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ajk #414497 01/14/16 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ajk
The problem is inconsistency in acknowledging Nicaea's rule and a 2000 year effort by both East and West to follow it and then the solution that the West must accommodate the East by determining the date of Easter by a method that is inferior and in serious error relative to the prescription of the Council of Nicaea I. The error is that the Julian calendar and its Paschalion are inaccurate to such an obvious and objective extent that it puts Easter at a time (more often than not) that goes against the Council of Nicaea. The sun and the moon are witness to this.

Brother Deacon Anthony,

While it is true that the Fathers of I Nicaea did call for precise astronomical calculations to determine the date of Pascha, let us not forget that their very first concern was that all Churches should be celebrating Pascha on the same day.

Furthermore, it is my understanding that the Fathers of I Nicaea actually agreed to have every local Church communicate with the Alexandrian school of astronomy to get the date for Pascha each year, and that this solution simply didn't work in practice. Then (some 70 years after the Council), the astronomers of Alexandria took the initiative to produce a simple formula that could be used by anyone with a basic knowledge of arithmetic to calculate the date of Pascha each year, and it was only after this that the initial and most fundamental mandate of I Nicaea regarding the date of Pascha--namely, that all Churches should be celebrating Pascha on the same day--began to be realized.

From this perspective, then, the Orthodox position on this issue doesn't seem so ludicrous after all.


Peace,
Deacon Richard


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Not that I care one way or another, but I can live with either dating scheme. I wonder if the Julian calendar will eventually put Easter in September, if it gets more off and inaccurate. LOL.

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Eventually, it will lap (Gregorian) Christmas . . . and eventually, will produce astronomical/calendar years in which there are no, or two, Easters . . .

As for me, I'd dump the tables entirely, and go back the pure astronomical calculations.

hawk

dochawk #414509 01/15/16 07:47 AM
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It seems the ancient Egyptians ran into a similar problem. After the passage of enough time, the "wet" months were dry, and the "dry" months were wet. The errors in their calendar had compounded over time and everything was off.

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Originally Posted by Epiphanius
Originally Posted by ajk
The problem is inconsistency in acknowledging Nicaea's rule and a 2000 year effort by both East and West to follow it and then the solution that the West must accommodate the East by determining the date of Easter by a method that is inferior and in serious error relative to the prescription of the Council of Nicaea I. The error is that the Julian calendar and its Paschalion are inaccurate to such an obvious and objective extent that it puts Easter at a time (more often than not) that goes against the Council of Nicaea. The sun and the moon are witness to this.

Brother Deacon Anthony,

While it is true that the Fathers of I Nicaea did call for precise astronomical calculations to determine the date of Pascha, let us not forget that their very first concern was that all Churches should be celebrating Pascha on the same day.

Furthermore, it is my understanding that the Fathers of I Nicaea actually agreed to have every local Church communicate with the Alexandrian school of astronomy to get the date for Pascha each year, and that this solution simply didn't work in practice. Then (some 70 years after the Council), the astronomers of Alexandria took the initiative to produce a simple formula that could be used by anyone with a basic knowledge of arithmetic to calculate the date of Pascha each year, and it was only after this that the initial and most fundamental mandate of I Nicaea regarding the date of Pascha--namely, that all Churches should be celebrating Pascha on the same day--began to be realized.
From this perspective, then, the Orthodox position on this issue doesn't seem so ludicrous after all.
Peace,
Deacon Richard

Deacon Richard,

Indeed, the prescription of I Nicaea was mandated to achieve unity in the celebration of Pascha. Those who acknowledge the authority of that mandate should study it, apply it and then follow it. When the best application was the Alexandrian paschalion it was properly followed. When it became apparent that there were problems with its accuracy, errors that were and would be ever increasing, it needed correction.

For the sake of the unity that I Nicaea desired it does not make sense to me to abandon the very rule that I Nicaea put in place to achieve that unity. Both are presently achievable. Why settle for less?

Some may say that it's just a man-made rule, and that is true, but it achieves in a symbolic way the sense of every generation of Christians participating as though today -- the liturgical hodie of the Latin west and the σήμερον (sēmeron) of the Greek East -- by observing the same sequence of celestial events -- vernal equinox, full moon, Sunday -- as at the time of the resurrection. I think this solution of the Council Fathers was quite brilliant and a precious gift to the Church that should not be abandoned or diminished by knowingly inaccurate application. The Aleppo document (see link in previous post) explains it well, in particular (ii):

Quote
(i) The Church needs to be reminded of its origins, including the close link between the biblical passover and the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ - a link that reflects the total flow of salvation history. In the estimation of this consultation, a fixed date would obscure and weaken this link by eliminating any reference to the biblical norms for the calculation of the passover.


Quote
(ii) Easter/Pascha has a cosmic dimension. Through Christ's resurrection, the sun, the moon, and all the elements are restored to their primordial capacity for declaring God's glory (Ps. 19:1-2, 148:3). Easter/Pascha reveals the close link between creation and redemption, as inseparable aspects of God's revelation. The Nicene principles for calculating the date of Easter/Pascha, based as they are on the cycles of sun and moon, reflect this cosmic dimension much more fully than a fixed-date system.

Quote
(iii) In addition to underscoring many important symbolic aspects of the feast, a movable date for the observance of Easter/Pascha also indicates in palpable fashion the dramatic way in which the resurrection breaks into the comfortable routines of this world. While such a date may in some respects be less convenient than a fixed Sunday, it does call attention to a significant theological point which otherwise might be overlooked.


Deacon Anthony

byzanTN #414515 01/15/16 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by byzanTN
Not that I care one way or another, but I can live with either dating scheme. I wonder if the Julian calendar will eventually put Easter in September, if it gets more off and inaccurate. LOL.
Knowing what I Nicaea mandated why would a scheme that moved Easter away from the mandated time be ok?

dochawk #414516 01/15/16 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dochawk
As for me, I'd dump the tables entirely, and go back the pure astronomical calculations.
There are no "pure astronomical calculations" to "go back" to.

Implicit in I Nicaea's formula is an understanding that some suitable approximate, idealized scheme would be achieved and not necessarily a yearly exact astronomical calculation. All places on earth cannot simultaneously follow the mandate AND observe Pascha on the same day or, if following a calendar, date.

The Aleppo conference suggested, quite reasonably, Jerusalem and its meridian for making the determination. The Sunday so determined would then be observed throughout the world at the time when that Sunday occurred.

One thing not disputed is the day of the week in the 7 day cycle. A calendar is not need to adhere to the Council's mandate in the essential factors (a calendar is required to have the equinox on March 21). So for whatever meridian is chosen one observes the vernal equinox (by some acceptable though not inherent definition), the full moon, and then the following Sunday. Anyone can then mark that next Sunday on whatever calendar they want and all celebrate Pascha on the same day (to within a day which is all that can be expected) but not necessarily the same date.

The practical solution before computers and virtually instantaneous communication was to go from a calendar with associated tables to a predicted date. Both the Jullian and Gregorian calendars with their associated tables do this.

So, if you go from calculation to calendar there is no problem or discrepancy. If you have a dysfunctional calendar, like the Jullian, you find that the calculated date doesn't always accord with what the calendar predicts for the vernal equinox.




ajk #414517 01/15/16 11:28 AM
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The members of the council were far more knowledgeable on matters of doctrine than science. To what degree did they even know the Julian calendar was inaccurate? Probably not much. At that time, the known world was considerably smaller. It may have been an easier task to celebrate on the same day. They couldn't even conceive that the world was larger than what they knew. I suspect they didn't know so much about time zones, either. In short, their knowledge was limited.

These are part of the reasons I find the whole calendar debate absurd, even though some are willing to go to war over it. Add to that, no one knows accurately when the resurrection actually occurred on any calendar, ancient or modern. It's all arbitrary.

byzanTN #414518 01/15/16 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by byzanTN
The members of the council were far more knowledgeable on matters of doctrine than science. To what degree did they even know the Julian calendar was inaccurate? Probably not much.
You give the ancients too little credit, at least where astronomy/astrology is concerned in terms of what was desired for a calendar. Nicaea I knew the equinox had moved from Caesar's date of 25 March to 21 March which is the date they gave, correctly, for the equinox. They knew enough and got the formula correct.

Originally Posted by byzanTN
At that time, the known world was considerably smaller. It may have been an easier task to celebrate on the same day.
Actually it was difficult and took a while to reach anything resembling unanimity.

Originally Posted by byzanTN
They couldn't even conceive that the world was larger than what they knew. I suspect they didn't know so much about time zones, either. In short, their knowledge was limited.
They knew they were still learning as should we.

Originally Posted by byzanTN
These are part of the reasons I find the whole calendar debate absurd, even though some are willing to go to war over it. Add to that, no one knows accurately when the resurrection actually occurred on any calendar, ancient or modern. It's all arbitrary.
No war, just reason and the ability to read the words. It's not arbitrary if you want to follow the Council. You are fixated, tainted, by a newspaper account, chronological view of what the Church has accomplished in what you term "absurd." Read the excerpts from Aleppo that I quoted explicitly. Is that explanation "absurd"? Read the prescription of I Nicaea the way you read the Gospels and NOT, as I trust you do not demand of the Gospels, in which "no one knows accurately" either, in the manner you demand.

Exact chronology occurred at the time of the resurrection and the Church NEVER aims for such as the necessary goal as when the Church sings in its liturgy "today."

Read and learn. Suppose we knew the exact date of the resurrection as you say and we agree it occurred on a known date of some agreed upon calendar. That may seem perfect to some but then we'd be celebrating Pascha on that perfectly known date on all the days of the week, not just Sunday, as the Church demanded. The issue is vexing but not absurd.

ajk #414519 01/15/16 02:35 PM
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Astronomy/astrology? They knew astrology much better than astronomy and didn't have satellites, telescopes, and other devices to accurately make measurements. Let's say they did well with the limited knowledge they had.

Unanimity? Not likely to happen at anytime on this earth. Since the east/west split, even more unlikely.

Learning? Yes, and I hope that never stops.

Absurd? Perhaps, especially since we don't have accurate transcripts from the council. Most of that was lost over time.

Gospels and Easter date? Not the same order of being. Gospels are divine revelation, Easter is a contrived, and arbitrary calendar date.

Exact date of resurrection? There would still be disagreement because east and west prefer to argue rather than cooperate.

Vexing? Yes, but as I mentioned above, some would go to war over those calendar dates. Not worth it by any means, and a distraction from the real job of the church, evangelization and the saving of souls.

byzanTN #414521 01/15/16 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by byzanTN
Astronomy/astrology? They knew astrology much better than astronomy and didn't have satellites, telescopes, and other devices to accurately make measurements. Let's say they did well with the limited knowledge they had.
Quite well. As a scientist myself I'm impressed with much of what was accomplished and known. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, though, to appreciate what the directive of I Nicaea accomplished. And of course in the 16th c. the Church produces a calendar, "The Gregorian Calendar" that, according to The United States Naval Observatory, "is the standard international calendar for civil use."

Originally Posted by byzanTN
Unanimity? Not likely to happen at anytime on this earth. Since the east/west split, even more unlikely.
I have greater hopes. The facts are there and reason has prevailed on numerous occasions. It is fear of further offending the obstinate children in the rift that keeps many back from advancing with what they know to be valid and proper. At the worse extreme, the Julian calendar has been made by them into their golden calf.

Originally Posted by byzanTN
Learning? Yes, and I hope that never stops.
A good start is the Aleppo document. Did you read it? What did you think of the excerpts I posted?

Originally Posted by byzanTN
Absurd? Perhaps, especially since we don't have accurate transcripts from the council. Most of that was lost over time.
I invite you to rethink saying it's "absurd." What the Council presumably wanted as stated numerous times is NOT, I repeat NOT disputed. We, east and west, have the words and agree. The problem is in the application.

Originally Posted by byzanTN
Gospels and Easter date? Not the same order of being. Gospels are divine revelation,...
I did not suggest equating the Gospels and the determination of Easter. I did suggested you read the prescription of Nicaea I as its proper genre just as you would or should read the Gospels according to their unique genre.


Originally Posted by byzanTN
...Easter is a contrived, and arbitrary calendar date.
So I guess you didn't read the Aleppo statement or the specific portions I quoted.

Originally Posted by byzanTN
Exact date of resurrection? There would still be disagreement because east and west prefer to argue rather than cooperate.
Don't be such a pessimist.

Originally Posted by byzanTN
Vexing? Yes, but as I mentioned above, some would go to war over those calendar dates. Not worth it by any means, and a distraction from the real job of the church, evangelization and the saving of souls.
If we, the Church, with God's grace and the Holy Spirit can evangelize and save souls, then we can settle on the observance of the feast of feasts -- ἄξιον, it is worthy.


ajk #414522 01/15/16 06:12 PM
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I read the Aleppo document. It is another committee report by the WCC which has a gift for producing quantities of paper equal to anything from Washington. However, there would be nothing wrong with a common date for Easter and I am not against it.

I am not sure to what degree the Latins are involved, but this is not a hill I would think they would die on. Yes, unity, separation, and divided, all the buzz words we hear from every liberal organization. Many, however, have significant doctrinal issues with the WCC. the word "unity" when used by left-leaning organizations means simply, "stop being so rigid and obsessed with doctrine and go along with us." Some wouldn't buy that dog. A common date for Easter would not bridge those differences and create any meaningful "unity."

Perhaps a common date could be a possibility, although with the current state of the world, both east and west have more important things to worry about - like radical Islam, and survival in a world that considers Christianity increasingly irrelevant.

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Your point about the Gregorian calendar being "correct" begs the question, "Correct in what exact way?"
I have told you and will tell you again: The Gregorian calendar properly quantifies the tropical year as a good calendar should; it keeps the seasons and related astronomical events, like the equinoxes and solstices, fixed. Why do you think the Gregorian calendar is the standard international calendar and the Julian is not?

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
In fact, we had a thread year some time ago where a scientific community - astronomers, I think, but I could be wrong - do in fact use the Julian calendar for purposes of calculation etc.
Not a fact at all; you are quite wrong. Astronomers use the Julian date/day NOT the Julian calendar.

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
At the same time, even when we see the Gregorian calendar to be correct, that doesn't resolve the issue of the anomalies to the Christian liturgical year that the Gregorian calendar has introduced (about which Fr. Keleher wrote extensively).
There are no such anomalies. Fr. Serge (of blessed memory) was quite wrong in his appraisal.

byzanTN #414524 01/15/16 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by byzanTN
I read the Aleppo document. It is another committee report by the WCC which has a gift for producing quantities of paper equal to anything from Washington. However, there would be nothing wrong with a common date for Easter and I am not against it.
Two points.

1) The signators indicates extensive Orthodox participation.

2) Go beyond the preconceived bureaucratic stereotype to what was actually written. I think it's good stuff: good theology and good science. For example (repeating):
Quote
(ii) Easter/Pascha has a cosmic dimension. Through Christ's resurrection, the sun, the moon, and all the elements are restored to their primordial capacity for declaring God's glory (Ps. 19:1-2, 148:3). Easter/Pascha reveals the close link between creation and redemption, as inseparable aspects of God's revelation. The Nicene principles for calculating the date of Easter/Pascha, based as they are on the cycles of sun and moon, reflect this cosmic dimension much more fully than a fixed-date system.

ajk #414525 01/15/16 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by dochawk
As for me, I'd dump the tables entirely, and go back the pure astronomical calculations.
There are no "pure astronomical calculations" to "go back" to.


To be clear, am referring to the edicts of Nicea, not the bases the Council Fathers used to reach them.

hawk

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