Orthodox people tend to want to stick to what they’ve learned from their parents. This is usually a good thing, as we learn from experience, observation, and repetition. Orthodoxy is not just a set of theoretical beliefs, but also a way of life. How we make the sign of the Cross, how we keep the fasts, and what songs we sing around holidays, are all examples of things we learn in the home.
Some people of Greek descent are aware of the Old Calendar Church, but are hesitant to attend because they think it is not the Church that their parents attended. But if our parents (or grandparents) were born before 1924, they were actually born in the Old Calendar Church. In 1924, the bishops of the Church of Greece abandoned the Old Calendar, and the priests who depended on the Church for their salaries mostly followed. Many faithful, in some areas 25 percent, rejected this change, however, because the change in calendars had already been rejected by three councils in the 16th century, the bishops at that time foreseeing that allowing just one major change would open the door to many others. After the events of 1924, several bishops and priests eventually returned to the Old Calendar Church, after they realized their mistake. The Old Calendar Church continues today, and now even has a parish here in Greenville!
The fact is, then, that it is not the Old Calendar Church of Greece that is “different” than the Church of our fathers. It is the New Calendar Church which has broken from the Orthodox Church as it existed in Greece before 1924. Why our parents or grandparents went along with the change is in many cases because they were forced, or did not understand the issue. But their fathers were on the Old Calendar, and so if we really want to belong to the Church of our ancestors, beyond just what our parents did, we should return to the Old Calendar. We are free to undo the change that was forced upon Greece in 1924, and this will have immense spiritual benefits in our lives as we return to a more traditional way of practicing the Orthodox faith.
One thing is certain, however; if you don’t visit the Church, you will never be able to see for yourself who we are, and how we put these ideas into practice. You have nothing to lose from a visit, so we look forward to seeing you at our next Divine Liturgy!