“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee (Deuteronomy 32:7)
“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28)
“Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you (1 Corinthians 11:2)
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
The Orthodox Archpriest, being by his duty of service the defender of the faith and the guardian of it from any encroachment by various heretics, as a skilful doctor should not only treat ailments affecting the church body but should also do his best to completely disallow any pernicious contagion of heresy into the Church. Of special importance it is nowadays when the Ancient-Orthodox Church, just as in the first days, possesses no basis in the person of the secular authority of the same faith but the Christians have to live in the adversary world, in the nonconformist world or the entirely faithless world. In such environment not every Christian may safeguard himself from the impact of the surrounding world, yet with more attention the Church’s pastors must care about their flock entrusted to them by God and continually be vigilant about Christian souls because they will render account for their service to the Mighty Shepherd. Thus, caring with due attention about the current state of the Church but also thinking about its future we consider it necessary to give the synodical judgment also regarding such spiritual dangers which evidently are no threat to Church life now but may possibly lead to a negative effect on it later.
In our opinion, one of such dangers is the issue related to the so-called calendar reform which was started by the Roman Catholic Church in the late XVI century and after various metamorphoses has spread throughout the world and is now universally used by the majority of other religious confessions.
The history of this issue is as follows.
The main solemn festival celebrated by the Church is the feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ –Holy Pasch. Initially the tradition of celebrating the Holy Pasch festival had no canon but the Christians of many countries celebrated it in different ways and in different times.
The absence of the uniformity in such an issue, so important for all Christians, causing heated debates over the supremacy of this or that local tradition relating to the time of celebrating the Pasch, was the reason for concern of both the ecclesiastic hierarchy and the secular authorities: “And let your Holinesses' sagacity reflect - wrote Saint Emperor Constantine the Great to the bishops, - how grievous and scandalous it is that on the self-same days some should be engaged in fasting, others in festive enjoyment; and again, that after the days of the Pasch some should be present at banquets and amusements, while others are fulfilling the appointed fasts”.
In the year of 325 the Emperor Constantine the Great summoned in the city of Nicea the Ecclesiastical Council which is now known as the First Ecumenical Council. At this Council the holy fathers established the rules for calculating the Pasch, universal for all Christians, thus giving birth to the Orthodox Paschal Tables and the Church Calendar, the basis for which was the calendar endorsed in the Roman Empire by the Emperor Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.
As the celebration of the Pasch and preparation for it are the remembrance of the Evangelic events related to the last days of the earthly life of Christ the Saviour and His Resurrection from the dead were preceded by the Judaic Passover, the holy fathers ruled so as to retain the sequence of these events in celebrating the Pasch of Christ. It was resolved to celebrate the Pasch of Christ on the first Sunday after the Judaic Passover and since it is celebrated by the Jews  beginning on the 14th day of the spring month of Nisan, it is dependent on the lunar calendar and is a moveable feast, therefore the feast of the Pasch of Christ also became moveable. This canon of the feast became common for the entire Church: “At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of the Pasch was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present, that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. For what can be more becoming or honourable to us than that this feast from which we date our hopes of immortality, should be observed unfailingly by all alike, according to one ascertained order and arrangement?” (the Saint Emperor Constantine the Great, letter to the Bishops who did not attend the Council).
The Ruling of the First Ecumenical Council that the Pasch of Christ should not precede the Judaic Passover or coincide with the same was repeated and confirmed by canon i of the Council of Antioch: “Before the devout Emperor Constantine, beloved of God, the Council of Nicaea set forth a decree concerning the holy and valuable celebration of the Pasch.  If anyone, therefore, presumes to disregard this decree of the holy and great Council, let him be excommunicated and expelled from the church.  This decree concerns the laity. But if any one of those who preside in the Church, whether he be bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall presume, after this decree, to exercise his own private judgment to the subversion of the people and to the disturbance of the churches, by observing the Pasch [at the same time] with the Jews, the holy Synod decrees that he shall thenceforth be an alien from the Church, as one who not only heaps sins upon himself, but who is also the cause of destruction and subversion to many; and it deposes not only such persons themselves from their ministry, but those also who after their deposition shall presume to communicate with them. And the deposed shall be deprived even of that external honour, of which the holy Canon and God’s priesthood partake”. The 7th canon of the Holy Apostles also says the same: “If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrates the holy day of the Pasch before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed”.
Thus, the Church Calendar and the Paschal Tables have received the status of the dogmatic ruling of the Orthodox Church. They have existed for over a thousand years in this format.
The uniformity of celebrating the Pasch was violated in 1582 by the reform of Pope Gregory XIII. The commission of the papal astronomers ruled inexact the acting Paschal Tables from the point of view of the secular science which caused the reform of the Paschal Tables necessary in the opinion of this commission and the reform of the Church Calendar which unavoidably accompanied this reform.
The false ecclesiastical reason – to amend the Paschal Tables, i.e. the date of celebrating the Pasch - was declared as the official purpose of the calendar reform. As it has been said before, the First Ecumenical Council ruled to celebrate the Pasch on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. However, the papal astronomers noted that by the XVI century the vernal equinox had moved by 10 days and fell on March 11, whereas in the IV century it had fallen on March 21. To move it to its former place the reformers moved the calendar by 10 days. Thus speaks the text of the bulla (edict) of Pope Gregory XIII «Inter Gravissimas»[1] of February 24, 1582 which became the basis for the calendar reform: “Therefore we took care not only that the vernal equinox returns on its former date, of which it has already deviated approximately ten days since the Council of Nicaea, and so that the fourteenth day of the Paschal moon is given its rightful place, from which it is now distant four days and more, but also that there is founded a methodical and rational system which ensures, in the future, that the equinox and the fourteenth day of the moon do not move from their appropriate positions”.
But the result of the calendar reform was not just the one as the papal scientists had envisaged. Wishing to obtain the astronomical exactitude from the Church Calendar the Catholics subsequently defied the ruling of the Council of Nicaea about celebration of the Pasch. The era under the Gregorian calendar resulted in that the Catholics started celebrating the Christian Pasch either before or at the same time with the Judaic Passover, which, as has been already said, is absolutely prohibited by the canonical rules. It should be noted that the Orthodox Paschal Tables so wisely designed by the holy fathers by the prompting of the Holy Spirit in principle disallowed precedence of the Judaic Passover which testifies to the wisdom of the fathers of the First Ecumenical Council and how spiritlessly and blindly was the arrogant sophistication of the papal scientists– “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers” (Titus 1:10), - for it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Corinthians 1:19-21).
Having fallen away in the XI century from the Church of Christ the papists, carried by the pestilence of Modernism and innumerable heresies absorbed by them, cheekily grasped the right and the possibility, which is even more laughable, to stop the movement of celestial bodies, subdue to their whim the order of natural phenomena established by God: “which ensures, in the future, that the equinox and the fourteenth day of the moon do not move from their appropriate positions. They decided that they could command the natural elements and subdue to their wish the order of things established by God and obedient only to Him having forgotten the Scripture’s writing that “there is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God (Ecclesiastes 2:24); “Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name” (Jeremiah 31:35).
And God humbled these reformers – “the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). At least in Russia upon the initiative of the Russian Astronomic Society in 1899 a special Commission was established to consider the issue of the calendar reform in Russia. The Commission involved about two hundred reputable scientists from Russian Universities and ecclesiastical academies. Many mathematicians, astronomers, historians and theologians were polled, among them being, for example, D.I. Mendeleev and Professor V.V. Bolotov. They, just as the majority of other scientists, called to retain the Julian calendar which was used at that time in Russia and all Eastern Europe. It was admitted that the Gregorian calendar is neither more exact nor better than the Julian calendar; on the contrary, it is not justified astronomically, is illegal from the religious and canonical point of view and is useless from the historical point of view. Thus, Russia at that time retaliated against the reformers – “the wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jeremiah 8:9,10).
And truly, as it has already been said above, the reformers lacked wisdom and had excessive wiles. They had been preparing the calendar reform for quite a long time. The first to call for the calendar amendment was Pope Clement VI in the XIV century. In 1437 the Calendar issue was discussed by the Catholics at the Council of Basel. In 1475 Pope Sixtus IV tried to implement the calendar reform but due to various circumstances the reform did not occur. In the XVI century the Catholics again spoke with new zeal about the calendar reform. This issue was the subject for discussion at the Lateran Council (1512–1517) and the Council of Trent (1545–1563). In 1514 the Lateran Council invited the famous Polish astronomer Nicolas Copernicus to join the calendar commission. But Copernicus refused believing the calendar reform irrelevant. Yet, Popes Paul III and Pius IV had tried to implement the calendar reform before Gregory XIII but without result. In this issue Pope Gregory turned out to be more successful than his predecessors – by violence, under the threat of excommunication from the Church of Christ he managed to implement the calendar reform. The new calendar devised by the papal astronomers was named after him “Gregorian”. The German mathematician Christopher Clavius, a member of the Order of Jesuits, notorious for its hostile attitude to the Orthodox East, managed the work of creating the Gregorian calendar.
All this calendar reform in reality had the nature of a large-scale spiritual subversion against Orthodoxy. Upon the prompting of Jesuits the Polish King Stefan Batory tried to implement the new calendar by force in the Western Russian Orthodox Church. Jesuits believed that the transfer to the new calendar would unavoidably facilitate the conclusion of the Union between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics. But even before that, under the threat of excommunication the new calendar was imposed in all Catholic countries. Somewhat later, the Protestant states also adopted the new calendar. Using the calendar reform the Catholic Church yet another time tried to subdue the entire Christian world.
The Orthodox Hierarchs unerringly identified the true purposes of the reformers, thus, both the Gregorian calendar and the Paschal Tables were flatly renounced by the Orthodox Church. In 1583 the Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremiah II, jointly with the Patriarch of Alexandria Sylvester and the Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius VI, summoned the Great Ecumenical Council where the Gregorian calendar was renounced as a novelty contrary to the canons of the Orthodox Church  and violating the rule of the First Ecumenical Council about the calculation of the day of the Holy Pasch, and those Christians who by any way would facilitate the penetration of the Catholic novelty into the Church of Christ were subjected by the Council to excommunication – anathema: “Since the church of ancient Rome, which, as if glad for the vanity of its astronomers, unctuously changed most beautiful canons on the Holy Pasch followed and celebrated by the Christians of the entire world as had been established and, hence, become the subject for abomination for our Modesty Armenian people stood, asking about the practice of celebration, since they as well are being forced to accept these novelties. That is why we had to say what the Holy Fathers established. Our Modesty, considering this issue, together with the Most blessed Patriarch of Alexandria and the Most blessed Patriarch of Jerusalem and other Synod members, in the Holy Spirit, clarifying what on this subject the Holy Fathers decided, decrees. He who does not fallow the Church traditions as they were handed down to us by the Seven Holy Ecumenical Councils concerning the Holy Pasch and the calendar which established them for us to follow, but wishes to follow the Gregorian Paschal Tables and the Calendar, he, like the godless astronomers, is in violation of all the Holy Synod decrees and seeks to change or weaken them – Anathema to him, excommunication from the Church of Christ and gathering of the faithful. You, the Orthodox and blessed Christians dwell in what you were taught, in what you were born and in what you were reared, and when necessary you would shed your blood to save the holy fathers’ faith and confession. Protect yourselves and be on guard against these, and may our Lord Jesus Christ help you and the prayer of our Modesty be with you. Amen”.
Just as the Council of the Russian Church during the Holy Patriarch Filaret in 1621 in the Collection of Heresies of the Roman Catholics decreed: “About the new calendar. During the seventh thousand of years during the reign of the King and Great Prince Ivan the Great, the King of all Russia, after the Polish King Stefan Batory returned from Pskov he, together with the Pope of Rome and rulers of other Western countries, changed the calendar and the Christian Paschal Tables having thus adopted new rules for themselves. Hence, the difference appeared between their Pasch and the Pasch of five ecumenical patriarchs sometimes being earlier, sometimes being later. Often their Pasch also coincides with the Judaic Passover. While all the Church canons testify to the contrary: “he who celebrates the Pasch with the Jews be cursed”; “And Romans and many other advocates of Latin heresies… perverted the Pasch, during the reign of King Ivan since King Stefan had moved away from Pskov. It happened quite recently, not more than forty years ago. Until this year of 1729 their Pasch many times coincided with the Judaic Passover. And the 7th canon of the Holy Apostles condemns them for such: “If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrates the holy day of the Pasch before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed”. The same says the first canon of the Council of Antioch: “Before the devout Emperor Constantine, beloved of God, the Council of Nicaea set forth a decree concerning the holy and valuable celebration of the Pasch.  If anyone, therefore, presumes to disregard this decree of the holy and great Council, let him be excommunicated and expelled from the church.  This decree concerns the laity. But if any one of those who preside in the Church, whether he be bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall presume, after this decree, to exercise his own private judgment to the subversion of the people and to the disturbance of the churches, by observing the Pasch [at the same time] with the Jews, the holy Synod decrees that he shall thenceforth be an alien from the Church”. Interpretation. The same says the seventh canon of the Holy Apostles that a presbyter observing the Pasch with the Jews be deposed. The same orders this canon too. If any layman violates the lawful tradition about the Pasch and observes it with the Jews or by himself at another time let him be excommunicated and expelled from the Church. If a clergyman does the same, let him be deposed. He shall be utterly deprived of ministerial honour and rank. And also shall be deposed all clergymen who communicate with them after their deposition”.
The calendar reform in the Western Church was one of the consequences of the severance by the Roman Catholics of the historical and spiritual bond with the Ancient Church. Having put to doubt the faith and the traditions of the former holy fathers Rome fell away from the unity with them and, subsequently, from their faith, the Church, and God. The Devil put into the minds of the prideful heretics the thought of setting themselves above the Church’s Holy Tradition, making themselves the judges of the Church and, as usual, he found for it the justification seemingly “pious” in appearance– the reform of the Paschal Tables since the calendar was supposedly meant to correct the errors in them. But, as the Church calendar and the Paschal Tables were adopted by the Church at the First Ecumenical Council, the consequence of such seemingly righteous intention was the undermining of the belief in the sacredness and infallibility of the Ecumenical Councils which protected and adopted, apart from the Church calendar, the foundational dogmas of the Orthodox faith. The calendar reform in the most wily and cunning way was meant to plant in the Christians’ mind the idea of imperfection of the Church’s Tradition, not its divine but human origin, and, subsequently, it opened the path for a free uninhibited reform of the entire Tradition proceeding from personal vision of this or that reformer for the Church’s benefit. However, God in a wise and providential manner through His holy bishops protected His Church from such impudent encroachment on its design and giving of the law. The VII Ecumenical Council placed under anathema everyone who would try to either pervert or debase or abrogate any Orthodox Church Tradition: “Those who dare to think or teach otherwise or by the example of the worthless heretics despise the Church’s Traditions or devise any novelties or refuse anything which is devoted to the Church … and also (daring) with cunning and deceit to devise anything only to overturn any lawful traditions in the ecumenical Church … we decree that the such, be they bishops or the clergy, be deposed, if they are monks or laymen let them be excommunicated’.
Due to the decree of the VII Ecumenical Council one should remember the 87 and 91 canons of Saint Basil the Great in which the holy hierarch explains that maintenance of the Church Tradition and the ancient righteous customs inherited from the saints are as vital as maintaining the written religious dogma: “Of the dogmas and preaching kept safely in the Church, we have some from written doctrine, and some, from tradition handed down to us by the Apostles, we have received in mystery, both of which have the same validity and force as regards piety. Accordingly, no one gainsays these, at least no one that has any experience at all in ecclesiastical matters, for if we should undertake to discard the unwritten traditions of customs, on the score that they have no great force, we should unwittingly damage the Gospel in its vital parts, and should rather be left with preaching confined to the mere name” (canon 91). “The tradition kept by us with the power of the law as these decrees are handed over to us by the holy fathers(canon 87).
But the opponents of the Church calendar are stopped by neither corrections of the holy fathers nor the anathema of the Ecumenical Council. Wishing to plant doubt and shatter our strictness about the issue of the calendar the heretics threaten the Christians by the breakaway which, in their opinion, would, in comparatively remote future, lead to the increase of the difference between the Gregorian calendar and the Church calendar by one day. Now the difference is 13 days while in 2100 it will be 14 days, thus, Christ’s Christmas would be celebrated under the New Style Calendar not on 7 but 8 January and the Epiphany – not on 19 but 20. Consequently, our opponents argue, the hierarchy would face a difficult task in explaining to the people that if we would stay loyal to the Julian calendar such movement of dates would be unavoidable and, allegedly, this could provoke religious dissent. The lay and secular reasoning of our opponents evidently does not allow them to realize that the Church, living by the Julian calendar, has celebrated and celebrates Christ’s Nativity on December 25 and the Theophany on January 6 and nothing can impede it. Nonetheless, the amendment of the secular calendar has no relation to the life of the Church, thus, the increase in the difference in the calendars would in no case be the reason for dissent for Orthodox Christians. And it is perfectly well proved by the fact that the Church several times without any embarrassment underwent such a situation when at its very onset the Gregorian calendar was different from the Julian calendar by 10 days and during the past centuries this difference increased by 3 more days. Since this increase of the difference between the Church calendar and the Gregorian calendar caused no discord it is hardly possible that the difference in one more day would lead to Church disorder in the future.
Having presented the Church’s opinion about the Gregorian calendar we shall also say a few words about the so-called New Julian calendar which is also unacceptable to us.
The New Julian calendar was adopted in the family of the New Believer Churches by the decree of their Moscow Council in 1948 according to which all their Churches should celebrate the Pasch, just as it is celebrated by us, the Ancient-Orthodox Church, according to the Alexandrian Paschal Tables and the Julian calendar but for the fixed date feasts every New Believer Church may use the calendar used by such Church, also including the Gregorian calendar,. 13 out of 17 New Believer local Churches, except the Jerusalem, Russian, Georgian and Serbian Churches, use in their practice the New Julian calendar. Such effort to bypass the decrees of the Orthodox Church which adopted and baptized the Julian calendar is wily and harmful. On the one hand the advocates of the New Julian calendar may not be reproached for celebrating Christ’s Nativity at the same time or before the Judaic Passover, but on the other hand, celebration of fixed date feasts may unavoidably lead to and truly leads already to destruction of the Church’s canon concerning fasts. Thus, in the case of the too late Pasch the fast of St. Peter and St. Paul fully disappears as the feast of the Holy Apostles which due to the transfer to the New Style is celebrated 13 days earlier than in the Julian calendar. The fast of St. Peter and St. Paul or the Apostles’ fast was established by the Church in high antiquity. Such holy fathers as Athanasius the Great, Ambrose, bishop of Milan, Leo the Great, Theodoret of Cyrus and others testified to the necessity of observing this fast by the Christians. Thus, the advocates of the New Julian calendar by depriving the Christians of the Apostles’ fast in the same manner are the destroyers of the Church’s wellbeing and raters of the Holy Tradition as are the advocates of the Gregorian calendar. Subsequently, just as the absolute advocates of the Gregorian calendar they are also under by the curse of the VII Ecumenical Council placed upon all persons despising and violating the Church’s Tradition.
The defenders of the New Julian calendar try to justify it also by the fact that they dare to re-interpret the absolutely clear Church canons relating to the Calendar Issue. Thus, appealing to the decree of the Council of Eastern Patriarchs of 1583, they state that it has no formal absolute ban for reform of the Church calendar but only for its replacement by the Gregorian calendar. Thus, in their opinion, application of the canons of the 1583 Council to the advocates of the New Julian calendar is unfounded. However, such a statement of our opponents is untrue because the decree of the 1583 Council condemns and excommunicates anybody “who does not follow the Church Traditions and the decrees of the seven holy Ecumenical Councils about the Holy Pasch and the calendar which we are to lawfully follow”. It is known that the Holy Church in the person of the Ecumenical Councils adopted not merely some abstract calendar and Paschal Tables which anybody may reform proceeding from one’s own vision  of the Church’s benefit but the direct Alexandrian Paschal Tables and the Julian calendar. Thus, the canon of the 1583 Council condemns not only those who introduce the Gregorian calendar and the Paschal Tables in the life of the Church but also those who in any way encroach on the permanency of the Church Calendar and Paschal Tables.
As for all other astronomical and mathematical arguments of our opponents we are unwilling to put them to study at all. We are unwilling to try to understand the empty arguments of astronomers having no relation to the Church in dealing with the accuracy and supremacy of this or that calendar. Although, as it has already been said, Soviet science quite proved the indefensibility of the Gregorian reform and the erroneous nature of the new calendar compared to the old – Julian - one. We testify that we keep and uphold the Julian calendar not for the reason of its astronomic exactness but only for the reason that it is a part of the Church’s Holy Tradition. The Orthodox Christians have been offering their prayers to God for exactly 17 centuries according to the Julian calendar. Thus, the Julian calendar spiritually unifies all the generations of the Orthodox Christians both the living and the dead. By using the Julian calendar we  share in the unbroken continuity of prayer with the ancient holy fathers and men of faith of later times, making us aware of the timeless life of Christ’s Church.
Preserving the Church calendar preserves the Church’s internal life from encroachments of the external world alien to it. The secularized world wished to impose on the Christians its godless ideology. It tried to put into our minds the notion of the necessity of reforming the Church, its preaching, life, re-orientation of its purposes and objectives for the purposes of conditions and interests of this world. But the Christian should not be like this. We need to reform ourselves not the Church but we as individuals and our life must conform to what the Church requires because we save not the Church by our staying in it but we hope, by fulfilling God’s commandments and the Church canons, to gain in the Church our eternal salvation. The Church, as the Divine, Heavenly society has not and may not have any common objectives and tasks with the faithless or non-conformist world as we aspire to God, the Heavenly City, whereas the secular world seeks the implementation and satisfaction of its carnal interests and passions here, in this temporary and brief life. Hence, the Church calendar is a strong defence against the influence of the rational spiritless world of the external persons who do not believe in God. By conforming our life to the Church calendar we testify to all who are outside the Church that they are in fact  outside the Church, that they have nothing in common with the faithful neither in prayers, nor holy festivals, nor the promise of Our Lord.
No one in the Ancient Orthodox Church has ever attempted to implement a similar reform. To us the very thought of it nowadays seems utterly improbable. Nevertheless, the Gregorian calendar and the civil calendar adopted in our country on January 26, 1918 by the decree of the Council of the People’s Commissars have become part and parcel of the life of all our fellow citizens, including the faithful. Thus, it is impossible to exclude the possibility that in future somebody either due to simplicity or ignorance or intention might try to offer the Ancient Orthodox Church the suggestion of introducing such a calendar in its liturgical life. Possibly, due to the superficial study of our church canons and proceeding from the usualness of the Gregorian calendar in the civil life or for any other reason the lay authorities too might insist on the introduction of the new calendar in our internal liturgical life. For this very reason we thought it necessary to declare the Church’s position about the Calendar Issue, thereby, protecting from any encroachment the Holy Church Tradition of which the Julian calendar is a part without any doubt whatsoever.
Having said about the relation of the Church to the cancellation or any distortion of the Julian calendar in the internal liturgical life we also think it expedient to explain our attitude to the use of the Gregorian or any other calendar in the relations between the Church and the secular society. It has already been said that we carefully keep the Julian calendar not for its exactness or antiquity but only as the Church’s sacred heritage received by us from the holy fathers as a shield of the Church against the influence of any heresy and it is valuable to us only from this point of view. And only from this point of view we do not accept any other calendar for our liturgical practice. The Scripture teaches us that “what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law” (Romans 3:19), thus, we have neither the wish nor the right to expand our vision about the calendar to the life of the external world. And since the issue of the secular calendar has no immediate relation to the spiritual life and has no special value to us as such for it is said: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it” (Romans 14:5,6), thus, we neither see anything obnoxious in the fact that the Ancient Orthodox Christians use the calendar accepted in the country of their residence in their relations with the external world. Moreover, we believe it unacceptable for Christians to enter into disputes with the authorities about this issue, thus, causing without any justification the negative attitude of the external world to the entire Church. It is just one of those cases about which Christ the Saviour Himself said: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21). Thus, conforming ourselves in the secular matters to the calendar accepted in this or that country of our residence we “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's”. And invariably keeping and protecting the Julian calendar in the liturgical life we “render unto God the things that are God's”.
Using the above said as the foundation, we, bishops of the Ancient Orthodox Church, having joined together, profess and preach to all sons of the Church believing in Christ our oneness with the previous Councils and fathers and repeat after them the anathema against any person attempting to introduce  in the life of the Church any calendar or Paschal Tables different from those that we have inherited from the Nicaean fathers.
The city of Moscow
25 (12) December 2009
For the memory of our venerable and godly father
Spyridon the Wonderworker, Bishop of Trimithunt

ALEXANDER, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

PAVEL, the Archbishop of Tbilisi and all Georgia

ALEXANDER (RAZUVANOV), the priest and representative of His Eminence Joseph, the Bishop of Belorussia and the Ukraine

VASILIY, the Bishop of Poti
SERGIY, the Bishop of Siberia

MIKHAIL, the Bishop of Mtskheta
SAVIN, the Bishop of Lower Volga

GEORGIY (NOVIKOV),  the priest and representative of His Eminence Jacob, the Bishop of Sion and Western Europe

VASILIY, the Bishop of Upper Volga

[1] This papal bulla is thus named after the first two words in the text which may be translated as “Among the vital tasks…”