Following the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine, the Eparchy of Melbourne of the Saint Apostles Peter and Paul is also conducting a calendar reform. According to the Decree of His Grace, Bishop Mykola Bychok, from September 1, 2023, the Eparchy of Melbourne will completely switch to the Gregorian calendar.
About the calendar reform in the Eparchy of Melbourne, the Head of the Liturgical Committee, Father Andriy Mykytyuk, comments as follows: “The Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, because of this there is a difference in the celebration of church feasts. It is known that the church calendar has two cycles – movable and fixed feasts. Moving feasts depends on Easter. Since this feasts every year has a different day, which is calculated by a certain formula, then accordingly all other feasts associated with it – Ascension of Christ, Pentecost, and 32 Sundays after Pentecost – depend on when Easter will be celebrated. Instead, the stationary cycle relies on the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos. Since the church year begins in September and this month is the first significant feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, therefore, in accordance with it, we celebrate all fixed feasts – the Protection of the Mother of God, Nativity of Christ, Theophany, Annunciation, Candlemas, the daily commemoration of saints and other fixed feasts.
The transition to the Gregorian calendar on September 1 means only that we have to understand the change of 13 days for the entire calendar and for the cycle of movable feasts, that is, Paschal changes. Accordingly, we will celebrate feasts together with the Catholic Church.”
It is worth adding the comment of the Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Svyatoslav about the calendar reform: “Do not be afraid of change! We want our Ukraine to be different. We declare that it must become better than it was before the war. It means that we must change first. So let us change! Do not be afraid to become different, better.”
Also, for a better understanding and explanation of all information about the calendar reform in the Eparchy of Melbourne, the Liturgical Committee will organize online information sessions for the faithful in Ukrainian and English. During these sessions, Father Andrii Mykytyuk, Syncellus for Laity, and Father Simon Ckuj, Protosyncellus of the Eparchy, will explain in more detail all the information and answer all questions regarding the transition to the new calendar. Details about this will be provided later.
For reference: The Julian calendar was introduced by Emperor Julius Caesar in 46 BC and was adopted during the development of Christianity. However, from an astronomical point of view, this calendar was not completely correct, because it did not take into account the full duration of the annual cycle. Therefore, to replace this calendar in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced a more accurate Gregorian calendar, which took into account an error of 13 days and was more accurate and better from an astronomical point of view.
Ukraine, having adopted Christianity in 988, also adopted the Julian calendar, which was introduced both in church life and in public life. Later in 1918, the Ukrainian People’s Republic decided to switch the public to the Gregorian calendar. Currently, the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars is 13 days.