NCC calls for common date of Easter

For the second year in a row – due to an unusual coincidence of calendars and moon phases – Easter will be observed on the same Sunday in all Christian traditions.

Most years, Easter – the celebration of the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead – is celebrated on different dates in western churches and most Orthodox churches because of ancient discrepancies in calculating the calendar. This year Easter is celebrated by all traditions on April 24th.

Now the National Council of Churches is renewing a call to Christians to make this happen every year and agree on a common date to celebrate the most important event in Christian history.

Read the rest here.

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5 comments

  1. This lofty talk of ecumenism from all sides ( “we are committed irrevocably to ecumenism….. blah blah blah blah”) has yet to notch up one real win.

    The establishment of Easter as the 1st Sunday in April, for example, should be within the realms of possibility.

    My own Christian heritage traces back to the Middle East; my father being Eastern Orthodox & mother Maronite Catholic. Having two Easters in the Middle East is a scandal.

    So much talk, so little to show for it.

  2. It is instructive to consider how such odium theologicum can arise over a question with so little theology behind it. Both sides, for example, are equally keen to adhere to the (disciplinary) provisions of Nicaea. Intransigence on this issue gives us a yardstick for predicting the likelihood of convergence on any question of real theological significance.

  3. Well, the problem for the Orthodox is that they don’t have a mechanism to shift from their current calendrical usage without risk of schism. No one can fix this for them, or ignore it.

    It would seem the least risky first step would be for the Western Churches to adopt the Orthodox computus/calendar for this purpose. That would have no effect on the Gregorian civil calendar, nor would it overturn a doctrinal or dogmatic teaching – the computation of the Pasch is a disciplinary matter.

  4. Thanks Karl. Yes we cannot just expect the Orthodox to be able to join in a new date/calculation.

    But it would be a bit of a shock for the entire west to adopt theirs, as at times the date is well into May.

    I’ve often thought- go back to the earliest method when the question of Easter on Sunday was being settled– the Sunday following the actual Jewish Passoverr each yerar. ( The Orthodox specifically object to Easter falling before the actual Jewish Passover)

    The West including the Holy See would, I think not have any problem.
    But again, baseing it directly on onging Jewish religion might prove hard for all the Orthodox to agree on.

    Mark Miller

    1. The Passover issue is complicated by the fact that rabbinical Jews changed the way they dealt with leap years in the calendar a generation *after* Nicaea I, so we should realize that there is some anachronism involved on that point. In any event, following the modern Jewish calendar would still cause Easter to fall in May at times, so I don’t see the advantage in choosing that over simply following the Orthodox method.

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