By Enza Ferreri
So, 2020 is a leap year, hence it has the extra day just elapsed, 29 February.
The Catholic Church, which has a very long tradition of scientific and astronomical achievements, has created the calendar that mostly approaches perfection, and we owe this to faith.
Maybe many people are not aware of this, but science was born in a Christian milieu. The first scientists were Christian.
The date of Easter gave birth to the calendar destined to remain a perfect work over the centuries. No civilization has ever managed to develop a calendar like the one invented by our culture.
A good calendar, resulting in giving numbers and names to periods of time for practical purposes, is extremely difficult to create.
To count time in order to regulate civil and religious life, man needs to combine three astronomical elements: the day, the lunar month and the solar year. However, it is difficult to combine them satisfactorily, hence the development of many different calendars in various places and epochs, all of which produced a serious disagreement between the dates of the calendar and the seasonal events.
Julian Calendar and Gregorian Calendar
All, that is, until the Catholic Church created the Gregorian Calendar, used today in every country of the world with the sole exceptions of Iran, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Nepal.
The day, i.e. the interval between two successive sunrises, was divided in antiquity into 24 hours. The lunar month, namely the interval between two successive full moons, is approximately 29.5306 days. The solar year, that is the interval between two successive rising suns at the same point on the horizon and in the same season, is circa 365.2422 days. So, the lunar month and the solar year are not expressed by whole numbers of days but by numbers with many decimal places. This has always made it difficult to combine days, months and years with each other.
The Julian Calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46-45 BC in ancient Roman times, was a reasonably good attempt to solve this problem. It gave us the leap year, “anno bisestile” in Italian, from the Latin bis sexto die, which was the changed name of 24 February (date which the Romans called “the sixth day” before the Calends of March, now become “bis sixth day”).
The Julian Calendar approximated the length of the calendar year to 365 days and a quarter. Every four calendar years the four quarters formed a full day, which was added. Unfortunately, 365 and a quarter days are longer than the 365.2422 days of a solar year. The difference, only 11 minutes, accumulated a little at a time, until about every 128 years the beginning of the Julian calendar fell one day later than the seasons. It did not correctly reflect the actual time it took for the Earth to orbit the Sun.
The need to replace this imperfect tool arose from a typically religious problem: to find the astronomical basis of the calendar for the holy days, and specifically for Easter.
Need to Find Resurrection Date Led to Most Perfect Calendar
The most important mystical event for the Catholic Church: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Finding the correct date for it was what led to this extraordinary calendar.
In 325 AD, the bishops who met at the Council of Nicaea decided to give Easter not a date in the Julian calendar, of whose faults they were aware, but what the mystical conception of Time had handed down.
Easter was therefore to fall on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox. Thus, it was necessary to know the exact date of the spring equinox, with no mistakes. The spring equinox was then moved from 25 March – the date of the Julian calendar, which needed to be corrected – to 21 March.
The reason for this discrepancy in the Julian calendar had been due to its neglecting the effects of the third movement of the Earth. Our planet revolves around the sun: this is its first movement. It also rotates around its own axis: second movement. The third movement: the axis of the Earth also moves.
The Julian year has about a hundredth of a day more than it should have to be in sync with the inclination of the Earth’s axis with respect to the Sun. It is from this inclination that the spring equinox depends.
If the axis around which our Earth spins were fixed in the outer space, the link between the calendar date and the succession of seasons would remain fixed over the centuries. The axis of the spinning top which is our planet instead moves. It is a tremendously slow movement. To make a complete turn, the Earth’s axis takes almost 26,000 years.
In 325 AD, year of the Council of Nicaea, 370 years since the adoption of the Julian calendar had elapsed, almost four days’ discrepancy with the correct day for the spring equinox had accumulated, which led the bishops of the Council of Nicaea to move it from 25 to 21 March.
Today the spring equinox is always March 21 and will remain so over the centuries thanks to the Gregorian calendar, which takes into account the third movement of the Earth.
Generally, the synchrony between the calendar dates and the seasons is developed over a very long period: the almost two hundred days (to be exact 183) that separate summer from winter.
The mystical conception of Time, on the other hand, focuses synchrony on a single day: the spring equinox, to which the date of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is linked.
Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 Promulgated Luigi Lilio’s New Calendar
It was the Italian astronomer, mathematician and physician Luigi Lilio (Aloysius Lilius) (1510-1576 AD) who developed the astronomical basis for the perfect link between the spring equinox and the Easter of the Resurrection. His study gave birth to the Gregorian calendar promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
Thus the perfect calendar was born, which is obtained by subtracting three days every ten thousand years from the Gregorian calendar. In it the discrepancy with the seasons, which in the Roman Julian calendar took place after a few years, occurs after millions of years.
As Italian and Catholic physicist Antonino Zichichi, former President of the World Federation of Scientists, of the European Physical Society and of Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics, put it:
the perfect calendar and science could have been the triumph of atheist culture; instead they were born in the heart of our culture.
We’ve covered the perfect calendar; we’ll leave the subject of how science is a direct emanation of Christianity to another post.