Why Are New Calendarists So Sensitive?

An answer from St. Edward's, the Royal Path...
The Shepherd (Magazine) September 2008, page 8

QUESTION: “Can you tell me why the new calendar churches and those in communion with them are so sensitive about the calendar issue? Why are they so quick in condemning resisters?” J. C. by e-mail.

Of course the true answer to your question is that you should ask them! Because only the New Calendarists and those in communion with them can really answer for themselves, but I think I can hazard a couple of ideas which may not be far off the mark.

First of all, some of the Old Calendarists are so extreme, so intent on condemning others and on constant vigil to see their faults, that I think that many New Calendarists think that all traditionalists are tarred with the same brush. This is not a very intelligent conclusion, but it is an understandable one. We all tend to fall into similar errors, judging whole peoples en bloc, rather than looking and listening to see what their true position is.

Again, many New Calendarists and “those in communion with them” (you were wise to add that phrase!), especially out here in the West where they are in a majority, have been treated unkindly and rudely by Old Calendarists, who think that harshness and rudeness are manifestations of righteous zeal. They are not. However, once bitten, as the proverb says, twice shy, and thereafter they are wary that all Old Calendarists might be the same or assume that they might be.

Thirdly, I believe that many New Calendarists understand that their position is a wrong one, they understand that the involvement of their leaders and hierarchs in ecumenical activity is contrary to Orthodox tradition, but they go along with these things for a variety of reasons: convenience, family connections, failure to apply themselves to study those things which pertain to their salvation, false loyalty to clergymen, comfort, and so on. However, in doing this they also feel a little guilt, and one of the things that we tend to do when we feel our own position is unsound or when we feel guilt about something is to strike out at others, deflecting, we think, attention from ourselves.

Then again, there is herd-mentality; one wishes to be “in” with the crowd, and so one adopts the views and opinions one hears from them. (This, of course, can also apply to Old Calendarists). Often the leaders, - and I do not necessarily mean their leaders in the hierarchy or clergy, but often just those who become vocal proponents of their position, - are not adverse to spreading false rumours about the stance of the traditionalists. I remember years ago, when we were in ROCA, which was then part of the traditionalist movement within Orthodoxy, a lady from the Moscow Patriarchate parish visited us. She was surprised that we would allow her to go inside the church, but said: “I would not be allowed to come to a service, though, would I?” Well, of course she would have been and would have been welcome to do so, but somewhere someone had told her that we would not accept her in Christian love.

All this may raise the question, why the New Calendarists, and those in communion with them, are so particularly vehement in their attacks on the moderate traditionalists, and I think the reason for this is that it is easy to dismiss the extremists as fanatical, and therefore they pose no threat. But those that are moderate, understanding of the difficulties, willing to show, as far as lies within them, Christian love, and yet are firm in their adherence to the Church’s traditions perhaps seem more of a threat to their chosen position because they cannot be easily dismissed as nut-cases.

I hope some of these thoughts help you. Please forgive any deficiencies in my reply.

source: http://www.saintedwardbrotherhood.org/0908/shepherd8.html


Joanna Higginbotham said...

What Blessed Philaret says about the new calendar:


Joanna Higginbotham said...

Here is what God says...


Commemorated on 14 (27) September

In the early 1900’s, and especially in the 1920’s, there were strong anti- Church and secularist forces in power in Greece and in the Ecumenical
Patriarchate. Among the actions of these forces, there was introduced, by force, the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is adequate for the functions of business, the stock exchange, and other worldly, secular activities. Liturgically, however, it is practically useless, even harmful. It is in no way possible to reconcile the Gregorian calendar with our canonical, Orthodox Christian Paschalion. Moreover, the introduction of a Church calendar change by a local church created an unacceptable liturgical disunity within the Church Itself.

Vast numbers of the people of Greece refused to accept these anti-canonical, anti-Church changes being forced upon them by state police power. Such people suffered, and continue to suffer persecution, imprisonment, and deprivation at the hands of secular police powers. But the spiritual eyes of true Orthodox Christians saw clearly even if, at the time, they did not completely comprehend the evil of the new calendar. It was a forerunner and a sign of the greatest heresy in the history of
the world -- Ecumenism. Many people, however, became confused. Some began to waver. Just as the Arians were in control of the worldly power in 351 and were able to force their heresy upon the empire, so now, the calendar renovationists controlled the worldly power of Greece. In such a troubled and dangerous time, the All Merciful God heeded the needs of His people. Again, as in 351, God sent a wondrous apparition of the sign of the All-Honourable Cross to seal the truth and put the false teachers to shame.

The appearance of the sign of the Cross took place in this manner:

In 1925, on the eve of the feast of the Exaltation of the Honourable and Life- giving Cross of our Saviour, September 14 according to the Orthodox Church (old) calendar, the all-night vigil was served at the church of St. John the Theologian in suburban Athens. By 9 o’clock that evening, more than 2,000 of the true-Orthodox faithful had gathered in and around the church for the service, since very few true-Orthodox (old calendar) churches had been accidentally left open by the civil authorities. Such a large gathering of people could not, however, go unnoticed by the authorities.

Around eleven p.m. the authorities dispatched a battalion of police to the church “to prevent any disorders which might arise from such a large gathering.” The gathering was too large for the police to take any direct action or to arrest the priest at that time, and so they mingled with the crowd of worshipers in the already over-flowing courtyard of the church.

Then, regardless of the true motives for their presence, against their own will, but according to the Will which exceeds all human power, they became participants in the miraculous experience of the crowd of believers.

At 11:30 pm, there began to appear in the heavens above the church, in the direction of North-East, a bright, radiant Cross of light. The light not only illuminated the church and the faithful but, in its rays, the stars of the clear, cloudless sky became dim and the church-yard was filled with an almost tangible light. The form of the Cross itself was an especially dense light and it could be clearly seen as a Byzantine cross with an angular cross bar toward the bottom. This heavenly miracle lasted for half an hour, until midnight, and then the Cross began slowly to raise up vertically, as the cross in the hands of the priest does in the ceremony of the Elevation of the Cross in church. Having come straight up, the Cross began gradually to fade away.

The human language is not adequate to convey what took place during the apparition. The entire crowd fell prostrate upon the ground with tears and began to sing hymns praising the Lord with one heart and one mouth. The police were among those who wept, suddenly discovering, in the depths of their hearts, a childlike faith. The crowd of believers and the battalion of police were transformed into one, unified flock of faithful. All were seized with a holy ecstasy.

The vigil continued until four am, when all this human torrent streamed back into the city, carrying the news of the miracle because of which they were still trembling and weeping.

Many of the unbelievers, sophists and renovationists, realizing their sin and guilt, but unwilling to repent, tried by every means to explain away or deny this miracle. The fact that the form of the cross had been so sharply and clearly that of the Byzantine (sometimes called the Russian Cross) Cross, with three cross-bars, the bottom one at an angle, completely negated any arguments of accidental physical phenomenon.

The fact that such an apparition of the Cross had also occurred during the height of the first great heresy must strike the Orthodox with an especial sense of the magnitude of the importance of the calendar question and of all that is connected with it. No sensible person can discuss this issue lightly, with secular reasoning or with worldly arguments. Renovationists, like the Arians in 351, are left without extenuation or mitigation.


Joanna Higginbotham said...

Here is what the Church says...


When the storm of Ecumenism began to rage, O Saviour, against Thy Holy Church,// and the faithful were tempest-tossed as were the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee,// Thou didst vouchsafe to seal with the sign of Thine all-Honourable Cross, O Merciful One,// the calendar of Thy Church as a symbol of the true way. // Wherefore, we cry with joy: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Saviour, save us.


Athens rejoiced, O Saviour, to behold the wonder of Thy compassion;// for Thou didst cause the symbol of our salvation to shine forth // for the consolation of the faithful and for the testimony of the truth.// Wherefore, O Holy One, we faithful magnify Thine ineffable condescension.

Joanna Higginbotham said...

Understanding Our Church Calendar
Protopriest Boris (Molchanoff)