The Byzantine calendar, also called "Creation Era of Constantinople" or "Era of the World" (Ancient Greek: Ἔτη Γενέσεως Κόσμου κατὰ Ῥωμαίους, also Ἔτος Κτίσεως Κόσμου or Ἔτος Κόσμου, abbreviated as ε.Κ., literal translation of ancient Greek "Roman year since creation of universe"), was the calendar used by the Eastern Orthodox Church from c. 691 to 1728 in the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was also the official calendar of the Byzantine Empire[note 1] from 988 to 1453, and of Kievan Rus' and Russia from c. 988 to 1700. Since "Byzantine" is a historiographical term, the original name uses the noun "Roman" as it was how the Eastern Roman Empire continued calling itself.
The calendar was based on the Julian calendar, except that the year started on 1 September and the year number used an Anno Mundiepoch derived from the Septuagint version of the Bible. It placed the date of creation at 5509 years before the Incarnation, and was characterized by a certain tendency which had already been a tradition among Jews and early Christians to number the years from the calculated foundation of the world (Latin: Annus Mundi or Ab Origine Mundi— "AM").[note 2] Its Year One, marking the supposed date of creation, was September 1, 5509 BC, to August 31, 5508 BC.
It is not known who invented the World era and when. Nevertheless, the first appearance of the term is in the treatise of a certain "monk and priest", Georgios (AD 638–39), who mentions all the main variants of the "World Era" in his work. Georgios argues that the main advantage of the World era is the common starting point of the astronomical lunar and solar cycles, and of the cycle of indictions, the usual dating system in Byzantium since the 6th century. He also already regards it as the most convenient for the Eastercomputus. Complex calculations of the 19-year lunar and 28-year solar cycles within this world era allowed scholars to discover the cosmic significance of certain historical dates, such as the birth or the crucifixion of Jesus.
This date underwent minor revisions before being finalized in the mid-7th century, although its precursors were developed c. AD 412 (see Alexandrian Era). By the second half of the 7th century, the Creation Era was known in Western Europe, at least in Great Britain.[note 3] By the late 10th century around AD 988, when the era appears in use on official government records, a unified system was widely recognized across the Eastern Roman world.
The era was ultimately calculated as starting on September 1, and Jesus was thought to have been born in the year 5509 since the creation of the world. Historical time was thus calculated from the creation, and not from Christ's birth, as in the west after the Anno Domini system was adopted between 6th and 9th centuries. The Eastern Church avoided the use of the Anno Domini system of Dionysius Exiguus, since the date of Christ's birth was debated in Constantinople as late as the 14th century. Otherwise the Byzantine calendar was identical to the Julian Calendar except that:
the names of the months were transcribed from Latin into Greek;
its era was based on the year of creation, reckoned September 1, 5509 BC, to August 31, 5508 BC, rather than the foundation of Rome; years were also reckoned by their place in the indiction and not by the years' consuls.
The leap day of the Byzantine calendar was obtained in an identical manner to the bissextile day of the original Roman version of the Julian calendar, by doubling the sixth day before the calends of March, i.e., by doubling 24 February.
The Byzantine World Era was gradually replaced in the Orthodox Church by the Christian Era, which was utilized initially by Patriarch Theophanes I Karykes in 1597, afterwards by Patriarch Cyril Lucaris in 1626, and then formally established by the Church in 1728. Meanwhile, as Russia received Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium, she inherited the Orthodox Calendar based on the Byzantine Era (translated into Slavonic). After the collapse of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the era continued to be used by Russia, which witnessed millennialist movements in Moscow in AD 1492 (7000 AM). It was only in AD 1700 that the Byzantine World Era in Russia was changed to the Julian Calendar by Peter the Great. It still forms the basis of traditional Orthodox calendars up to today. September AD 2000 began the year 7509 AM.[note 7]
Earliest Christian sources on the age of the world
The earliest extant Christian writings on the age of the world according to the Biblical chronology are by Theophilus (AD 115–181), the sixth bishop of Antioch from the Apostles, in his apologetic work To Autolycus, and by Julius Africanus (AD 200–245) in his Five Books of Chronology. Both of these early Christian writers, following the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, determined the age of the world to have been about 5,530 years at the birth of Christ.
Ben Zion Wacholder points out that the writings of the Church Fathers on this subject are of vital significance (even though he disagrees with their chronological system based on the authenticity of the Septuagint, as compared to that of the Masoretic Text), in that through the Christian chronographers a window to the earlier Hellenistic biblical chronographers[note 8] is preserved:
The Alexandrian Era (Greek: Κόσμου ἔτη κατ’ Ἀλεξανδρεῖς, Kósmou étē kat'Alexandreîs) developed in AD 412, was the precursor to the Byzantine Era. After the initial attempts by Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria and others[note 9], the Alexandrian computation of the date of creation was worked out to be 25 March 5493 BC.
The Alexandrine monk Panodorus reckoned 5904 years from Adam to the year AD 412. His years began with August 29, corresponding to the First of Thoth, the Egyptian new year.Annianos of Alexandria however, preferred the Annunciation style as New Year's Day, 25 March, and shifted the Panodorus era by about six months, to begin on 25 March. This created the Alexandrian Era, whose first day was the first day of the proleptic[note 10] Alexandrian civil year in progress, 29 August 5493 BC, with the ecclesiastical year beginning on 25 March 5493 BC.
This system presents in a masterly sort of way the mystical coincidence of the three main dates of the world's history: the beginning of Creation, the Incarnation, and the Resurrection of Christ. All these events happened, according to the Alexandrian chronology, on 25 March; furthermore, the first two events were separated by the period of exactly 5500 years; the first and the third one occurred on Sunday — the sacred day of the beginning of the Creation and its renovation through Christ
Dionysius of Alexandria had earlier emphatically quoted mystical justifications for the choice of March 25 as the start of the year:
March 25 was considered to be the anniversary of Creation itself. It was the first day of the year in the medieval Julian calendar and the nominal vernal equinox (it had been the actual equinox at the time when the Julian calendar was originally designed). Considering that Christ was conceived at that date turned March 25 into the Feast of the Annunciation which had to be followed, nine months later, by the celebration of the birth of Christ, Christmas, on December 25.
A new variant of the World Era was suggested in the Chronicon Paschale, a valuable Byzantine universal chronicle of the world, composed about the year 630 AD by some representative of the Antiochian scholarly tradition. It had for its basis a chronological list of events extending from the creation of Adam to the year AD 627. The chronology of the writer is based on the figures of the Bible and begins with 21 March, 5507.
For its influence on Greek Christian chronology, and also because of its wide scope, the "Chronicon Paschale" takes its place beside Eusebius, and the chronicle of the monk Georgius Syncellus which was so important in the Middle Ages; but in respect of form it is inferior to these works.
By the late 10th century, the Byzantine Era, which had become fixed at September 1 5509 BC since at least the mid-7th century (differing by 16 years from the Alexandrian date, and 2 years from the Chronicon Paschale), had become the widely accepted calendar of choice par excellence for Chalcedonian Orthodoxy.
"Let us omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race...They are deceived by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousands of years, though reckoning by the sacred writings we find that not 6,000 years have passed. (City of God 12:10).
Augustine goes on to say that the ancient Greek chronology "does not exceed the true account of the duration of the world as it is given in our documents (i.e. the Scriptures), which are truly sacred."
St. Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170–235) maintained on Scriptural grounds that Jesus's birth took place in 5500 AM, and held that the birth of Christ took place on a passover day, deducing that its month-date was 25 March (see Alexandrian Era). He gave the following intervals:
"...from Adam to the flood 2242 years, thence to Abraham 1141 years, thence to the Exodus 430 years, thence to the passover of Joshua 41 years, thence to the passover of Hezekiah 864 years, thence to the passover of Josiah 114 years, thence to the passover of Ezra 107 years, and thence to the birth of Christ 563 years."
In his Commentary on Daniel, one of his earlier writings, he proceeds to set out additional reasons for accepting the date of 5500 AM:
"First he quotes Exod. xxv. 10f. and pointing out that the length, breadth and height of the ark of the covenant amount in all to 5½ cubits, says that these symbolize the 5,500 years from Adam at the end of which the Saviour was born. He then quotes from Jn. xix. 14 ' it was about the sixth hour ' and, understanding by that 5½ hours, takes each hour to correspond to a thousand years of the world's life..."
Around AD 202 Hippolytus held that Jesus was born in the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus[note 12] and that he was born in 5500AM. In his Commentary on Daniel he did not need to establish the precise year of Jesus's birth; he is not concerned about the day of the week, the month-date, or even the year; it was sufficient for his purpose to show that Christ was born in the days of Augustus in 5500 AM.
Accounts in Byzantine authors
From Justinian's decree in AD 537 that all dates must include the Indiction, the unification of the theological date of creation (as yet unfinalized) with the administrative system of Indiction cycles became commonly referred to amongst Byzantine authors, to whom the indiction was the standard measurement of time.
"... as of the fifteenth day of the month of January last past, in the last fourth Indiction, in the year six thousand one hundred and ninety"
We find the era also in the dating of the so-called Letter of three Patriarchs to the emperor Theophilos (April, indiction 14, 6344 = 836 AD).
By the 10th century the Byzantine Era is found in the Novellas of AD 947, 962, 964, and most surely of the year AD 988, all dated in this way, as well as the Act of Patriarch Nicholaos II Chrysobergos in AD 987.
John Skylitzes' (c. 1081–1118) major work is the Synopsis of Histories, which covers the reigns of the Byzantine emperors from the death of Nicephorus I in 811 to the deposition of Michael IV in 1057; it continues the chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor. Quoting from him as an example of the common Byzantine dating method, he refers to emperor Basil, writing that:
"In the year 6508 , in the thirteenth indiction, the emperor sent a great force against the Bulgarian fortified positions (kastra) on the far side of the Balkan (Haimos) mountains,..."
Niketas Choniates (c. 1155–1215), sometimes called Acominatus, was a Byzantine Greek historian. His chief work is his History, in twenty-one books, of the period from 1118 to 1207. Again, an example of the dating method can be seen as he refers to the fall of Constantinople to the fourth crusade as follows:
The historian Doukas, writing c. AD 1460, makes a detailed account for the Creation Era. Although unrefined in style, the history of Doukas is both judicious and trustworthy, and it is the most valuable source for the closing years of the Byzantine empire.
"From Adam, the first man created by God, to Noah, at whose time the flood took place, there were ten generations. The first, which was from God, was that of Adam. The second, after 230 years, was that of Seth begotten of Adam. The third, 205 years after Seth, was that of Enos begotten of Seth. The fourth, 190 years after Enos, was that of Kainan begotten of Enos. The fifth, 170 years after Kainan, was that of Mahaleel begotten of Kainan. The sixth, 165 years after Mahaleel, was that of Jared begotten of Mahaleel. The seventh, 162 years after Jared, was that of Enoch begotten of Jared. The eighth, 165 years after Enoch, was that of Methuselah begotten of Enoch. The ninth, 167 years after Methuselah, was that of Lamech begotten of Methuselah. The tenth, 188 years after Lamech, was that of Noah. Noah was 600 years old when the flood of water came upon the earth. Thus 2242 years may be counted from Adam to the flood.
There are also ten generations from the flood to Abraham numbering 1121 years. Abraham was seventy-five years old when he moved to the land of Canaan from Mesopotamia, and having resided there twenty-five years he begat Isaac. Isaac begat two sons, Esau and Jacob. When Jacob was 130 years old he went to Egypt with his twelve sons and grandchildren, seventy-five in number. And Abraham with his offspring dwelt in the land of Canaan 433 years, and having multiplied they numbered twelve tribes; a multitude of 600,000 were reckoned from the twelve sons of Jacob whose names are as follows: Ruben, Symeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin.
The descendants of Levi were Moses and Aaron; the latter was the first of the priesthood while Moses was appointed to govern. In the eightieth year of his life he walked through the Red Sea and led his people out of Egypt. This Moses flourished in the time of Inachos [son of Oceanus and King of Argos] who was the first [Greek] king to reign. Thus the Jews are more ancient than the Greeks.
Remaining in the wilderness forty years they were governed for twenty-five years by Joshua, son of Nun, and by the Judges for 454 years to the reign of Saul, the first king installed by them. During the first year of his reign the great David was born. Thus from Abraham to David fourteen generations are numbered for a total of 1024 years. From David to the deportation to Babylon [586 BC] there are fourteen generations totalling 609 years. From the Babylonian Captivity to Christ there are fourteen generations totalling 504 years.
By the sequence of Numbers we calculate the number of 5,500 years from the time of the first Adam to Christ.".
Literal creation days
Even the most mystical Fathers such as St. Isaac the Syrian accepted without question the common understanding of the Church that the world was created "more or less" in 5,500 BC. As Fr. Seraphim Rose points out:
"The Holy Fathers (probably unanimously) certainly have no doubt that the chronology of the Old Testament, from Adam onwards, is to be accepted "literally." They did not have the fundamentalist's over-concern for chronological precision, but even the most mystical Fathers (St. Isaac the Syrian, St. Gregory Palamas, etc.) were quite certain that Adam lived literally some 900 years, that there were some 5,500 years ("more or less") between the creation and the Birth of Christ."
The Church Fathers also consistently affirm that each species of the animate creation came into existence instantaneously, at the command of God, with its seed within itself.Basil the Great for example takes this literal view in the Hexæmeron, a work consisting of nine homilies delivered by St. Basil on the cosmogony of the opening chapters of Genesis, providing one of the most detailed expositions of the six days of creation to come down to us from the early church. Basil writes in Homily I that:
"Thus then, if it is said, "In the beginning God created," it is to teach us that at the will of God the world arose in less than an instant,..."
"For all things, as the Prophet says, were made out of nothing; it was no transformation of existing things, but the creation of the non-being into a perfect form".
The prophet cited by St.Hilary was the mother of the Maccabean martyrs, who said to one of her tortured sons, "I beseech you, my child, to look at heaven and earth and see everything in them, and know that God made them out of nothing; so also He made the race of man in this way" (2 Maccabees 7:28). This text from 2 Maccabees was the standard biblical proof text for the Christian Church in respect to creation from nothingness. We find the thesis in late Judaism, from which it passed into the Christian faith as an essential teaching.
Hours of the liturgical day
In the Byzantine period the day was divided into two 12-hour cycles fixed by the rising and setting of the sun.
"Following Roman custom, the Byzantines began their calendrical day (nychthemeron) at midnight with the first hour of day (hemera) coming at dawn. The third hour marked midmorning, the sixth hour noon, and the ninth hour midafternoon. Evening (hespera) began at the 11th hour, and with sunset came the first hour of night (apodeipnon). The interval between sunset and sunrise (nyx) was similarly divided into 12 hours as well as the traditional "watches" (vigiliae) of Roman times."
Days of the liturgical week
Marcus Rautman points out that the seven-day week was known throughout the ancient world. The Roman Calendar had assigned one of the planetary deities to each day of the week. The Byzantines naturally avoided using these Latin names with their pagan echoes. They began their week with the "Lord's Day" (Kyriake), followed by an orderly succession of numbered days: Deutera ("2nd"), Trite ("3rd"), Tetarte ("4th"), and Pempte ("5th"), a day of "preparation" (Paraskeve), and finally Sabatton.
Each day was devoted to remembering one event of the life of Christ or the Theotokos or several martyrs or saints, whose observed feast days gradually eclipsed traditional festivals. Kyriake was seen as the day of resurrection of Christ and as both the first and eighth day of the week, in the same way that Christ was the alpha and omega of the cosmos, existing both before and after time. The second day of the week recognized angels, "the secondary luminaries as the first reflections of the primal outpouring of light", just as the sun and the moon had been observed during the Roman week. John the Baptist, the forerunner (Prodromos) of Christ, was honored on the third day. Both the second and third days were viewed as occasions for penitence. The fourth and sixth days were dedicated to the Cross. The fourth day to the Theotokos and her mourning of the loss of her son and the sixth day (the Paraskeue) as the day of the Crucifixion of the Lord, with holy songs sung and fasting in remembrance of these events. St. Nicholas was honored on the fifth day of the week, while the Sabatton day was set aside for the saints and all the deceased faithful. This order is still in use in the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches.
A special arrangement of the way in which the hymns were sung was set for each day of the eight-week cycle, the "Octoechos (liturgy)". This cycle begins on the first Sunday after Easter ("Thomas-Sunday") and contains the texts whose content represents the meaning of the days of the week. The hymns sung on these eight weeks were performed with the use of eight different modes also called Octoechoi.
Regarding questions about the scientific accuracy of the Genesis account of creation, and about various viewpoints concerning evolution, the Orthodox Church has not dogmatized any particular view. What is dogmatically proclaimed is that the One Triune God created everything that exists, and that man was created in a unique way and is alone made in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:26,27).
The opening words of the Nicene Creed, the central doctrinal statement of Christianity, affirms that the One True God is the source of everything that exists, both physical and spiritual, both animate and inanimate: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible." In addition, our regeneration in Christ and the resurrection of the dead are both often called the "New Creation" (2 Cor 5:17; Rev 21:1).
According to Fr. Stanley Harakas, the Bible's description of creation is not a "scientific account". It is not read for scientific knowledge but for spiritual truth and divine revelation. The physical-scientific side of the origins of mankind, though important, is really quite secondary in significance to the Church's message. The central image of Adam as God's image and likeness, who also represents fallen and sinful humanity, and the new Adam, Jesus Christ, who is the "beginning", the first-born of the dead (Colossians 1:18) and the "first-fruits" of those who were dead, and are now alive (1 Corinthians 15:20–23), is what is really important.
Professor Fr. Arsenius John Baptist Vuibert (S.S.), a 19th-century historian, observed that Biblical Chronologies are uncertain due to discrepancies in the figures in Genesis and other methodological factors, accounting for hundreds of different chronologies being assigned by historians. In the case of the Fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, who assigned 5509 BC. as the date of the creation of man, he writes that it was in response to the emperor's wishes to fix an era or convenient starting point for historical computation. Therefore, it was a decision of mere historical convenience, not respecting either faith or morals, which are what is truly of intrinsic value in the Scriptures. Having made this disclaimer, he settles on the Benedictine Chronology of 4963 BC for the purposes of his history.
According to the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, regarding the so-called Era of the Creation of the World, Alphonse Des Vignoles asserted in the preface to his Chronologie de l’Histoire Sainte (Chronology of Sacred History, Berlin 1738), that he collected upwards of two-hundred different calculations, the shortest of which reckons only 3483 years between the creation of the world and the commencement of the vulgar era and the longest 6984. The so-called era of the creation of the world is therefore a purely conventional and arbitrary epoch, for which the very nature of the case discussion is hopeless labour.
It may also be noted historically that while Byzantine officials and chroniclers were disconcerted by the ambiguities among the different dating and recording systems in the earlier centuries, these mattered little to most people who marked time by the orderly progression of agricultural seasons and church festivals, and by the regularity of holidays, weather cycles, and years that revealed the Divine order (Taxis) underlying the world.
As the Greek and Roman methods of computing time were connected with certain pagan rites and observances, Christians began at an early period to adopt the Hebrew practice of reckoning their years from the supposed period of the creation of the world.
Currently the two dominant dates for creation that exist using the Biblical model, are about 5500 BC and about 4000 BC. These are calculated from the genealogies in two versions of the Bible, with most of the difference arising from two versions of Genesis. The older dates of the Church Fathers in the Byzantine Era and in its precursor, the Alexandrian Era, are based on the Greek Septuagint. The later dates of Archbishop James Ussher and the Hebrew Calendar are based on the Hebrew Masoretic text.
The Fathers were well aware of the discrepancy of some hundreds of years between the Greek and Hebrew Old Testament chronology,[note 16] and it did not bother them; they did not quibble over years or worry that the standard calendar was precise "to the very year"; it is sufficient that what is involved is beyond any doubt a matter of some few thousands of years, involving the lifetimes of specific men, and it can in no way be interpreted as millions of years or whole ages and races of men.
To this day, traditional Orthodox Christians will use the Byzantine calculation of the World Era in conjunction with the Anno Domini (AD) year. Both dates appear on Orthodox cornerstones, ecclesiastical calendars and formal documents. The ecclesiastical new year is still observed on September 1 (or on the Gregorian Calendar's September 14 for those churches which follow the Julian Calendar). September 2018 marked the beginning of the year 7527 of this era.
5984 AM (AD 476) – Final collapse of the West Roman Empire
6045 AM (AD 537) – Justinian I decrees that the indiction must be included when designating a Byzantine year.
6118 AM (AD 610) – After Greek became dominant also in the government at around AD 600, as it had been for many common subjects, the Eastern Roman Empire changed its official language from Latin to Greek. More than 100 years after the Fall of Constantinople (AD 1453), a German historian introduced the name "Byzantine empire" and "Byzantium" for the Greek period of the Eastern Roman Empire; this name finally became dominant among historians and cartographers. One conventional date for the start of the Byzantine period is this date of 600 AD.
6961 AM (AD 1453) – Fall of Constantinople leading to the final collapse of the Byzantine Empire. The civilization of Rome in its most inclusive sense, including both Ancient Rome and New Rome (Constantinople), lasted a total of 2,206 years.
7000 AM (AD 1492) – Millennialist movements in Moscow due to the 7000th year of the church calendar.
Coptic calendar (Note that the "Alexandrian Era" (March 25, 5493 BC), is totally distinct from the Coptic "Alexandrian Calendar", which is derived from the ancient Egyptian calendar and based on another era, the Era of the Martyrs (August 29, 284))
^i.e. Eastern Roman Empire. The term Byzantine was invented by the German historian Hieronymus Wolf in 1557 but was popularized by French scholars during the 18th century to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire. The citizens of the empire considered themselves Romaioi ("Romans"), their emperor was the "Roman Emperor", and their empire the Basileia ton Romaion ("Empire of the Romans"). The Latin West designated the empire as "Romania", and the Muslims as "Rum".
^Significantly, this same phrase – "from the foundation of the world", or "since the dawn of time", (Greek: από καταβολής κόσμου, Apo Kataboles Kosmou) – occurs repeatedly in the New Testament, in Matthew 25:34, Luke 11:50, Hebrews 4:3, 9:26, and Revelation 13:8, 17:8. Anno Mundi eras many reflect a desire to use a convenient starting point for historical computation based on the Scriptures.
^About the year 462 the Byzantine Indiction was moved from September 23 to September 1, where it remained throughout the rest of the Byzantine Empire, representing the present day beginning of the Church year. In 537 Justinian decreed that all dates must include the indiction, so it was officially adopted as one way to identify a Byzantine year, becoming compulsory.
^This differed from the status of the Greeks who lived in the Western Empire, who generally employed Roman-style dating even in their mother tongue.
^On the occasions when the Byzantines did employ the Roman method of dating, they were in fact liable to misunderstand it and consider the "3rd of the kalends" to refer to the third day of the month rather than the day before the end of the prior month.
^To convert our era to the Byzantine era, add 5509 years from September to December, and 5508 years from January to August.
^Eratosthenes of Cyrene (275-194 BC) represented contemporary Alexandrian scholarship; Eupolemus, a Palestinian Jew and a friend of Judah Maccabee, writing in 158 BC, is said to have been the first historian who synchronized Greek history in accordance with the theory of the Mosaic origin of culture. By the time of the 1st century BC, a world chronicle had synchronized Jewish and Greek history and had gained international circulation: Alexander Polyhistor (flourishing in 85-35 BC); Varro (116-27 BC); Ptolemy priest of Mendes (50 BC), who is cited by Tatian (Oratio ad Graecos, 38); Apion (1st century AD); Thrasyllus (before AD 36); and Thallus (1st century AD) – all cited chronicles which had incorporated the dates of the Noachite flood and the exodus. (Ben Zion Wacholder. "Biblical Chronology in the Hellenistic World Chronicles". in The Harvard Theological Review, Vol.61, No.3 (July 1968), pp.451–452.)
^The "Era of Antioch" (5492 BC) and "Era of Alexandria" (5502 BC) were originally two different formations, differing by 10 years. They were both much in use by the early Christian writers attached to the Churches of Alexandria and Antioch. However after the year AD 284 the two eras coincided, settling on 5492 BC. There are, consequently, two distinct eras of Alexandria, the one being used before and the other after the accession of Diocletian. ("Epoch: Era of Antioch and Era of Alexandra." In: The Popular Encyclopedia: being a general dictionary of arts, sciences, literature, biography, history, and political economy. (Vol. 3, Part 1). Glasgow: Blackie and Son, 1841. p.73.)
^A calendar obtained by extension earlier in time than its invention or implementation is called the proleptic version of the calendar.
^In the commonly used 19‐year Easter moon cycle, there was no year when the Passover (the first spring full moon, Nisan 14) would coincide with Friday and the traditional date of the Passion, March 25; according to Alexandrian system the date would have to have been Anno Mundi 5533 = 42(!)AD.
^It is likely that his reckoning is from 43 BC, the year in which Octavian was declared consul by senate and people and recognized as the adopted son and heir of Caesar. Epiphanius, (Haeres) also puts Jesus's birth in the 42nd year of Augustus when Octavius Augustus xiii and Silanus were consuls; and they were consuls in 2 BC. (George Ogg. "Hippolytus and the Introduction of the Christian Era". in Vigiliae Christianae, Vol.16, No.1 (Mar., 1962).)
^Roman Martyrology: Some Traditionalist Catholics use the year 5199 BC, which is taken from Catholic martyrologies, and referred to as the true date of Creation in the "Mystical City of God", a 17th-century mystical work written by María de Ágreda concerning creation and the life of the Virgin Mary. This year was also used earlier by the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea in 324. (V. Grumel. La Chronologie. 1958. pp.24–25).
^In the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, the Jewish calendar was reformed. F. Rühl has shown that the adoption of this era must have taken place between the year 222, when Julius Africanus reports that the Jews still retained the eight-year lunar cycle (which is referred to in the pseudepigraphal Book of Enoch (74:13–16); see Enoch calendar), and 276, when Anatolius makes use of the nineteen-year Metonic cycle to determine Easter after the manner of the Jews. ("The Era of the Creation." JewishEncyclopedia.com.) The epoch that Hebrew calendar currently uses, the Hillel World Era, beginning October 7, 3761 BC, is traditionally regarded as having been calculated by Hillel II in the 4th century (c. 358 AD), but did not become universal practice until the end of the Middle Ages. (Karl Hagen. "The Jewish Calendar". Polysyllabic.com.)
^Note that according to Wacholder, Josephus' chronology for the antediluvian period (pre-flood) conforms with the LXX, but for the Noachites (post-flood) he used the Hebrew text. He chose this method to resolve the problem of the two chronological systems. (Ben Zion Wacholder. "Biblical Chronology in the Hellenistic World Chronicles". in The Harvard Theological Review, Vol.61, No.3 (Jul., 1968).)
^George Synkellos. The Chronography of George Synkellos: a Byzantine Chronicle of Universal History from the Creation. Transl. Prof. Dr. William Adler & Paul Tuffin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
^Van der Essen, L. "Chronicon Paschale". In The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent). New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908.
^St. John Chrysostom. Homily "On the Cross and the Thief" 1:2.
^St. Isaac the Syrian. Homily 19, Russian edition, pp. 85 [Homily 29, English edition, p.143].
^Fr. Seraphim Rose. GENESIS, CREATION and EARLY MAN: The Orthodox Christian Vision. St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, California, 2000. pp.236.
^ abcGeorge Ogg. "Hippolytus and the Introduction of the Christian Era". in Vigiliae Christianae, Vol.16, No.1 (Mar., 1962), p.4-6.
^The Rudder (Pedalion): Of the metaphorical ship of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Orthodox Christians, or all the sacred and divine canons of the holy and renowned Apostles, of the holy Councils, ecumenical as well as regional, and of individual fathers, as embodied in the original Greek text, for the sake of authenticity, and explained in the vernacular by way of rendering them more intelligible to the less educated. Comp. Agapius a Hieromonk and Nicodemus a Monk. First printed and published AD 1800. Trans. D. Cummings, from the 5th edition published by John Nicolaides (Kesisoglou the Caesarian) in Athens, Greece in 1908, (Chicago: The Orthodox Christian Educational Society, 1957; Repr., New York, N.Y.: Luna Printing Co., 1983).
^Niketas Choniates. O City of Byzantium, Annals of Niketas Choniates. Transl. by Harry J. Magoulias. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1984. p.338
^Doukas (c. 1460). Decline and Fall of Byzantium To The Ottoman Turks. An Annotated Translation by Harry J. Magoulias. Wayne State University Press, 1975. pp.57–58.
^Fr. Seraphim Rose. GENESIS, CREATION and EARLY MAN: The Orthodox Christian Vision. St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, California, 2000. pp.539–540.
^St. Basil the Great. Hexæmeron. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, 2nd Series (NPNF2). Transl. Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. (1819–1893): VOLUME VIII – BASIL: LETTERS AND SELECT WORKS. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.
^Panteli, Maria; Purwins, Hendrik (2013). "A Quantitative Comparison of Chrysanthine Theory and Performance Practice of Scale Tuning, Steps, and Prominence of the Octoechos in Byzantine Chant". Journal of New Music Research. 42 (3): 205–221.
Doukas. Decline and Fall of Byzantium To The Ottoman Turks. An Annotated Translation by Harry J. Magoulias. Wayne State University Press, 1975.
George Synkellos. The Chronography of George Synkellos: a Byzantine Chronicle of Universal History from the Creation. Transl. Prof. Dr. William Adler & Paul Tuffin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Ibn Ezra, Abraham ben Meïr, (1092–1167). Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Pentateuch: Genesis (Bereshit). (Vol.1 – Genesis). Transl. and annotated by H. Norman Strickman & Arthur M. Silver. Menorah Pub. Co., New York, N.Y., 1988.
Julius Africanus. Extant Writings III. The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus.
Niketas Choniates. O City of Byzantium, Annals of Niketas Choniates. Transl. by Harry J. Magoulias. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1984.
St. Basil the Great. Hexæmeron. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, 2nd Series (NPNF2). Transl. Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. (1819–1893): Volume VIII – Basil: Letters and Select Works. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Rudder (Pedalion): Of the metaphorical ship of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Orthodox Christians, or all the sacred and divine canons of the holy and renowned Apostles, of the holy Councils, ecumenical as well as regional, and of individual fathers, as embodied in the original Greek text, for the sake of authenticity, and explained in the vernacular by way of rendering them more intelligible to the less educated.
Comp. Agapius a Hieromonk and Nicodemus a Monk. First printed and published 1800. Trans. D. Cummings, [from the 5th edition published by John Nicolaides (Kesisoglou the Caesarian) in Athens, Greece in 1908], Chicago: The Orthodox Christian Educational Society, 1957. Repr., New York, N.Y.: Luna Printing Co., 1983.
Theophanes. The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor: Byzantine and Near Eastern History, AD 284–813. Cyril Mango, Roger Scott, Geoffrey Greatrex (Eds.). Oxford University Press, 1997.
Theophilus of Antioch. Theophilus of Antioch to Autolycus. Book III. Chap XXIV (Chronology from Adam) – Chap. XXVIII (Leading Chronological Epochs).
Prof. Dr. William Adler. Time Immemorial: Archaic History and its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus. Washington, D.C. : Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1989.
Year 1 BC was a common year starting on Friday or Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar (the sources differ, see leap year error for further information) and a leap year starting on Thursday of the Proleptic Julian calendar. It is also a leap year starting on Saturday, in the Proleptic Gregorian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Piso (or, less frequently, year 753 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 1 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years. The following year is 1 AD in the widely used Julian calendar, which does not have a "year zero".
will be a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2059th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 59th year of the 3rd millennium, the 59th year of the 21st century, and the 10th and last year of the 2050s decade.
Year 27 BC was either a common year starting on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday or a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar (the sources differ, see leap year error for further information) and a common year starting on Sunday of the Proleptic Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Second Consulship of Octavian and Agrippa (or, less frequently, year 727 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 27 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Year 44 BC was either a common year starting on Sunday, Common year starting on Monday, leap year starting on Friday, or leap year starting on Saturday. (link will display the full Julian calendar) (the sources differ, see leap year error for further information) and a common year starting on Sunday of the Proleptic Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Julius Caesar V and Marc Antony (or, less frequently, year 710 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 44 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
The year 500 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. In the Roman Empire it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Camerinus and Longus (or, less frequently, year 254 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 500 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Year 666 (DCLXVI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 666 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Anno Mundi (Latin for "in the year of the world"; Hebrew: לבריאת העולם, "to the creation of the world"), abbreviated as AM, or Year After Creation, is a calendar era based on the biblical accounts of the creation of the world and subsequent history. Two such calendar eras have seen notable use historically:
The Byzantine calendar was used in the Byzantine Empire and many Christian Orthodox countries and Eastern Orthodox Churches and was based on the Septuagint text of the Bible. That calendar is similar to the Julian calendar except that its epoch is equivalent to 1 September 5509 BC on the Julian proleptic calendar.
Since the Middle Ages, the Hebrew calendar has been based on rabbinic calculations of the year of creation from the Hebrew Masoretic text of the bible. This calendar is used within Jewish communities for religious and other purposes. On the Hebrew calendar, the day begins at sunset. The calendar's epoch, corresponding to the calculated date of the world's creation, is equivalent to sunset on the Julian proleptic calendar date 6 October 3761 BC. The new year begins at Rosh Hashanah, roughly in September. Year anno mundi 5779, or AM 5779, began at sunset on 9 September 2018 on the Gregorian calendar.While differences in biblical interpretation or in calculation methodology can produce some differences in the creation date, most results fall relatively close to one of these two dominant models. The primary reason for the disparity seems to lie in which underlying Biblical text is chosen (roughly 5500 BC based on the Greek Septuagint text, about 3760 BC based on the Hebrew Masoretic text). Most of the 1,732-year difference resides in numerical discrepancies in the genealogies of the two versions of the Book of Genesis. Patriarchs from Adam to Terah, the father of Abraham, are said to be older by as much as 100 years or more when they begat their named son in the Greek Septuagint than they were in the Latin Vulgate (Genesis 5; Genesis 11) or the Hebrew Tanakh (Gen 5; Gen 11). The net difference between the two major genealogies of Genesis is 1466 years (ignoring the "second year after the flood" ambiguity), 85% of the total difference. (See Dating creation.)
In Romanian mythology, Baba Dochia, or The Old Dokia, is a figure identified with the return of spring. She is sometimes imagined as “an old woman who insults the month of March when she goes out with a herd of sheep or goats.” Supposedly the name originates from the Byzantine calendar, which celebrates the 2nd-century martyr-saint Eudokia of Heliopolis (Evdokia) on March 1. The Romanian Dokia personifies mankind's impatience in waiting for the return of spring.
Byzantine time is an old method of keeping time that is now mostly extinct. Hour 0:00:00 begins daily at sunset. Due to seasonal variations in the length of a day, hour zero can vary by several hours throughout the year. It is now used in very few places, for example, the Eastern Orthodox monasteries on Mount Athos in Greece and Mar Saba monastery in the West Bank. Ethiopia (where a branch of the Orthodox church is the single largest religion of the country) still uses this type of timing. The Byzantine calendar is a related method of keeping dates.
An epoch, for the purposes of chronology and periodization, is an instant in time chosen as the origin of a particular calendar era. The "epoch" serves as a reference point from which time is measured.
The moment of epoch is usually decided by congruity (makes simple sense), or by following conventions understood from the epoch in question. The epoch moment or date is usually defined from a specific, clear event of change, epoch event. In a more gradual change, a deciding moment is chosen when the epoch criterion was reached.
The Era of the Martyrs (Latin: anno martyrum), also known as the Diocletian era (Latin: anno Diocletiani), is a method of numbering years used by the Church of Alexandria beginning in the 4th century AD and by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria from the 5th century to the present. Western Christians were aware of it but did not use it. It was named for the Roman Emperor Diocletian who instigated the last major persecution against Christians in the Empire. Diocletian began his reign 20 November 284 during the Alexandrian year that began on 1 Thoth, the Egyptian New Year, or 29 August 284, so that date was used as the epoch: year one of the Diocletian era began on that date. This era was used to number the year in Easter tables produced by the Church of Alexandria.
When Dionysius Exiguus continued those tables for an additional 95 years, he replaced the anno Diocletiani era with his anno Domini era because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. The anno Domini era became dominant in the Latin West but was not used in the Greek East until modern times.
The anno Diocletiani era was not the only one used by early Christians. Most Roman Christians, like the pagan Romans before them, designated their years by naming the two consuls who held office that year. The Romans also used the ab urbe condita (AUC) era. Its name is Latin for "from the founding of the City (Rome)". However, the AUC era was hardly ever used outside historical treatises.
Eras that began at Creation, called anno Mundi eras, became the dominant method of numbering years in the East until modern times, such as in the Byzantine calendar. Annianus of Alexandria, a monk who flourished at the beginning of the 5th century, placed the epoch of his world era on 25 March 5492 BC by counting back eleven 532-year paschal cycles from anno Diocletiani 77, itself four 19-year lunar cycles after anno Diocletiani 1. Regarded as a civil rather than a religious era, it began on the first day of the Alexandrian year, 29 August 5493 BC. This Alexandrian era was the preferred era used by Byzantine Christians such as Maximus the Confessor until the Byzantine era, having an epoch of 1 September 5509 BC, became dominant in the 10th century. Both eras used a version of dating Creation based on the Septuagint.
An indiction is any of the years in a 15-year cycle used to date medieval documents throughout Europe, both East and West. Each year of a cycle was numbered: first indiction, second indiction, etc. However, the cycles were not numbered, thus other information is needed to identify the specific year.
When the term began to be used, it referred only to the full cycle, and individual years were referred to as being Year 1 of the indiction, Year 2 of the indiction, etc. But usage changed, and it gradually became common to talk of the 1st indiction, the 2nd indiction, and so on. This can be confusing for modern readers, and it might be more useful if translators were to write 'the first of the indiction' and so on.
Indictions originally referred to the periodic reassessment for an agricultural or land tax in late third-century Roman Egypt. These were originally in 5-year cycles beginning in 287 AD, then in a non-cyclic series which reached number 26 by 318 AD. But by 314 AD, the 15-year cycle had appeared. The Chronicon Paschale (c. 630 AD) assigned its first year to 312–313 AD, whereas a Coptic document of 933 AD assigned its first year to 297–298 AD, one cycle earlier. Both of these were years of the Alexandrian calendar whose first day was Thoth 1 on August 29 in years preceding common Julian years and August 30 in years preceding leap years, hence each straddled two Julian years. The reason for beginning the year at that time was that the harvest would be in, and so it was an appropriate moment to calculate the taxes that should be paid.
The indiction was first used to date documents unrelated to tax collection in the mid-fourth century. By the late fourth century it was being used to date documents throughout the Mediterranean. In the Eastern Roman Empire outside of Egypt, the first day of its year was September 23, the birthday of Augustus. During the last half of the fifth century, probably 462 AD, this shifted to September 1, where it remained throughout the rest of the Byzantine Empire. In 537 AD, Justinian decreed that all dates must include the indiction via Novella 47, which eventually caused the Byzantine year to begin on September 1. But in the western Mediterranean, its first day was September 24 according to Bede, or the following December 25 or January 1, called the papal indiction. An indictio Senensis beginning September 8 is sometimes mentioned.
The 7,980-year Julian Period was formed by multiplying the 15-year indiction cycle, the 28-year solar cycle and the 19-year Metonic cycle.
The indiction for a modern Anno Domini year Y (January 1 to December 31) is
(Y + 2) mod 15 + 1For example, the indiction for the year 2011 is 4
(2011 + 2) mod 15 + 1 = 4So 2008, three years earlier, was a first indiction
(2008 + 2) mod 15 + 1 = 1This applies even when the Anno Domini year begins during the preceding September, as it did during the early Middle Ages.
The indiction for a Byzantine AM year (beginning September 1) is found by dividing that year number by 15 and taking the remainder (modulus). If the remainder is zero, then the indiction is 15. For example, the Byzantine year AM 6961, when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, is indiction 1
Saint Nilus the Younger, (Italian: San Nilo di Rossano, Greek: Όσιος Νείλος, ο εκ Καλαβρίας), (910 – December 27, 1005), was a monk, abbot, and founder of Italo-Greek monasticism in southern Italy. He is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and his feast day is celebrated on September 26 in both the Byzantine Calendar and the Roman Martyrology.
In Christian and Muslim tradition, the Seven Sleepers (Arabic: اصحاب الکهف, translit. aṣḥāb al kahf, lit. 'People of the Cave') is the story of a group of youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD to escape a religious persecution and emerged some 300 years later.
The earliest version of this story comes from the Syrian bishop Jacob of Serugh (c. 450 – 521), which is itself derived from an earlier Greek source, now lost. An outline of this tale appears in Gregory of Tours (538–594), and in Paul the Deacon's (720–799) History of the Lombards. The best-known Western version of the story appears in Jacobus da Varagine's Golden Legend.
The Roman Martyrology mentions the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus under the date of 27 July (June according to Vatican II calendar). The Byzantine calendar commemorates them with feasts on 4 August and 22 October. The ninth-century Irish calendar Félire Óengusso commemorates the Seven Sleepers on 7 August.The story appears in the Qur'an (Surah Al-Kahf 9–26) and thus is important to Islam. The Islamic version includes mention of a dog, who accompanied the youths into the cave and appears to keep watch. In Islam, these youths are referred to as the People of the Cave.
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