Old Calendarists, also called Stilists in some sources (referring to “old style”), are members of the Orthodox Church, mainly from the eastern provinces of Moldavia and Bessarabia, who refused to accept the reform of the religious calendar introduced in by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1924. The solar aspect of the Revised Julian Calendar was adopted by a number of Orthodox Churches at this time including Constantinople and Greece (similar Old Calendarist movements arose within the jurisdictions of these Churches too). The Old Calendarists also opposed perceived religious syncretism, ecumenism and Freemasonry within the Orthodox Church. The movement became very popular in rural communities and their leaders were mostly Orthodox priests and monks who continued to adhere to the pre-reform Calendar. The Old Calendarist Church and communities of believers were the target of severe persecution at the hands of the state during the interwar period, often encouraged by the official Orthodox Church.
Old Calendarist leaders and communities were continuously harassed and pursued by the secret police and the gendarmerie culminating in violent clashes, especially between 1934 and 1936, which led to the death and arrest of many Old Calendarist believers; these incidents were described by the authorities as "rebellions".
After a short period when the Old Calendarist Orthodox Church was recognized legally by the Romanian state in 1945 under the title The Traditionalist Christian Denomination (Cultul Creștin Tradiționalist) the new communist framework for religious life introduced in 1948 no longer recognized the Church. The persecution of the Old Calendarist Orthodox Church and its members continued during the communist period. Several Romanian Orthodox Church priests and monks joined the Old Calendarist Orthodox Church including bishop Galaction Cordun who consecrated bishops providing the church with its own hierarchy. The leadership of the Church, its clergy and lay members of the community were harassed, repeatedly imprisoned and placed under constant secret police surveillance. However, the Old Calendarist Church managed to maintain a continuous and functioning religious life. During the communist period the Church made multiple unsuccessful attempts to gain legal recognition.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme No . 677355