25 July 2014
Using the new calendar as a sign
for judging a jurisdiction
Fr. Seraphim Rose wrote: "...In America, in particular, where there is no political pressure to change the Calendar, adherence to the traditional Church Calendar is rapidly becoming one of the distinguishing marks that separate the true from the false Orthodox..."
We can be certainly that any Church (jurisdiction) using the new calendar is in world-orthodoxy. No matter what else they do in accordance with tradition. But, if a Church is using the old calendar, that does not necessarily mean they are valid Churches. Many Churches using the old calendar and calling themselves "true" are schismatic or vagante.
Church unity is not based on common views:
see this excerpt from a 2014 document published by our Greek Sister Church:
b3. In the end, we need to realize that the True Orthodox Church ought not to cultivate the mistaken impression that Her unity is founded on our view of the Mysteries of the New Calendarists; on the contrary, Her fidelity to Apostolic teaching and Succession should be the focus of Her unity. It is fidelity to our Confession that unites us, and not our view of the Mysteries of the New Calendarists, who are, in any case, fallen away in the Faith and “not in communion [with our Church].”
"Fidelity to Apostolic teaching" can be summarized as "Tradition". The old calendar is one small part of Tradition. If any particular group uses the old calendar, this does not mean that they have the whole of the Tradition or that they have maintained Apostolic Succession.
Another way to say it:
Valid Churches do not use the new calendar,
but using the old calendar will not cause an unenlightened Church to be valid.
We tend to place too much importance on which calendar a jurisdiction uses as a way to judge that jurisdiction. We tend to see the new calendar/old calendar as more of a vice/virtue than it is. The use of the new calendar/old calendar needs to be considered first as a symptom, an indication, a sign.
It is characteristic of world-orthodox jurisdictions to use the new calendar, but not all of them do. When we see the use of the new calendar we can be certain this jurisdiction is in world-orthodoxy. But the use of the old calendar is no guarantee that jurisdiction is in any better spiritual condition than a world-orthodox, in fact, it could be worse. The OCA for example, a world-orthodox jurisdiction, has a number of old calendar parishes in Alaska. There is a world-orthodox Bulgarian church in Santa Rosa using the old calendar. The RocorMP use the old calendar. Even the vigante Milan synods [AOMNSBI] use the old calendar. The Soviet Church (MP, Stalin's church) uses the old calendar as part of its disguise.
If you see the old calendar for what it is, which is just a calendar, however superior, then you are less likely to be hoodwinked. Our own Patriarch Tikhon, in 1924 stated that the Julian calendar itself is not a dogma of faith of the Church and could, in theory and principle, be altered. The reason we resist the new calendar today is not so much because it is the new calendar, but because of where it came from (antichrist) and it's purpose (ecumenism) and what it caused (schism).
We can judge a Church to be world-orthodox solely by its use of the new calendar,
but we can't judge a Church solely by its use of the old calendar.
In America the only valid Churches are the Russian Church under Metropolitan Agafangel Pashkovsky and the Greek Church under Metropolitan Demetrios Kiriacou. These Churches are in communion with each other. The other Churches in the "Sisterhood of Churches" do not have a presence in America.