Marking Time, published in A Sealions Tale July 96
AS some of you good gentles already know, my mundane friend Norman Hopp and I were born on the same day 1000 years apart. However, if you ask Norman what his birth day is he will tell you that it is July 20th while mine is July 12th. The reason for this confusing situation is that Norman was born in the twentieth century when years are reckoned with the Gregorian calendar while I was born in the tenth century when the Julian calendar was in use.
When Julius Caesar made his reform of the Roman calendar in 46 B.C. he decreed that each normal year should contain 365 days. Every fourth year, an additional day was added in the month of February. Thus was born the leap year.
This system worked fairly well at first, but by the time of Pope Gregory XIII in the sixteenth century it had become obvious that the calendar was out of synchronization with the seasons. This was of great concern to the Church as it meant that feats and holidays were no longer falling at their proper place in the year. After consulting with astronomers, pope Gregory decreed that century years ( 900, 1000, etc.) should not be considered leap years unless they were whole number multiples of 400. For instance: by Gregorian reckoning 1900 is not a leap year while 2000 is a leap year.
This change in calendars explains the difference in the dates of my birth and Normans’. There were 10 century years in the millennium that separated our births. According to Julian reckoning all those century years were leap years and 10 extra days would have been added to the calendar. According to the Gregorian reckoning only 1200 and 1600 were leap years and only 2 extra days were added to the calendar. If you subtract the 8 days difference from Normans’ birth day (July 20) you get July 12, my birth day!
In light of this you may be wondering, “Which calendar did Bishop Ussher use in his calculation of the date of creation and how does this affect the Hexamillennium?”
Protestant countries did not adopt the Gregorian calendar immediately. It was not until 1752 that Great Britain and her colonies adopted the reform. Since James Ussher was an Anglican Bishop it is likely that he used the calendar then in use in the British Isles i.e. the Julian calendar. If this is the case the actual date of the Hexamillennium would not be until December 7, 1996 Gregorian.
In light of the fact that out celebration of the Hexamillennium had already been pushes back from October 23rd to October 26th due to mundane considerations, I would not worry overly about this actuality. Mother Earth alone knows how accurate Bishop Ussher’s’ calculations were and she keeps her secrets well.