The Church Calendar
The calendar we use today – the Gregorian calendar – was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. It replaced the then-in-use Julian Calendar, and aimed to be more accurate. The Gregorian Calendar fixed the date of the Vernal Equinox at March 21; in the Julian calendar, the Vernal Equinox moved ahead one day about every 126 years. In Pope Gregory XIII's time, the Julian Calendar was 10 days behind, so 10 days were dropped from the calendar.

Today, the Gregorian Calendar and Julian Calendar differ by 13 days. Thus, churches which use the Julian Calendar (the Church of Russia, for example) celebrate the Nativity of Christ on January 7 (instead of December 25). This is not because these churches celebrate Christmas on the date of Theophany; rather, this is because January 7 in the Julian Calendar is the same day as December 25 in the new.

The Orthodox Church in America, of which our parish is part, uses the Revised Julian Calendar (or the "New Calendar"). In this calendar, fixed feasts are celebrated as indicated by the Gregorian Calendar, but the Paschal season (and thus the date of Pascha itself) follows the Julian Calendar. This is because the paschalion of the Julian Calendar was formulated by the First Ecumenical Council; Pope Gregory XIII changed the paschalion when he formulated the Gregorian Calendar.

The church year begins on September 1.
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