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August 20, 2016

Elder Sophrony on the Calendar Issue

Mosaic of Adam at the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Essex

By Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex

Many do not live eternity in Christ, but a paradoxical form of earthly life. When the vision of eternity is absent, time and days become for them the only reality. And they quarrel over calendars. When I was on Athos, the reform of the Calendar took place. The worldwide Church of Christ wanted to determine the time of their lives with the rules identified by the authorities. Before the change of the Calendar the vernal equinox was on March 9, whilst after it was March 22.

This change affected mainly the external life of human society, one could say the public life. But to turn this issue into a dogma and even break liturgical communion, this is consistent with recklessness and the absence of experiencing eternity in Christ. Everything takes place on earth for them. In the twenty-two years of my life on Athos it was painful to see how some, although they were good people, were occupied with days and not eternity.

But the hearts of those who think so paradoxically become hardened. The doors of their hearts are already closed. They cannot understand either the prayer of Gethsemane or the sacrifice of Golgotha, nor the idea of Symeon the New Theologian and Silouan the Athonite, namely that it is beneficial for all of us to be like the first man in the content of our lives, that is, to become like Adam.

Source: From Building the Temple of God Within Us by Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov, vol. 3, p. 142. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.