Merry Christmas from Prof. Steve Steve!

| 10 Comments

10 Comments

And a happy Winter Solstice to you, Steve Steve. :)

And a happy Winter Solstice to you, Steve Steve. :)

You’re a couple of days late :)

Bah Winter Solstice and the Julian Calender

True story. If it wasn’t for Augustus stealing a day from February so he could have the same number of days as Julius Caesar’s month then we wouldn’t have this problem. ‘Romanes Eunt Domus’? ‘People called Romanes they go the house’?

The winter solstice did fall on December 25th in the Julian calendar. St. John Chrysostom proposed this date for the celebration of the nativity. I forget the explanation why the modern eastern churches celebrate Christmas on January 7th, which is somewhat confusing, given Christmas’s eastern origin. Also, St. Nicholas attended the First Council of Nicaea in 325, where he is said to have struck Arius of Alexandria after a debate about the on-again/off-again heresy of Arianism. Arius’ doctrinal crime was the assertion that

“Jesus Christ was not co-eternal and of one substance with God the Father, but had been created by Him at a specific time as His instrument for the salvation of the world. Thus, although a perfect man, the Son must always be subordinate to the Father, his nature being human rather than divine.” [From John Julius Norwich’s Byzantium: The Early Centuries]

Unlike later heresies, this one had the benefit of not plunging the Empire into civil war.

Merry [insert Winter festival of choice here]! [Insert deity of choice here] bless us, every one :)

I prefer a Santa that doesn’t show nyamp.

Merry Cephalopodmas to all!

… the modern eastern churches celebrate Christmas on January 7th

Actually, when Old (Julian) Calendar churches celebrate Christmas, the calendar they use says December 25th. New (Gregorian) calendars will show a date in January. Because the Julian calendar assumes the year to be 365.25 days in length, it slips out of sync with the seasons. Eventually, December 25th will occur in Northern hemisphere mid-summer.

Which calendar to use has from time to time been a source of schism, tumult, recrimination and dynastic feuds.

A further note:

It might be an act of supererogation to propound that nearly all Eastern Orthodox Christian jurisdictions now observe the Gregorian calendar.

The “Old Calendar” Greeks, who generally regard Apostolos Makrakis as the Penultimate Authority in matters of faith and morals, and the “Garazhnaya Yurisdiktsia” Russian Orthodox in North America, consider observance of the Julian calendar to be primary evidence of doctrinal purity.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on December 25, 2005 11:27 AM.

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