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Byzantine Creation Era

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The '''Byzantine Creation Era''', also ''' ''"Imperial Creation Era of Constantinople,"'' ''' or ''' ''"Era of the World"'' ''' (Greek: ''' ''Έτη Γενέσεως Κόσμου κατά 'Ρωμαίους'' '''<ref>Pavel Kuzenkov. ''How Old is The World? The Byzantine Era and its Rivals''. Institute for World History, Moscow, Russia. In: Elizabeth Jeffreys, Fiona K. Haarer, Judith Gilliland. '''[ Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies: London, 21-26 August, 2006: Vol. 3, Abstracts of Communications].''' Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006. pp. 23-24.</ref> also ''' ''Έτος Κτίσεως Κόσμου'' ''' or ''' ''Έτος Κόσμου'' ''') was the Calendar officially used by the Eastern [[Orthodox Church]] from ca. AD 691 to 1728 in the [[Church of Constantinople|Ecumenical Patriarchate]], and from ca. AD 988 to 1700 in Holy [[Church of Russia|Russia]], and by the [[Byzantine Empire]]<ref>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".</ref> from AD 988 to 1453. Its year one, the date of creation, was [[September 1]], 5509 BC to [[August 31]], 5508 BC.
Derived from the [[Septuagint]], it placed the date of creation at 5,509 years before the [[Incarnation]], and was characterized by a certain tendency which had already been a tradition amongst Hebrews and Jews to number the years ''from the foundation of the world'' (Greek - ''‘Etos Kosmou/Apo Kataboles Kosmou’'',<ref>The phrase ''"Apo Kataboles Kosmou"'' (''"from the foundation of the world"'') occurs in Matthew 25:34, Luke 11:50, Hebrews 4:3, 9:26, and Revelation 13:8, 17:8.</ref> or Latin - ''[[w:Anno Mundi|Annus Mundi]]/‘Ab Origine Mundi’'' ('''AM''')).
:*the names of the months were transcribed from Latin into Greek,
:*the first day of the year was [[September 1]],<ref>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.</ref> so that both the Ecclesiatical and Civil calendar years ran from 1 September to [[August 31|31 August]], (see [[Indiction]]), which to the present day is the [[Church Calendar|Church year]], and,
:*the date of creation, '''its year one, was [[September 1]], 5509 BC to [[August 31]], 5508 BC'''.
It is referred to indirectly in '''Canon III''' of the '''[[Quinisext Council]]''', which the Orthodox Churches consider as ecumenical, its canons being added to the decrees of the [[Fifth Ecumenical Council|Fifth]] and [[Sixth Ecumenical Council|Sixth]] Councils, as follows:
:"... 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 [6190]''', ..."<ref>''[[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 A.D.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).</ref>
The ''Creation Era'' was gradually replaced in the [[Orthodox Church]] by the ''[[w:Anno Domini|Christian Era]]'', which was utilized initially by Patriarch [[Theophanes I of Constantinople|Theophanes I Karykes]] in 1597, afterwards by Patriarch [[Cyril Lucaris]] in 1626, and then formally established by the Church in 1728.<ref>"Οικουμενικόν Πατριαρχείον", ΘHE, τόμ. 09, εκδ. Μαρτίνος Αθ., Αθήνα 1966, στ. 778.<br>(''"Ecumenical Patriarchate"''. '''Religious and Ethical Encyclopedia''', Vol. 9, Athens, 1966. p.778.).</ref> Meanwhile as Russia received Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium, she inherited the Orthodox Calendar based on the ''Creation Era'' (translated into Slavonic). After the collapse of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the ''Creation Era'' continued to be used by Russia, which witnessed millennialist movements in Moscow in AD 1492 (7000 AM) due to the end of the church calendar. It was only in AD 1700 that the ''Creation Era'' in Russia was changed to the [[Julian Calendar]] by [[w:Peter I of Russia|Peter the Great]].<ref>Prof. Charles Ellis (University of Bristol). [ Russian Calendar (988-1917)]. ''The Literary Encyclopedia''. 25 September, 2008.</ref>. It still forms the basis of traditional Orthodox calendars up to today. September AD 2000 began the year 7509 AM.
==Important Early Calendars==
===Alexandrian Era===
The ''' ''"Alexandrian Era"'' ''' (Greek: ''' ''Κόσμου ετη κατ’ Αλεξανδρεις'' ''') developed in AD 412, was the precursor to the ''Byzantine Creation Era''. After the initial attempts by [[Hippolytus of Rome|Hippolytus]], [[Clement of Alexandria]] and others<ref>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. (''"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.)</ref>, the Alexandrian computation of the date of creation was worked out to be [[March 25|25 March]] 5493 BC.<ref>Elias J. Bickerman. ''Chronology of the Ancient World''. 2nd edition. Cornell University Press. 1980. p.73.</ref>.
The Alexandrine monk [[w:Panodorus of Alexandria|Panodoros]] reckoned 5904 years from [[Adam and Eve|Adam]] to the year AD 412. His years began with [[August 29]], corresponding to the [[w:Thout|First of Thoth]], or the [[w:Egyptian calendar|Egyptian]] new year.<ref>Rev. Philip Schaff (1819-1893), Ed. ''"Era."'' '''[[w:Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge|Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge]]'''. New Edition, 13 Vols., 1908-14. [ Vol. 4, pp.163].</ref> Bishop [[w:Annianus of Alexandria|Annianos of Alexandria]] however, preferred the Annunciation style as New Year's Day, the 25th of March, and shifted the Panodoros 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<ref>A calendar obtained by extension earlier in time than its invention or implementation is called the "proleptic" version of the calendar</ref> Alexandrian civil year in progress, 29 August, 5493 BC, with the ecclesiatical year beginning on 25 March, 5493 BC.
For its influence on Greek Christian chronology, and also because of its wide scope, the ''"Chronicon Paschale"'' takes its place beside [[Eusebius of Caesarea|Eusebius]], and the chronicle of the monk [[w:George Syncellus|Georgius Syncellus]]<ref>[[w:George Syncellus|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.</ref> which was so important in the Middle Ages; but in respect of form it is inferior to these works.<ref>Van der Essen, L. ''[ Chronicon Paschale]''. In '''The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent)'''. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908.</ref>
By the late tenth century the ''Byzantine Creation Era'', having become fixed at [[September 1]] 5509 BC since at least the seventh 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.
==Literal Creation Days==
==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 [[w:Category:Byzantine historians|Byzantine authors]], to whom the [[indiction]] was the standard measurement of time.
'''In Official Documents'''
The Fathers were well aware of the discrepancy of some hundreds of years between the Greek and Hebrew [[Old Testament]] chronology,<ref>Note that according to Dr. Wacholder, [[Josephus|Josephus']] chronology for the antediluvian period (pre-flood) conforms with the [[Septuagint|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.</ref> 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.<ref>Fr. [[Seraphim Rose]]. ''GENESIS, CREATION and EARLY MAN: The Orthodox Christian Vision''. St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 2000. pp.602-603.</ref>
To this day, traditional Orthodox Christians will use the Byzantine calculation of the [[w:Etos Kosmou|Etos Kosmou]] ''World Era'' in conjunction with the [[w:Anno Domini|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 2008 marked the beginning of the year 7517 of this era.

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