that I can know about the Sun without comprehending nuclear physics. With that distinction in place, there really wasn't any need argue over the distinction between Essence and Energies, since the Divine Energy in this case is simply the direct operation of the Divine Essence (this manner of speaking of Essence and Energies also fits with the teachings of great Eastern Fathers like St. John of Damascus, but so does St. Gregory Palamas' answer). In Western theology, saying that we experience the Divine Energy, but not the Divine Essence, is simply translated as "we experience the action of the Divine Essence without comprehending It".

Kept within their own theological frameworks there's really no contradiction between the two traditions. The problem comes when they encountered eachother without much effort at proper translation (a common problem you'll find again and again between Apostolic traditions, going back to the Council of Ephesus at least). Remember, the Byzantine tradition (with St. Gregory Palamas) takes it as a given that we can't comprehend the Divine Essence, and builds from there without making a distinction between "knowing" and "comprehending" the way the West did. Furthermore, there is no "partial sharing" of Essence in this system the way there is in Western theology (in the West it would be called "participation in the Divine Essence"); it's all or nothing, since the Essence is what fundamentally defines a thing. The West gets around this by pointing out that "essential properties" can be shared without the essences themselves changing (basically, the West uses a less strict definition of Essence, broadened to include essential properties and not merely the "pure definition"). In the East, the "essential properties" get folded into energy instead, and essence is kept as the "simple definition". Neither approach is right or wrong, so long as they are both internally consistant, and they are.

So along comes the West saying "we share in the Divine Essence through Grace", and the East hears this as "we become Persons of the Trinity through Grace". From the other side, the East comes along saying "we can't share in the Divine Essence, but only the Divine Energy (activity/operation)". The West sounds, to the East, like it's proposing the disolution of the self into the Godhead, and the East sounds, to the West, like its denying any real participation in Divinity. The irony, of course, is that both sides are actually saying the exact opposite from what they're being heard to say.

Sometimes you will see this confusion compounded by the fact that the West uses the term "created Grace" to refer to our participation in divinity, the same terminology that Barlaam used to indicate that we DON'T share in Divinity through Grace (he used it to indicate a firm and sharp distinction between creature and Creator that could not be bridged in any way, not even by participation). In Western theology this term is used to indicate that our sharing in Divinity is something created (i.e. that our participation is created new, but what we participate in is not), not something eternal per se (in other words, we come into the Life of Grace, and are not born as extensions of Divinity in some kind of pantheism, like in Hinduism). The West drew this language from Scripture: "we are made new creatures in Christ Jesus". The West was emphatically NOT saying what Barlaam is claimed to have said, but it uses the same terminology and that gets in the way when not properly understood.

That's a brief overview, and I hope it helps! BTW, both approaches of theology are endorsed by the Catholic Church, so long as they are properly understood.

Peace and God bless!
Thank you sir.
I will say, however, that the original discussion of Palamism in the old days (circa the time of John VIII Palaeologos) came about in a curious way indeed: Hesychasm, a belief that praying a certain way under a director would let one see a divine, uncreated light (light of Mount Tabor during the Transfiguration, hence "Tabor Light"). I suppose people wanted to know if this is true or not.
In discerning if it is true (hesychasm, that is) one must take into account that one cannot see God in His divine glory or they will die. So, if one sees the light of God, or God HImself (here comes the problems) and doesn't die then either one can see God and not die, or that light isn't God.
The lot of Orthodox who became Papist in this time period did in fact believe it to be ditheist--that Hesychasm/Palamism told them that there were two gods. So, I don't know if I buy Ghosty's answer, because even Orthodox left their church because of Palamism.

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