How two weeks have disappeared from Russian history
Interesting story. The period from February 1 to February 13, 1918 is absent in the Russian calendar, and this is explained very simply. On January 24, 1918, exactly 100 years ago, the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR decided to switch the country to the Gregorian calendar from January 31, 1918, so after January 31, 1918, the country arrived on February 14, 1918.
As is known, until 1918 the Julian calendar was used in the Russian Empire. This was associated primarily with the religious tradition: in the Russian Empire, Orthodoxy was the state religion. The Julian calendar was adopted in the Roman Empire by Julius Caesar, after whom he received his name. Up to the late Middle Ages, the whole of Europe lived according to the Julian calendar, but in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII issued a decree on the reform of the calendar. The main reason for the adoption of the new calendar was the shift in relation to the Julian calendar of the day of the vernal equinox.
This circumstance created certain difficulties in calculating the date of Easter.
It should be noted that in many countries the transition to the Gregorian calendar was not painless. For example, in England, which switched to a new calendar in 1752, there were even riots of people dissatisfied with the changes that had occurred.In Russia, on the contrary, in 1700, Peter I, pursuing a policy of modernization, introduced the Julian calendar. Obviously, with all his striving for cardinal reforming of social and cultural life, Peter was not ready to go against the Orthodox Church, which was very negative about the transition to the Gregorian calendar. In the Russian Empire, the transition to the Gregorian calendar was never implemented. This entailed numerous difficulties in economic, cultural and political relations with Europe, but the church insisted on maintaining the Julian calendar, and the Russian monarchs did not object to its position.
In the first half of the XIX century, the advocates of modernization began talking about the desirability of switching to the Gregorian calendar, especially since by this time the Protestant countries of Europe, including Great Britain, had switched to it. However, the Minister of Public Education, General Karl Lieven, opposed the calendar reform. He, of course, was supported by the Orthodox Church. When, in the second half of the XIX century, Dmitri Mendeleev spoke about the need to move to a new calendar, representatives of the Holy Synod quickly stopped him, saying that the time for such a large-scale reform had not yet come.The church did not see any reason for abandoning the Julian calendar, because, firstly, it was used in the Orthodox tradition for many centuries, and secondly, if it were transferred to the Gregorian calendar, the Divine Service Charter would inevitably be broken, since special lunar-solar calendar, which is also closely connected with the Julian calendar.
The February Revolution of 1917, which overthrew the monarchy in Russia, was the impetus for the most diverse large-scale changes in the life of the country. It was during the period when the country was governed by the Provisional Government that the development of a draft calendar reform began. Its authors believed that there was a need to switch to the Gregorian calendar, since double writing of dates in official documents and letters was used so long ago, especially if they were devoted to events in other states or were sent to addressees who lived in other countries. However, in the period from February to October 1917, it was not possible to carry out a calendar reform in the country - the Provisional Government was not up to that.
The October Revolution of 1917 finally led Russia to change the calendar.Of course, the atheists - the Bolsheviks did not care about the religious contradictions between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches; they did not even think about the history of the creation of the Gregorian calendar. But since “all advanced mankind,” as the Bolsheviks liked to say, by that time had passed to the Gregorian calendar, Russia was also wanted to be modernized. If you renounce the old world - in everything, including in the calendar. Therefore, the question of calendar reform was very interested in the Bolsheviks. This is confirmed at least by the fact that already on November 16 (29), 1917, at one of the very first meetings of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, the question was raised about the need to switch to the Gregorian calendar.
A certain role was played by the "secular" character of the Gregorian calendar. Although the calendar itself was introduced in Europe at the initiative of the Pope, the Russian Orthodox Church did not intend to switch to the Gregorian calendar. On January 23 (February 5), 1918, the Orthodox Church was separated from the state, which finally untied the hands of the new government in the matter of delimiting the secular and church calendars.The Bolsheviks decided to strike another blow to the positions of the Orthodox Church, abandoning the Julian calendar. At the same meeting, the Council of People's Commissars, at which the church was separated from the state, created a special commission for the transition to the new calendar. She presented two possible scenarios. The first option assumed a soft and gradual transition to a new calendar - to drop 24 hours each year. In this case, it would take 13 years to implement a calendar reform, and the most important thing - it would completely suit the Russian Orthodox Church. But Vladimir Lenin was inclined towards a more radical variant, which envisioned a momentary and quick transition to the Gregorian calendar.
On January 24 (February 6), 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR adopted a decree introducing the Western European calendar in the Russian Republic, and two days later, on January 26 (February 8), 1918, the decree was signed by Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR Vladimir Lenin. In addition to Lenin, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin, People’s Commissar of Labor Alexander Shlyapnikov, signed the document.People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the RSFSR Grigory Petrovsky, Chairman of the High Council of the National Economy of the RSFSR Valerian Obolensky. The reason for the transition to the new calendar was the need to establish in Russia the calculation of time, the same "with almost all cultural nations."
It was decided to introduce a new calendar after the expiration of January 1918. For this purpose, the Council of People's Commissars decided to consider the first day after January 31, 1918, not February 1, but February 14, 1918. The decree also emphasized that all obligations under treaties and laws that occurred between February 1 and 14 were transferred to the period from February 14 to 27 by adding to the deadline for fulfilling the obligations of thirteen days. With the addition of thirteen days, all obligations were counted in the period from February 14 to July 1, 1918, and obligations from July 1, 1918, were considered to occur by the numbers of the new Gregorian calendar. The decree also regulated the issues of paying salaries and wages to citizens of the republic. Until July 1, 1918, it was necessary in all documents to indicate in brackets the number according to the old calendar, and from July 1, 1918 - only the number according to the Gregorian calendar.
The decision to move the country to the Gregorian calendar inevitably caused controversy among the clergy and theologians. Already at the end of January 1918, calendar reform became the subject of discussion at the All-Russian Local Council. There was a curious discussion on this discussion. Professor Ivan Alekseevich Karabinov stated that the Old Believers and other autocephalous churches would not agree with the proposal to switch to the Gregorian calendar and will continue to celebrate church holidays according to the old calendar. This circumstance, in turn, will violate the unity of the Orthodox churches. Another speaker, Professor Ivan Ivanovich Sokolov, agreed with this position, who also drew attention to the lack of the right of the Russian Orthodox Church to independently decide the issue of calendar reform without coordinating its actions with other autocephalous churches. A member of the Petrograd Press Committee, a layman, Mitrofan Alekseevich Semenov, in turn, suggested not to respond to the Bolshevik decrees at all, thus avoiding the need to switch to a new calendar.
Sergey Sergeevich Glagolev, a professor at the Moscow Theological Academy and a member of the Local Council of the Orthodox Russian Church from higher religious schools, stressedthat in the changed conditions, the church is unlikely to remain on the old calendar, since it is increasingly at odds with the sky, but it is not worth taking hasty steps and it is better to remain on the old Julian calendar for a while. Moreover, Glagolev noted in his report, such a serious question can be solved only with the consent of all autocephalous Orthodox churches.
Ultimately, the department of worship and the department of the legal status of the Church in the state decided throughout 1918 to be guided by the old style. On March 15, 1918, the department on worship, preaching and the church of the Russian Orthodox Church decided that from a church-canonical point of view, it was impossible to resolve the issue of calendar reform without coordination with all autocephalous churches. Therefore, it was decided to leave the Russian Orthodox Church on the Julian calendar.
In 1923, when the Soviet Union lived for five years on a new calendar, the church again raised the issue of calendar reform. The second Local Council was held in Moscow. Metropolitan Antonin declared that the church and believers can switch to the Gregorian calendar quickly and painlessly, and there is nothing sinful in the transition itself, moreover, the calendar reform is necessary for the church.As a result, the Local Council adopted a resolution proclaiming the transition of the church to the Gregorian calendar from June 12, 1923. Interestingly, the resolution did not evoke the debate, which indicated the complete readiness of the participants in the council to switch to a new style.
In connection with the current situation in the fall of 1923, Patriarch Tikhon published his Message in which he condemned the decision of the Second Local Council as too hasty, but stressed the possibility of the transition of the church to the Gregorian calendar. Officially, it was planned to transfer the Russian Orthodox Church to the Gregorian calculus from October 2, 1923, but already on November 8, 1923, Patriarch Tikhon refused this idea. It is interesting that in the calendars of the years 1924-1929, church holidays were celebrated as if the transition to the Gregorian calendar was nevertheless carried out. For example, Christmas was celebrated on December 25 and 26. Again, the church raised the question of switching to the Gregorian calendar in 1948, but it was never resolved positively. Despite the active pro-government lobby, most church hierarchs still did not want to become “separatists” and accept the Gregorian calendar without coordination with other autocephalous churches.
Of course, Soviet Russia was not the last country to switch to the Gregorian calendar. In 1919, the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Romania and Yugoslavia, in 1924 - Greece. In 1926, Turkey was transferred to the Gregorian calendar with preservation of some specifics, in 1928 - Egypt. Currently, the Julian calendar continues to live in Ethiopia - one of the oldest Christian states in the world. In addition, the Russian, Georgian, Serbian, Jerusalem, Polish Orthodox churches, the Bessarabian metropolis of the Romanian Orthodox Church, as well as the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic and Russian Greek-Catholic churches lead on the Julian calendar. Interestingly, the Polish Orthodox Church returned to the Julian calendar only in 2014, before that a long time, calculating the time according to the new Julian calendar, which coincides with the Gregorian calendar.