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It’s A Date For Unity This Easter

Archdeacon Patrick Curran writes from Vienna;

“Western and Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter this year on 20 April. This is something special, as for centuries not only differing church doctrines have separated Western and Orthodox Christianity, but also the differing dates of festivals. The date for Easter is not arbitrarily set but calculated according to the story of Easter as told in the Bible. The Gospels tell us that on the third day following His crucifixion, on Good Friday, Jesus Christ rose again on the morning of Easter Sunday during the Jewish Spring Festival Passah.

“According to the Jewish lunar and solar calendar in use at that time, with its fixed dates, for early Christians the resurrection occurred on the 16th day of the Jewish month Nissan. But as Christianity spread into other regions of the world with different ways of measuring time, a unified way of calculating the date of Easter was lost. Nowadays the Eastern Churches, with the exception of the Finnish Orthodox Church, use the Julian calendar and mostly calculate a date differing from the Western Churches, which use the Gregorian calendar.

 

“Whichever calendar is used, in the Orthodox churches it is a general rule that the date for Easter should not be before the Jewish Passah festival. Ecumenical efforts to find a lasting solution for a common date for Easter failed last in 2001 so that in 2015 Easter will be on 5th April in the West and on the 12th in the East. Frankfurt am Main, 9 April 2014 (epd).“