Orthodox New Year Celebrations Tonight, 13 January

By , 13 Jan 2020, 11:28 AM Lifestyle
Orthodox New Year Celebrations Tonight, 13 January Photo: Neža Loštrek

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Orthodox communities in Slovenia are getting ready for the New Year's celebrations, which will take place on Monday night, January 13th.


In 1582 a switch to the Gregorian calendar started to take place in the Western Christian world due to increasing divergence between the Julian calendar and certain religious holidays based on astronomical events, such as Easter. The change to a shorter Gregorian year in the 16th century required 10 days to be skipped. The difference has since increased to 13 days.

Although most Eastern Orthodox countries had adopted the Gregorian calendar by 1924, the national Churches had not, which is why most of the shared Christian holidays are not synchronised and the New Year’s Eve seems to be celebrated twice.  

Another interesting fact has been brought to our attention by one of our readers. In 1923 a Serbian geophysicist, climatologist and astronomer Milutin Milanković (1879–1958) presented the following suggestions for the Julian calendar reform:

The beginning of the year would have be changed for 13 days to offset the astronomical difference which accumulated since the first Council of Nicaea in 325, the same thing that needed to be done when the Gregorian calendar was introduced.

Most importantly, the rule for adding leap days would be corrected so that the calendar would no longer lag behind astronomical phenomena. The adjustment would apply to years ending with 00. Such a year is, according to Milanković, a leap year only when the division by 900 bears the remainder of 200 or 600.

In comparison, the Gregorian calendar introduced leap year omissions every year that is divided by 100 but not if it can also be divided by 400.

As a result, the non-leap years according to Milanković are: 2100, 2200, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2700, 2800, 3000, 3100, 3200, 3400, 3500, 3600, 3700, etc., while the non-leap years according to Gregorian calendar are 2100, 2200, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2700, 2900, 3000, 3100, 3300, 3400, 3500, 3700, etc.

As you can see, the Gregorian and Milanković’s calendar begin to diverge in 2799, the year when Gregorian calendar fails and Milanković’s doesn’t.

The revised Julian Calendar was adopted by most of the Orthodox churches except for the Orthodox churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Georgia, and Ukraine. In these countries the new calendar was refused for mostly political reasons – the calendar seemed to have resembled obedience to the Catholic papal decree to closely.

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