The Julian Calendar and The Orthodox Christmas
In the Julian calendar, Orthodox Christmas happens thirteen days later than other Christians.
The Julian Calendar was named after Julius Caesar because it was introduced in 45 B.C. during his reign. The previous Roman year had only been 355 days long with additional months of random length added in at random times based on the whims of leaders.
These inconsistencies and arbitrary decisions led to great confusion. The seasons would shift dates over the course of decades.
Astronomers across the ancient world had known for some time that it takes the Earth slightly longer than 365 days to circle the sun.
However, the year is slightly shorter than the calendar accounts, and the seasons began to shift again. In October 1582 Pope Gregory XIII introduced the calendar that most of the world uses today. The new calendar had an additional day every four years to account for this. The Egyptians already knew this before the practice was spread through Europe. The calendar jumped ahead ten days and it skips the last leap year once a century except those that are evenly divisible by 400 to account for the 365.2421 years.
The so-called Gregorian Calendar was quickly adopted in most Catholic countries but the religious strife of the Reformation slowed its adoption elsewhere. Not until 1923 did all European Countries use it for civil purposes. Many Orthodox Churches still use the Julian calendar for the dates of religious holidays. Today it is 13 days behind the Gregorian and therefore Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January, which is the day after western Churches celebrate the Epiphany.
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