Wednesday, January 7, 2009



His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II extended the following Christmas and New Year’s message to the citizens of Serbia who celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

Dear Citizens of Serbia,

We will face very important responsibilities and issues in the New Year. Even though experts claim that the global economic crisis didn’t effect Serbia that much, our country still needs to develop a well founded strategy on how are we going to face challenges with financial issues and resolve our budget deficit. We can do that only if we work very hard through planning and to increase our manufacturing production. We must try very strongly to catch the attention of foreign investment, which will be not be easy because of the crisis with foreign Funds and Banks and we must try to draw to a close the privatization contracts.

It is very important to firmly continue with European integration and obligations with the aim for membership as soon as possible of the European Union. All these issues are vital for the future of Serbia and all citizens. The need is for the unity is vital for all who take part in the negotiations. I also call for the unity of all participants on our political scene when undisputable national interests are at stake. Unity will give the needed credibility in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world.

We must strongly contribute to the stability and development of the region, Europe and the world. Of course, we must do that so that each and every one of our citizens regardless of religion or ethnic origin has a better and a nicer life. We must continue to reinforce in Serbia human rights and democratic principles. We must respect the rule of law. We must work for a better future and for the future of our youth.

My family joins me in wish you all the best for the New Year, peace, good health, happiness and success always.

Merry Christmas!



The Julian calendar was in general use in Europe and Northern Africa from the times of the Roman Empire until 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII promulgated the Gregorian Calendar. Reform was required because too many leap days are added with respect to the astronomical seasons on the Julian scheme. On average, the astronomical solstices and the equinoxes advance by about 11 minutes per year against the Julian year. As a result, the calculated date of Easter gradually moved out of phase with the March equinox. While Hipparchus and presumably Sosigenes were aware of the discrepancy, although not of its correct value, it was evidently felt to be of little importance at the time of the Julian reform. However, it accumulated significantly over time: the Julian calendar gained a day about every 134 years. By 1582, it was ten days out of alignment from where it supposedly was in 325 during the Council of Nicaea.

The Gregorian Calendar was soon adopted by most Catholic countries (e.g. Spain, Portugal, Poland, most of Italy). Protestant countries followed later, and the countries of Eastern Europe even later. In the British Empire (including the American colonies), Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752. For 12 years from 1700 Sweden used a modified Julian Calendar, and adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1753, but Russia remained on the Julian calendar until 1917, after the Russian Revolution (which is thus called the "October Revolution" though it occurred in Gregorian November), while Greece continued to use it until 1923. During this time the Julian calendar continued to diverge from the Gregorian. In 1700 the difference became 11 days; in 1800, 12; and in 1900, 13, where it will stay till 2100

Although all Eastern Orthodox countries (most of them in Eastern or Southeastern Europe) had adopted the Gregorian calendar by 1927, their national churches had not. Serbian astronomer Milutin Milanković proposed a revised Julian calendar during a synod in Constantinople in May 1923, consisting of a solar part which was and will be identical to the Gregorian calendar until the year 2800, and a lunar part which calculated Easter astronomically at Jerusalem. All Orthodox churches refused to accept the lunar part, so almost all Orthodox churches continue to celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar (the Finnish Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian Easter)

The solar part of the revised Julian calendar was accepted by only some Orthodox churches. Those that did accept it, with hope for improved dialogue and negotiations with the Western denominations, were the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria (the last in 1963), and the Orthodox Church in America (although some OCA parishes are permitted to use the Julian calendar). Thus these churches celebrate the Nativity on the same day that Western Christians do, 25 December Gregorian until 2800. The Orthodox Churches of Jerusalem, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, and the Greek Old Calendarists continue to use the Julian calendar for their fixed dates, thus they celebrate the Nativity on 25 December Julian (which is 7 January Gregorian until 2100).

The so called Serbian New Year, also known as the Orthodox New Year, i.e. 1 January according to Julian calendar (14 January according to new calendar) is celebrated in Serbia and among the Serbs in former Yugoslavia and in the world.

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