I have , on my desk, a “Religious Diary”. It has the usual features found in any desk diary : days/dates/important public holidays/ commemorations and so on.
This month, as with all other months, marks certain Days of Celebration for each of the major Faith Traditions (Christian/Jewish/Muslim), including Anniversaries for each of the Christian Faith Communities, i.e., celebrations for each of the Anglican/Uniting/Lutheran/Orthodox Congregations. And, again, amongst those, the Catholic Rites such as Roman/Maronite/Melkite/Ukrainian.
Now, when it comes to celebrating “important” Feast/Religious Days, amongst this latter group, there are fascinating differences, due mainly to the fact that there are two types of Calendars – Julian and Gregorian.
So, for instance, because the Gregorian Calendar is followed by Christians in the West, August 15 –The Feast of The Dormition (Orthodox/Maronite) – is known as The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic), whereas to Anglican and Uniting Faith Communities the calendar simply refers to “Mary, Mother of Jesus”.
And because the Julian Calendar is followed by Eastern Christians, August 28 – The Dormition of Our Lady – is celebrated by Orthodox (Russian Orthodox) and Ukrainian Faith Communities .
I am often bemused by all of this: I think and ponder whether this is all too confusing and that as ONE Christian Church, we should ALL be reading off the same page !
Yet, it does reflect a rich tapestry of understanding and belief – the same faith yet, despite differences, expressions of “ a coat of many colours” !