This week, we have a contribution from Reader Alexsey on the “Old” and “New” Calendars. Enjoy!
Those who have spent time within the Orthodox Church may have noticed that there are two calendars in use within the Church: the “Old Calendar,” which refers to the Julian Calendar, and the “New Calendar,” which refers to the Revised Julian Calendar. You have read that correctly, the Revised Julian Calendar is not the secularly used Gregorian Calendar, although some do mistake it as such. If you are reading dates, you will also see this difference using the abbreviations: O.S. (meaning Old Style) and N.S. (meaning New Style). In the Orthodox World both of these calendars are used by different Church, a separation that occurred at the Pan-Orthodoxy Council of Constantinople in 1923, which was not really a “Pan-Orthodox Council” as the Russian Church was not present, nor were there representatives from the remaining members of the Pentarchy—the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, or Jerusalem. In reality, this council only saw the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Serbian Church, the Church of Cyprus, the Romanian Church, and the Church of Greece in attendance. Even so, it was adopted by some between the years of 1923 and 1963, those being: the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of Greece, the Church of Poland, the Romanian Church, and lastly the Bulgarian Church.
There are many debates still taking place when it comes to this topic, but I am going to skip the theology here, if you would like to ask me during trapeza I will be more than happy to answer questions. Suffice to say that we are under the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and, therefore, we use the Old Calendar. This means that there is, at this time, a 13-day difference in calendar days between the Old and the New calendars. This has not been the constant trend, as only just over a century ago it was 12-days, and it will drift again around the year 2099.
The main “take away” from this is to recognize that we have a 13-day calendar separation between the Old and New Calendars at this time and when one sees “O.S.” it means “Old Style” meaning it is the Old Calendar date, while “N.S.” is the “New Style” or New Calendar date.