The Gregorian Calender Reform-Why not earlier?

In 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea, they knew the Julian Calendar was too long, as in Julius Caesar’s era, the Vernal Equinox was falling on 24th March, and by 325 AD it was falling on 21st March, regardless of this slip they fixed the Church’s date of this , even though the calendar was gaining a day every 128 years….so why didn’t they rectify the problem?

The Venerable Bede the English scholar, who lived from 673-735, noted that the Vernal Equinox had slipped three days earlier than the traditional 21st March, he complained to the Vatican, as many monks were……but the Julian Calendar remained in use….why didn’t they adapt it?

Roger Bacon believed that the calendar was out by 11 minutes every year, he complained to Rome, but nothing was done for nearly another 300 years…why?
Indeed at a time that religion was everything, it was a terrible thing to happen, imagine innocently going to church for Sunday mass, and not realizing that it was a Wednesday!

Roger Bacon worried and rightly so, that religious functions were being celebrated on the wrong day, like Easter and Christmas day! It wasn’t a difficult thing to put right, as they knew that the Vernal Equinox was slipping 3 days in every 4 hundred years- after all Sosigenes had done all the hard work, the calendar only needed slight adjustment to correct the error. It seems strange that the Julian Calendar remained for over 1600 years, yet the error stayed in place….perhaps the Vatican was waiting for a special alignment to 1st January? Precession takes centuries before the right alignment appears…….


The motivation of the Catholic church in 1582 in changing calendars was that the Julian Calendar was too long and getting out of step with the defined seasons by 11 minutes 14 seconds a year. Further to this they wanted to calculate Easter as defined and agreed at the first Council of Nicaea in the year 325 AD, which is now modern Iznik in Turkey. The Council defined that the Spring Equinox would occur on 21st March , this means that the Sun crosses the equator from South to North around this time each year. Easter was defined to occur after the next full Moon, picking the appropriate Sunday. However by 1500 this was a difficult calculation as the real Vernal Equinox had slipped back to 11th March!

From early in the Julian Calendar a leap year day had been added every 4 years, amounting to 100 days every 400 years of 365 days. When the Gregorian Calendar was implimented only 97 leap year days were added every 400 years. To prevent future misalignment, leap years were subtracted from some start of century dates divided by four, for example 1600 was a leap year but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, thus the calendar we follow today is far more accurate, and only needs an extra adjustment of 1 day in 3,225 years, (26 seconds out of true in a year.).
In 1563 the Council of Trent approved a plan for calendrical errors- this required the Spring Equinox to be restored to that held at the first Council of Nicaea.
The last day of the Julian Calendar was 4th October 1582, after which 10 days were taken out making the next day the 15th October, latter we will examine why this day was chosen!

Aloysius Lilius is one of two people that is credited with their work on the Gregorian Calendar, who was an Italian docter and astronomer. Very little is known about his early life other than he came from Calabria, he studied medicine in Naples, and lectured in medicine at the university of Perugia from 1522. He wrote a Manuscript titled “Compendium of the new plan for the restitution of the calendar”, however the reform of the calendar didn’t occur until 6 years after his death, when his brother Antonio presented the manuscript to Pope Gregory XIII.


Christopher Clavius was a German Jesuit mathematician and astronomer being the main architect of the modern Gregorian calendar, he was the most respected astronomer in Europe. Clavius joined the Jesuit Order in 1555, he attended the university of Coimbra in Portugal, in 1579 he was assigned to compute the basis for a reformed calendar that would stop the slow process in which the church’s holidays drifting relative to the seasons of the year.
After 4th October 1582 when ten days were taken out, riots broke out amongst many people, holidays, birthdays and other anniversaries were now officially reset 10 days later. This was confusing to people who were afraid the saints might be upset, some continued for a while observing Julian dates. The new calendar firmly established 1st January as the beginning of the year, many countries had been celebrating New Year on a number of dates, which was chaotic , including 1st March, 25th March, 1st May, 1st July, 1st November and 25th December!

POPE GREGORY XIII (1502-1585).

Pope Gregory XIII (Born Ugo Boncompagni) was born in the city of Bologna, he studied law and graduated in 1530, he was summoned to Rome by Pope Paul III, and held a number of appointments as first judge of the capital and vice-chancellor of the Campagna, later he was created a cardinal priest and sent to the Council of Trent by Pope Pius IV. He also served as a legate to Philip II of Spain, being sent by the Pope to investigate the Cardinal of Toledo, and during this time formed a lasting relationship with the Spanish King, which was important during his foreign policy as Pope.

Pope Gregory XIII’s foreign policy was directed to the dangers from the Protestants, and was involved with Philip II’s plan to dethrone Elizabeth I of England, during the period he was Pope , he outfitted adventurer Thomas Stukeley with a ship and an army of 800 men to land in Ireland to aid the First Desmond Rebellion, hoping to overthrow Elizabeth’s rule, this and the Second Desmond Rebellion was unsuccessful. Another embarrassing moment for the papacy was the Massacre of Huguenots in France, although it isn’t clear if he was involved in any way. In Rome he built the Gregorian Chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter. He appointed his illegitimate son, Giacomo, Castellan of St. Angelo and Gonfalonier of the church, and Philip of Spain general in his army. Pope Gregory died in 1585 and was succeeded by Pope Sixtus V.

There is no doubt that Pope Gregory XIII would have known when he decreed that the last minute of the Julian Calendar would be 23:59pm on 4th October 1582, that Sirius was rising in the East in Rome, being a last salute to the calendar that was started in Egypt by Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Sosigenes over 1600 years earlier! Graph at bottom of thread.

However this was very secret esoteric electional astrology, for by taking out ten days this effected midnight and the night sky on 1st January 1583 and then on, as there is another measure that astrologers use that isn’t accurate called “PROJECTED MEASURE”, and is based on fitting all stars on the Ecliptic, being the imaginary path of the Sun throughout the year, however most stars don’t sit on this line and Sirius is one of them. Yet by this measure Sirius is aligned to the center of the sky on January 1st at midnight, astrologers use a margin or orb of one degree, and Sirius by this measure was still there in 1752 when England adopted the Gregorian Calendar, a few decades later this finally become out of synch by precession, however by approx. 1800 the accurate paran took over, thus by the efforts of Pope Gregory XIII we still have Sirius bringing in New Year, by this approach he was able to extend the period of the alignment against procession, by using 2 different measures, that come into play after one had faded, graph below.


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