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St. Philaret’s Introduction to the Book
THE CALENDAR QUESTION
by Reverend Basile Sakkas
Translated from the French by Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston
INTRODUCTION by Blessed Philaret
The Holy apostle commands us saying, “Hold fast the traditions which ye
have received, whether by word of mouth or through an epistle of ours.” (2 Thes. 11:15). It is therefore with genuine joy that we recommend to you this present study written by a Greek brother, Fr. Basil Sakkas, who is a priest under our Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia serving in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the voice of a true Orthodox Christian of the Greek Church, which Church has been afflicted for the last fifty years with divisions, and contention, and persecution on account of the innovation of the New Calendar which was brought about in 1924 by modernists in a hasty and most uncanonical manner.
Fr. Basil sets forth in a clear fashion the reasons why many of our Greek
Orthodox brethren refused to follow after the uncanonical change of the calendar in their Church in 1924 and, being aided by the fathers of the Holy Mountain Athos, courageously and justly withstood this innovation which was the beginning of an inundation of innovations perpetuated by the modernists until the sorry state in which we are found today of the heresy of Ecumenism.
All serious and concerned Orthodox Christians should pay attention to this work of Fr. Basil, especially today when there is talk by the modernists of changing the Orthodox Paschalia. The translation and printing of this study is especially precious since the texts of the three condemnations of the Gregorian Calendar enacted by Pan-Orthodox councils in the 16th Century and the Pan- Orthodox condemnation of modernism last century presided over by Patriarch Anthemus appear for the first time in English.
These condemnations were never lifted by any later council — they still
stand and are binding for all Orthodox Christians. The innovation of the New Calendar brought about schism in all the local churches that adopted it. Thus, Greece, Cyprus, Rumania, and now Bulgaria have tasted the fruits of disobedience. It is only to be regretted that the Orthodox peoples of the above-mentioned Churches were not able to all rise up together and as a great wave overcome and put down this tide of innovations, as the Russian people put down the modernism of the “Living Church” in this century.
Our own Russian Church in the person of the then Archbishop Anastassy of blessed memory, later Metropolitan and the First Hierarch of our Synod, strongly and resolutely protested the innovation of the New Calendar and the other modernisms of Patriarch Meletius Metaxakis of sorry memory at the gathering in Constantinople in 1923, which is wrongly referred to as Pan-Orthodox since the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem and the Church of Cyprus did not attend. Most hierarchs of the Church of Constantinople also refused to attend, thus protesting the uncanonicity of the forced political appointment of Meletius as Ecumenical Patriarch. The Primate of our Church at that time, Metropolitan Anthony, also protested against that reform in his correspondence with the Eastern Patriarchs and received answers supporting his stand.
“Glory and honor,” therefore, in the words of the Holy Apostle, to all who hold fast the traditions and keep the Faith as we have received it without additions or subtractions even though they be slandered and persecuted.
The 14th of April, 1972
Feast of St. Martin the Confessor, pope of Rome,
and the bishop confessors with him in the West.