It is the time of the year when there will two calendars again be considered for festivities and holidays. It maybe of interest to some of you to learn that the revised Julian calendar was proposed by a Serbian scientist Milankovic.
The new calendar was proposed for adoption by the Orthodox churches at a synod in Constantinople in May 1923. The synod, convened by Patriarch Meletius IV of Constantinople, did not have representatives from the remaining Orthodox members of the original Pentarchy (the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria) or from the largest Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, then under persecution from the Bolsheviks, but only effective representation from the Patriarch of Constantinople, Romanian and the Serbian Patriarchate.
This synod synchronized the new calendar with the Gregorian calendar by dropping thirteen days. It also adopted a leap rule that differs from that of the Gregorian calendar: years divisible by four are leap years, except that years divisible by 100 are only leap years if dividing the year by 900 leaves a remainder of 200 or 600. This was proposed by the Serbian scientist Milutin Milankovic, a delegate to the synod representing the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Milankovic presented to the Congress his proposal signed by him and Gavrilo Dozic, as the new proposition of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on the session of May 23, 1923. In his historic speech to the Congress, he told the delegates that if they only adopted to delete 13 days from Julian calendar, the Orthodox Church would be in an inferior position in any future discussion on the calendar question. With the proposition of the Serbian delegation, the Orthodox Church could confidently enter into any negotiation on the calendar question with Western Churches since they would have the most precise and most scientific calendar in the Christian world. He underlined also that with such a decision, the Orthodox Church would not be accepting the calendar of the Roman-Catholic Church, but would be obtaining a better one. Today, Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch, Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria (from 1968) and Orthodox Church in America use the “New”, “Revised” or “Rectified” Julian calendar. On the other hand, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Churches of Russia and Serbia, along with the monasteries on Mt. Athos, all continue to adhere to the Julian or Old Calendar.
Milutin Milankovic (1879 – 1958) was a Serbian mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist, climatologist, and writer. Milankovic gave two fundamental contributions to global science. The first contribution is the “Canon of the Earth’s Insolation”, which characterizes the climates of all the planets of the Solar system. The second contribution is the explanation of Earth’s long-term climate changes caused by changes in the position of the Earth in comparison to the Sun, now known as Milankovic cycles.
Milankovic dedicated his career to developing a mathematical theory of climate based on the seasonal and latitudinal variations of solar radiation received by the Earth. Now known as the Milankovic Theory, it states that as the Earth travels through space around the sun, cyclical variations in three elements of Earth-sun geometry combine to produce variations in the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth.
Other notable calendars
- The French Revolutionary Calendar – took as its first day the 22 Sept 1792, when the monarchy was abolished. It consisted of 12 months of 30 days each, with a supplemental 5 or 6 days at the end of these 12 months. Each day (from noon to noon) had 10 hours and each hour had 100 decimal seconds. There were no weeks, but each month had three decades. There were no names for the days, but they were called the first, the second, the third day… Workers had to work 9 days for a free day as there was no Sunday. This calendar was abolished after 13 years and three months, on 1 January 1806.
- The Bolshevik Calendar – the reform took place in 1929 in order to abolish Sunday. This calendar had 72 five-day weeks (pyatidnevka), but at the end was not accepted. Another attempt was made and suggested 60 weeks of 6 days each (shestdievka). The days of 6, 12, 18, 24, and 30 were days of rest. It never took real roots and was abolished in 1940.