On September 1, 2023, UGCC and OCU to transition to New Calendar
“In view of the numerous requests of the faithful and having held preliminary consultations with the clergy and monastics of our Church on the urgent need to reform the Liturgical Calendar of the UGCC in Ukraine, as well as taking into account the pastoral advice:
А. The UGCC in Ukraine will adopt the new style (beginning of the Indiction) of the year 2023 AD starting from September. This shift includes a new arrangement for fixed feasts while maintaining the existing date of Easter.
B. For those parishes or individual communities that do not feel ready for this step (with separate blessing from the eparchial bishop), the option to continue liturgical life according to the Julian calendar until the year 2025 AD is allowed," states the 5th resolution of the 93rd session of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in Ukraine, which took place on February 1-2, 2023, in Lviv-Brukhovychi.
On July 27, 2023, the Local Council of the OCU approved the Resolution of the Council of Bishops of May 24, 2023, "On the Settlement of the Calendar Issue in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine", and the changes made in this regard to the official Church Calendar of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The document specifically stipulates:
"1. To bless the parishes (religious communities) and monasteries belonging to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to use the New Julian calendar in their liturgical practice (while invariably preserving the traditional Paschal calendar).
2. The transition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to the New Julian calendar shall be carried out starting from September 1, 2023 (the beginning of the new church year).
3. In view of the pastoral expediency for religious communities and monasteries that wish to continue to adhere to the Julian ("traditional") calendar, it is logical to allow such parishes and monasteries belonging to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, by decision of their parish assemblies (spiritual councils of monasteries), to continue using the Julian calendar. The decision to do so must be supported by at least two-thirds of the members of the respective community and duly documented.
4. The Synodal Theological and Liturgical Commission, together with the Synodal Calendar Commission, taking into account the experience of other Orthodox Churches, to prepare proposals on certain difficult cases in liturgical practice that will arise when observing the traditional Pascha and the New Julian calendar for fixed feasts."
According to the decisions of each church, those communities or monasteries that are not yet ready for such a transition have the right to remain on the old calendar for some time.
The difference between the Julian calendar and the astronomical calendar is currently 13 days (in the nineteenth century, it was 12 days, in the twenty-first century, it will be 14 days). Accordingly, the calendar reform is aimed at eliminating this inaccuracy and aligning the church calendar with the astronomical calendar.
The Orthodox community of the village of Kryvorivnia in the Hutsul region was the first to announce the transition to the new calendar in December 2022.
The UGCC and the OCU prepared new printed church calendars for their flocks in advance.
The Church calendar per the new style (September-December 2023), which will be used in the UGCC, can be found on the website of the UGCC electronic library.
The faithful of the OCU can find all the dates of the holidays according to the new calendar in the mobile application "My Church" in the "Calendar" section. You can download the application at these links: Google Play: bit.ly/3lqX7YP App Store: apple.co/3hyL22F
Earlier, at the end of 2017, the Ukrainian Lutheran Church switched to the New Julian calendar, and on September 1, 2021, the Exarchate of the UGCC in Italy switched to the Gregorian calendar. In the summer of 2022, the WCC of the Baptist Church and the UCCE decided to switch to the new calendar style.
In response to the calendar reform of the UGCC and the OCU, the Verkhovna Rada amended the list of public holidays, and the President approved them. Therefore, at the state level, Christmas will be celebrated only on December 25. In addition, on October 1 (instead of October 14), the Day of Defenders and the Day of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be celebrated, and on July 15 (instead of July 28), the Day of Ukrainian Statehood will be celebrated.
Read more about the twists and turns of the calendar reform on the RISU website.
Also, RISU has launched the "Feasts of the Liturgical Year" project to help the faithful and clergy not only switch to a new style and not be confused with the dates but also to better understand the role of the calendar and holidays in the life of the Church. For it is not only about clarifying the date of the holiday but also about its essence, content, meaning, and historical context, and cleansing it from the "tales of life" and the slag of the "Russian world" that they, unfortunately, have become overgrown over the centuries of its influence.