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The Old Calendar Orthodox Churches

A parallel Old Calendar movement sprang up in Romania after Patriarch Miron Cristea introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1924. Opposition centered around the abbot of Pokrov Skete in Moldavia, Hieromonk Glicherie. By 1936 he had built 40 churches, most of them in Moldavia. The Romanian government took strong measures against the movement so that by the eve of World War II, all the Old Calendar churches had been closed. But after the war Glicherie resumed his efforts and by 1950 nearly all these churches had been reopened.

The communists allowed the movement to continue, although they subjected it to periodic persecutions. In 1955 a retired Romanian Orthodox bishop, Metropolitan Galaction Cordun, joined the Old Calendarists and began ordaining priests for them. He also ordained three new bishops in 1956, including Glicherie, thus establishing a continuing hierarchy. Metropolitan Glicherie died in 1985 and was canonized by his church in June 1999. The community has not experienced the divisions that have troubled the Old Calendar Church in Greece.

Today the Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Romania declares 500,000 registered members, although the 2002 census found only 38,147 believers. In 2003 there were a total of six bishops, 160 priests, 26 deacons, 290 monks, 510 nuns and 130 parishes in the country. Alongside the seven monasteries they had at the end of communism in 1989, 42 new sketes and monastic communities have been founded. The first hierarch, Metropolitan Vlasie (elected 1992), resides at Holy Transfiguration Monastery at Slatioara, the spiritual and administrative center of the church. The church maintains an official website at http://www.mitropoliaslatioara.ro/

An Old Calendar Orthodox Church also exists in Bulgaria, where the Patriarchate adopted the new calendar in 1968. The Bulgarian Old Calendarists are headed by Bishop Photius of Triaditsa (born 1956, consecrated 1993), and have become a rather vibrant community after the fall of communism. In 2006 there were 20 priests, three deacons, 16 parishes, 20 churches and chapels, and six churches under construction. There was also a convent with 65 nuns and a monastery with four monks. The church’s administrative center is in Sofia.

The Old Calendar Orthodox churches of Romania and Bulgaria, along with Metropolitan Cyprian’s Holy Synod in Resistance were long in full communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. But this relationship ended with the establishment of full communion between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate in May 2007.


Last Modified: 13 Jul 2007


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