Holy Orthodox Church
North America

Calendar Change

          In 1583, the Pope of Rome, Gregory XIII, who changed the Julian calendar, repeatedly pressured the Patriarch of Constantinople, Jeremias II, who was called the Illustrious, to follow him in the calendar innovation. The Patriarch repeatedly refused with letters, and finally in the same year he convened a council in Constantinople at which, besides himself, were present the Patriarch of Alexandria, Sylvester; the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronios, and many other Bishops. This council issued a Sigillion which was sent to all the regional Orthodox Churches and which enumerates the principal heresies of the Papacy and anathematizes (that is, proclaims as being out of the Church) all those who profess them. Here is an extract concerning the calendar change from the text of the Sigillion:
    To all the genuine Christian children of the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ of the East in Trigovyst and in all places, be grace and peace and mercy from Almighty God.  Not a little distress took possession of that Ark of Old, when storm-tossed, it was borne upon the waters; and if the Lord God, remembering Noah, had not in His good will calmed the water, there would have been no hop of salvation in it. In a like manner with the new Ark of our Church, the heretics have raised up a relentless war against us, and we have deemed it well to leave behind the present tome against them so that with the things written in it, you may be able more  surely to defend your Orthodoxy. But in order that the document may not be burdensome to simpler people, we have decided to set forth the entire subject to you in simple speech as follows:

    From old Rome have come certain persons who learned there to think like Latins; and the bad thing is that from being Byzantines (that is, Greeks) born and bred in our own parts, they not only have changed their faith, but they also battle the Orthodox and true dogmas of the Eastern Church which Christ Himself and the divine Apostles and the Holy Councils of the Holy Fathers delivered to us. Whereupon, having cut them off as rotten members, we order:

    VII Whosoever does not follow the customs of the Church which the seven Holy Ecumenical Councils have decreed, and the Holy Pascha and calendar which they enacted well for us to follow, but wants to follow the newly-invented Paschalion (method of fixing the date of Pascha) and the new calendar of the atheist astronomers of the Pope; and, opposing them, wishes to overthrow and destroy the doctrines ansd customs of the Church which we have inherited from our Fathers, let any such have the anathema and let him be outside of the Church and the Assembly of the Faithful. 

    VIII We exhort all pious and Orthodox Christians: remain in those things which you learned and in which you were born and bred, and when the times and circumstances call for it shed your very blood in order both to keep the Faith given us by our Fathers and to keep your confession. Beware such people and take care that our Lord Jesus Christ help you. May the blessing of our humility be with you all. Amen.


The 1,583rd year from the birth of the God-man, 
Indiction 12, November 20th.
Jeremias, of Constantinople; Sylvester, of Alexandria; 
Sophronios of Jerusalem; (and the rest of the 
Bishops of the Synod who were present).
Complete text found in Against False Union, pgs.92-93