Translator’s introductory note: As one can determine by a cursory survey of the pseudoscholarly entries in Internet sources concerning the condemnation of the Papal or Gregorian Calendar by the Orthodox Church, two camps have emerged in this debate: 1) those who believe that three separate Church synods have once and for all condemned and anathematized believers who accept the Gregorian (or New) Calendar;and 2) those who, accepting this ecumenical innovation and violation of Holy Tradition as valid, dismiss the Orthodox disapprobation of the New Calendar as a myth or as something based on forged documents.
The Acting President of the Holy Synod in Resistance, Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi, a wholly remarkable student of the Patristic witness, discusses these two views with scholarly skill and precision, exposing the misinterpretations that, on the one hand, have risen on account of certain documents condemning the New Calendar that are, in fact, unreliable and forgeries; and, on the other hand, rejecting, in presenting the genuine historical record, self-serving claims that the calendar innovation has never in actuality been officially condemned by the Orthodox Church.
This paper constitutes a study of singular importance in demonstrating that both those on the extreme right and left, with regard to this important subject, are wrong in their thinking and conclusions about the calendar innovation. Both base themselves on false presuppositions and poor knowledge and faulty assessments of the historical record.
The “Sigillion”* of 1583
Against “the Calendar Innovation of the Latins”:
Myth or Reality?
Константинопольского собора 1583г. Против календарной реформы латинян – миф или реальность?
Митрополита Киприана Оропосского,
Священного Синода противостоящих
A Study by Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi
of the Holy Synod in Resistance
A. The Threefold Synodal Repudiation of the New Calendar
B. The Tomoi of the Synodal Repudiations
C. The Athonite Transcriptions of Monk Iakovos
D. A Fruitless Conflict
а) Троекратное Соборное отвержение нового календаря
б) Соборные определения-томосы об отвержении
в) Афонские копии-переписанных текстов определений монаха Иакова
г) Бесполезный конфликт
д) Приложение: Текст соборного Сиггилиона 1583г, Томос патриарха Кирилла Лукариса 1616г.
May 13, 2011 (Old Style)
ñ Translator’s note: Throughout this document, we have used the standard English trans- literation of the Greek “σιγγιλιον,” which is alternatively spelled “σιγίλλιον” or “σιγίλιον.” This standard transliteration corresponds to the first alternative spelling, which better re- flects its etymology. The word is of Latin origin, derived from “sigillum,” or a “seal,” and was used in Byzantine times to refer to documents (especially ecclesiastical documents) bearing an official seal.
A. The Threefold Synodal Repudiation of the New Calendar
1. Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585) reformed the Church Calendar and introduced the eponymous “Gregorian Calendar” on October 5, 1582, which was thereby reckoned as October 15.
2. Subsequently, Pope Gregory besought Oecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II (Tranos) of Constantinople (1536-1595), by way of three special delegations, to accept the New Calendar.
3. Patriarch Jeremiah repudiated the “Latin Calendar” and repeatedly con- demned it, both through epistles and through Synodal decisions, in 1583,
1587, and 1593.
4.a. “In 1583, during the reign of Patriarch Jeremiah, a Synod of Metropolitans was convened in Constantinople, with Patriarch Sylvester of Alexandria also in attendance. This Synod condemned the innovation in the Calendar introduced by Gregory of Rome and refused to comply with the request of the Latins that they accept it.”
b. “Jeremiah convoked a Synod in Constantinople in 1583, in which Sylvester of Alexandria also took part. This Synod issued a Tomos against the Gregorian Calendar, thereby condemning the Papal innovation. Furthermore, when the opportunity presented itself, Meletios Pegas (1549-1601), in his capacity as Chancellor or Dean (Πϱωτοσύγϰελλος) of the Church of Alexandria and at the urging of Patriarch Sylvester, launched an attack on the Papal fiat by composing a special study, which he entitled “Another Tomos, the Alexandrian,” in order to distinguish it from the aforementioned Tomos of Constantinople.”2
c. “Therefore, the Eastern Fathers, having convened a Synod in Constantinople [in 1583], when the so-called correction of the date of Pascha devised by the Roman Church was first proclaimed, resolved to uphold the Tradition of the Fathers in every way possible. The illustrious former Patriarch of Alexandria, Sylvester, was in residence in Constantinople, having left me in charge of the Patriarchal Throne. After returning from there, he asked me to write something about this issue. I had previously sent word to Rome, proving that it was correct to celebrate Pascha according to the rule (Kανόνιον) of the Fathers and beseeching them not to increase the disagreements between the Churches. Since they had written back from Rome, maintaining that the they had not been injudicious in their deliberations concerning Pascha, and since the Elder [Patriarch Sylvester] had requested from me a written statement on this subject, I naturally obeyed and wrote the ‘Alexandrian Tomos,’ which was so named to distinguish it from the Synodal Tomos composed in Con- stantinople on the same subject.”
5. In “the year of salvation 1587...a second Synod was held in Constantinople, in the presence of the Œcumenical Patriarch Jeremiah, Meletios Pegas of Alexandria [representing Patriarch Sylvester], and Patriarch Sophronios [IV] of Jerusalem, and those present synodally rejected the correction of the date of Holy Pascha made by Pope Gregory XIII as parlous, unnecessary, and the cause of many scandals to all Christian nations.”4
6.a. “On February 12, 1593...a permanent [Holy and Great, ‘Plenary’] Sy- nod was convened [in Constantinople] in the Church of ‘Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, the Pammakaristos, also named Paramy- thias.’” Present at this Synod, apart from the Œcumenical Patriarch [Jeremiah II], were Patriarchs Meletios of Alexandria, who also represented Patriarch Joachim [VI] of Antioch, and Sophronios of Jerusalem, as well as “Hierarchs from every diocese of the Eastern Orthodox Church,” in order to confirm the Autocephaly of the Russian Church. The decisions of this Synod were pub- lished in a “Synodal Act,” which included “a rejection of the New Calendar, that is, the innovation of the Latins concerning Pascha.”
b. This Holy and Sacred Great Synod “subsequently promulgated Canons pertaining to Church order,” the eighth of which mentions the wish of the Hierarchs that “what was decided by the Holy Fathers regarding the Holy and salvific Pascha should remain unshaken”—“what was decided” being the First Canon of the Synod of Antioch (341), which the Synod of 1593 repeated ver- batim.6
c. Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem, in the Paralipomena of Book XI of the Δωδεϰάϐιϐλος (ch. 11, §18), repeats in summary form that the “Plenary” Synod in Constantinople in 1593 decided “that Pascha should occur as deter- mined by the First Synod and that the calendar concocted by the Latins should be anathematized.”
B. The Tomoi of the Synodal Repudiations
1. Tomoi, that is, Synodal documents by which serious ecclesiastical matters are resolved and in which the acts and decisions of a Synod are set forth, are not extant for the Holy Synods of 1583, 1587, and 1593. The only Tomos that survives is the aforementioned “Alexandrian Tomos Concerning the Paschalion,” which was composed, though in the manner of a refutation, by “His Beatitude, His All-Holiness, Pope Meletios of Alexandria, concerning Pascha.”
2. Nevertheless, the extant documents of the Synods of 1583 and 1593 can be regarded in a broad sense as Tomoi of these Synods: vis-à-vis the Synod of 1593, the “Synodal Act,” and vis-à-vis the Synod of 1583, the joint Epistle of Patriarchs Jeremiah II of Constantinople and Sylvester of Alexandria to the Armenians, dated November 20, 1583, since “this epistle was written in the wake of the Synod that was convened that year in Constantinople, which [Synod] condemned the Gregorian Calendar primarily because, according to the latter, it may happen that we will celebrate together with the Jews, contrary to the Synod of Nicæa.”
3. This theory, that the joint Epistle of Jeremiah and Sylvester to the Armenians can be regarded as the Tomos of the Synod of 1583, is corroborated by the fact that it is characterized as the publication of a “Synodal decision” and “as an official act of the Orthodox Catholic Church of the East,” and also by the fact that in other sources “it contains, in addition to the signatures of Jeremiah and Sylvester, those of Joachim of Antioch and Gabriel of Ohrid.”
C. The Athonite Transcriptions of Monk Iakovos
1. In 1858, an Athonite monk, Father Iakovos of New Skete, transcribed various documents, from among the aforementioned, concerning the repu- diation and condemnation of the Gregorian Calendar, which are to be found in Codex No. 258 of the library of Kavsokalyvia. It was from this codex that Codex No. 722 of the Monastery of St. Panteleimon was compiled.
12 Evlogios Kourilas Lavriotes, Kατάλογος τῶν Kωδίϰων τῆς Ἱεϱᾶς Σϰήτης τῶν
Kαυσοϰαλυϐίων ϰαὶ τῶν Kαλυϐῶν Aὐτῆς [Catalogue of the codices of the Holy Skete of
Kavsokalyvia and its Kalyvai] (n.p.: 1930), pp. 129-130, Codex 258: “A most sacred and
soul-profiting book containing...assembled from ancient manuscripts...and translated
into...simple diction...through the effort and zeal, and at the expense, of Monk Iakovos...in
the year 1858 on Mount Athos.”
Note: The codex herein cited as No. 722 of the Monastery of St. Panteleimon is
probably the source of the Russian translation entitled “Sigillion of the Local Synod of
Constantinople in 1583,” which was published in the official periodical of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad, Church News [Belgrade], Nos. 15-16 (1924), p. 18.
2. The original texts compiled by Father Iakovos and the items deriving from him in these codices constitute a patently arbitrary admixture of disparate documents of different dates, into which, moreover, alterations and ad- ditions have also been introduced, to the point that one wonders what ultimately was the intention of Father Iakovos, who doctored, distorted, and fal- sified them.
3. This truly deplorable farrago put together by Father Iakovos, which is fancifully characterized as a “Patriarchal and Synodal Sigillion” “accompanied by sanctions and anathemas,” has been used in self-serving ways since 1924, and has appeared in many versions, each worse than the other. The form of it that has finally prevailed bears a title unattested in the original texts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: “Sigillion of the Patriarchal formulation of an Encyclical to Orthodox Christians throughout the world not to accept the modernistic Paschalion or calendar of the innovated Menologion, but to abide by what was well formulated once and for all by the three hundred and eighteen (318) Holy God-bearing Fathers of the Holy First Ecumenical Synod, under pain of sanction and anathema.”
4. In the aforementioned Athonite codices the following three texts, which have no relation to each other and in which, as we have said, alterations and additions have been introduced, were mixed and spliced together:
a. the joint Epistle of Patriarchs Jeremiah and Sylvester to the Armenians, dated November 20, 1583;
b. the “Synodal Act” of 1593;
c. the Tomos of Cyril Loukaris (1570-1638), Patriarch of Alexandria, is- sued in Târgovite, Moldo-Wallachia, in 1616.
5. In the predominant version of the Sigillion there are five blatant alterations and additions arbitrarily imported by the compiler.
a. The title: a pure invention of the compiler.
b. The date: this document was allegedly composed on November 20,
1583, which is actually the date of the joint Epistle of Patriarchs Jeremiah and
Sylvester, whereas the text presented in the Sigillion was composed in 1616.
• Metropolitan Anthony (formerly) of Kiev, an eminent Hierarch and First Hierarch of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, “believed in the authenticity of that notorious forgery, the ‘Sigillion’ of Jeremiah, which was shown to him on the Holy Mountain” (Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens, Ἡ Διόϱθωσις τοῦ Ἰουλιανοῦ Ἡµεϱολογίου ἐν τῇ Ἐϰϰλησίᾳ τῆς Ἑλλάδος [The correction of the Julian Calendar in the Church of Greece] [Athens: 1933], p. 35).
c. The signatures: Patriarchs Jeremiah (†1595) and Sylvester (†1590) were no longer alive in 1616, and Patriarch Sophronios had already abdicated by
d. The text: it belongs to Loukaris (1616) and not to the Synod of 1583, and its content is not only entirely unrelated to the calendar question, but is also appallingly garbled.
e. The anathema: whereas in Loukaris’ text, there are six anathemas, pertaining to Roman Catholic teachings, the compiler has added to the Sigillion a seventh anathema concerning all who follow the “newly invented Paschalion and the New Menologion of the atheist astronomers of the Pope [sic].
6. The argument that the content of the two aforementioned Athonite codices is—supposedly—confirmed by a manuscript codex from Sinai, from which the Sigillion was published in Romania by Archimandrite Porfiry Ous- pensky, who visited Sinai in 1850, is without foundation, since, on the basis of our Romanian sources, it is evident that Father Porfiry published in translation only the “Alexandrian Tomos” of Meletios Pegas and his epistle to Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich of Russia, dated September 12, 1594.
 Metropolitan Meletios of Athens, Ἐϰϰλησιαστιϰὴ Ἱστοϱία [Church history], §9 (Vienna: 1784), Vol. III, p. 402; Athanasios Comnenos Hypselantes, Tὰ Mετὰ τὴν Ἅλωσιν [The aftermath of the fall of Constantinople] (Constantinople: 1870), pp. 111-112.
 Archimandrite Christodoulos Paraskevaïdes, Mελέτιος ὁ Πηγᾶς [Meletios Pegas] (Athens: 1971), p. 88.
 Meletios Pegas, “Epistle XXIII,” Ἐϰϰλησιαστιϰὸς Φάϱος, Vol. LIII, No. 4 (1971), p.611.
 Hypselantes, Tὰ Mετὰ τὴν Ἅλωσιν, p. 113; Dositheos of Jerusalem, Δωδεϰάϐιϐλος (Bucharest: 1715), p. 1169.
 Paraskevaïdes, Mελέτιος ὁ Πηγᾶς, pp. 113ff.; Dositheos of Jerusalem, Tόµος Ἀγάπης ϰατὰ Λατίνων [Tome of love against the Latins] ([Iai]: 1698), pp. 541-547. Tόµος Ἀγάπης ϰατὰ Λατίνων [Tome of love against the Latins] ([Iai]: 1698), pp. 541-547.
 Paraskevaïdes, Mελέτιος ὁ Πηγᾶς, pp. 113ff.
 Δωδεϰάϐιϐλος (Thessalonike: Ekdoseis Bas. Regopoulou, 1983), Vol. VI, p. 232.
 Émile Legrand (ed.), Lettres de Mélétius Pigas [Letters of Meletios Pegas] (Bibliothèque Grecque Vulgaire, Vol. IX; Paris: J. Maisonneuve, 1902), pp. 138-155; there also exist two more recent editions, published in Greece in 1924 and 1984.
 See, above, Part A, §6a.
 Metropolitan Philaret Bapheides of Didymoteichon, Ἐϰϰλησιαστιϰὴ Ἱστοϱία [Church
history] (Constantinople: 1912), Vol. III, Pt. 1, p. 125; for the joint Epistle, see Tόµος Ἀγάπης, pp. 538-540.
 Archimandrite Germanos Karavangeles, Ἐπιστηµονιϰὴ διατϱιϐὴ πεϱὶ τῆς ἑοϱτῆς τοῦ Πάσχα [Scientific dissertation on the Feast of Pascha] (Constantinople: 1894), p. 121; Archimandrite Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, “Tὸ Γϱηγοϱιανὸν ἡµεϱολόγιον ἐν τῇ Ἀνατολῇ, µέϱος B´ “[The Gregorian Calendar in the East: Part II], Ἐϰϰλησιαστιϰὸς
Kήϱυξ, No. 147 (April 14, 1918), pp. 172, 173, and n.1.
 Evlogios Kourilas Lavriotes, Kατάλογος τῶν Kωδίϰων τῆς Ἱεϱᾶς Σϰήτης τῶν Kαυσοϰαλυϐίων ϰαὶ τῶν Kαλυϐῶν Aὐτῆς [Catalogue of the codices of the Holy Skete of Kavsokalyvia and its Kalyvai] (n.p.: 1930), pp. 129-130, Codex 258: “A most sacred and soul-profiting book containing...assembled from ancient manuscripts...and translated into...simple diction...through the effort and zeal, and at the expense, of Monk Iakovos...in the year 1858 on Mount Athos.” Note: The codex herein cited as No. 722 of the Monastery of St. Panteleimon is probably the source of the Russian translation entitled “Sigillion of the Local Synod of Constantinople in 1583,” which was published in the official periodical of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Church News [Belgrade], Nos. 15-16 (1924), p. 18.
 Evlogios Kourilas Lavriotes, Kατάλογος, p. 130, Codex 258: “And the proceedings of the Synod [of 1593], in particular, have been published in an extremely distorted form by fanatical zealots.” [!]
 For the full text, see Gregorios Evstratiades, Ἡ πϱαγµατιϰὴ ἀλήθεια πεϱὶ τοῦ Ἐϰϰλησιαστιϰοῦ Ἡµεϱολογίου [The real truth about the Church Calendar] (Athens: 1929),
 See, above, Part B, §2.
 See, above, Part A, §6a.
 Tόµος Ἀγάπης, pp. 552-554.
 It is noteworthy that the seventh anathema of the Sigillion is also missing from the text of the Latins who attempted to refute the Tomos of Loukaris. See Ἀποδοϰιµασία ϰαὶ Kατάϰϱισις...ϰαὶ ἡ τῶν Ἀναθεµατισµῶν παϱ᾿ αὐτοῦ δὴ τοῦ Kυϱίλλου [Λουϰάϱεως] πάλαι ἐϰφωνηθέντων [Disproof and condemnation...and repudiation of the anathemas pronounced long ago by Cyril (Loukaris)] (Rome: 1671)
 See Evstratiades, Ἡ πϱαγµατιϰὴ ἀλήθεια, pp. 208-209; Bishop Melchizedek, “The Orthodox Church and the Calendar” [in Romanian], Romanian Orthodox Church, Vol. V (1880-1881), pp. 561-604; Meletios Pegas, “Epistle XXIII,” Ἐϰϰλησιαστιϰὸς, Φάϱος, Vol.