Christian calendar


A liturgical cycle embracing the seasons, feasts, weeks, and days of the entire year in uninterrupted continuity. The variable and oldest part centers about Easter. The custom of celebrating Easter on the Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox finally prevailed. Upon the date of Easter depends the entire period from Septuagesima Sunday to Easter including Lent and Passion tide. The date of Easter also determines the whole festal period after Easter, including the Ascension and closing with Pentecost, and its octave. Furthermore it determines the following feasts that were introduced much later:

  • Patronage of Saint Joseph
  • Trinity Sunday
  • Corpus Christi
  • Sacred Heart

Like Easter, Christmas exercised an important influence upon the Christian calendar; Epiphany, 6 January, originally commemorated Christ’s Nativity. When the commemoration was placed 25 December (before 354), it determined the date of other feasts:

The four Sundays before Christmas are counted in order as Sundays of Advent. To join Pentecost with Advent, it was determined eventually to count the Sundays of this period as Sundays after Pentecost. Regarding the feasts of saints fixed to almost every day of the year, those of martyrs were first added to the calendar, later also those of non-martyrs. Ancient documents containing lists of feasts are divided into calendars and martyrologies. One of the most important is the so-called Philocalian Calendar, compiled by Furius Dionysius Philocalus (354).

MLA Citation

  • “Christian calendar”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 March 2010. Web. 19 July 2018. <>