Gregorian Calendar

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The Gregorian calendar is the calendar in contemporary use.

The modern calendar began its existence in the Christian era, in 526, started by Pope John I. The chronologist of the Pope, Dionysius Exiguus, worked further on the calendar, especially concerning Easter.

During the Middle Ages, some problems were discovered with the use of the Julian calendar: every century had three to four days too many. In the sixteenth century the mistake grew to 10 days. Therefore, in 1582, it was decided that the calendar needed reform. Pope Gregory XIII decreed that October 4 should be followed by October 15 at once. Also, he decided that all of the leap days of the full century years which were not dividable by 400 would be omitted. In this manner, 1900 was not a leap year, 2000 was a leap year, and 2100 will not be.

The average duration of the Gregorian year is 365.2425 days. The diffirence with the real tropical year (365.2422) is so small that a new reformation will be needed in very, very distant future.

The Gregorian calendar was worked on by the Calabrian medicician Aloysius Lilius, as well as by the papal commissioner C. Clavius, before it reached the modern usage.

The new calendar came into use very slowly:

  • England and colonies (Northern America) in 1752;
  • Germany (as a whole) in 1776;
  • Sweden in 1823; and
  • Russia in 1918.
  • In The Netherlands the calendar took its start at different stages, in different provinces.