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I'm upset about the fact that Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholics do not all celebrate one date for Easter.

and as if that wasnt bad enough I've noticed that a lot of Eastern and roman Catholics are split on it too with some EC following the Gregorian and some following the Julian. This upsets me to think that even within the Catholic Church the same date is not celebrated.

We should be all celebrating the great day of Our Lords Resurrection on the same day.

Stephen

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But we do - every Sunday.

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I meant the same Easter date. We should all agree on one date.


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I am a new Western Orthodox in MD, and I was going to ask about this. I do not understand the why of the different calendars. All my friends - R.C. and Protestant, had their Ash Weds. yesterday, and ours is next week; thus the same will be for Easter.
Can someone please give me a clear and simple explanation for this? I don't understand why we don't all use the same calendar.
Thanks much,
abby

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I hope that this article from the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation helps you with this issue. You are certainly not alone on this question and it is one which is caught up with a whole lot of historical baggage and spent passion due to the great schism. http://www.scoba.us/articles/celebrating-easter-pascha.html

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I have friends in the Eastern rites who have told me that they actually appreciate years such as this one when the Julian and Gregorian calendars are out of step. They are from "mixed" families and so they are not forced to choose one family's celebrations over another.

For me, I am very much looking forward to celebrating the Western Triduum, then doing it all over again by spending some vacation time at the close of Western Bright Week so that I can join with my Eastern friends in their celebration.

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I used to think that way but I don't think it's really at all necessary. It's great to have such diversity, and since I'm Roman Catholic but have started sporadically attending a UGC Church using the Julian Calendar, I'm looking forward to going an amazing traditional Easter Vigil, traditional Solemn Latin Easter Morning, and so on, and then going to the Byzantine liturgies for Easter as well the next week :-).


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Thanks DMD for that link. I enjoyed it that its taken the right steps towards unifying these dates. But the written piece itself seems to emphasis more on joining the dates for the convenience of Christians rather than for the Glory of Christ and emphasising that it is indeed what he wants. Because Christs body has been torn enough with all the schisms and splits within Christianity as it is and it's heartbreaking for The Lord more so than it would be for us.

I often try to imagine my family having a quarrel of the correct date of my birthday. And to see different relatives celebrate my birthday on different dates, would to me, be a huge insult and sorrowful. So we can imagine just how Christ feels when we celebrate His Holy Ressurrection on different dates.

I pray that these dates are resolved very soon. We have to forget what is convenient for us and what it is we want, and look to what it is Christ wants.

Wheely

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Amber,

Welcome back, it's been a long while since we've seen a post from you.

Stephen,

Likewise.

David,

Thanks for posting that link. When I first read Amber's query I groaned inwardly at the thought of trying to explain it or watch the posts of others mount up in doing so.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Thanks Neil. There is also a site with a petition to have one date for easter here: http://www.onedate.org/


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Stephen,

Please keep in mind that it was the Roman church who changed the calendar, as it has changed a great many things.

The Eastern churches on the Julian calendar have always remained faithful to the Christian calendar as it was during the first 1500+ years of the Church - give or take a few minor adjustments.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/calendar_faq.aspx

Rome might consider changing the date of it's observation of Pascha/Easter if some feel it is that important.

I pose a question: If churches are not even in communion with one another, what does it matter that they celebrate Great Feasts on the same day - or not?

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And that was refreshingly honest. The Orthodox have retained the Julian calendar mainly because the Gregorian calendar was promulgated by the Pope of Rome.; Everything else is rationalization.

Of course, this ignores the real history of the Church, in both the East and the West, in which the Church utilized whatever civil calendar was in use, assuming that this would be the most accurate. The Julian Calendar, when it was promulgated in 45 BC by Gaius Julius Caesar, was the most accurate then available--much more accurate than the extant Roman, Greek or Jewish calendars. However, the Julian calendar needed period intercalations to keep it aligned with the solar year, and that was the responsibility of the Roman Emperor. They fulfilled this obligation universally until the beginning of the 5th century, after which the collapse of the Western Empire brought the practice to a halt. It continued in the Eastern Empire until the twin cataclysms of the Persian War and the Muslim Conquest. After that, the calendar gradually drifted out of alignment with the sun and the stars.

By the early 19th century, there was a ten day difference between the old and the new calendars, which had a major effect on the history of Europe, During the War of the Third Coalition against Napoleon (1805), the Austrians were on the Gregorian calendar, their allies the Russians on the Julian. The Austrians failed to realize the Russian were using the old calendar, and thus believed the Russian army was far closer to them than was the case. As a result, the Austrian army was surrounded by Napoleon at Ulm and forced to surrender. The Russians were then chased back into Moravia and defeated at the decisive Battle of Austerlitz. Calendar issues have effects beyond the date of Easter.

The silliness of the dispute is revealed by several indisputable facts: The Julian calendar was developed by pagan Egyptian astronomers, but is acceptable for Church use. The intercalations of the Julian calendar were performed by pagan Emperors, and the Church accepted that as well. The canons of the Council of Nicaea involve the calculation of Pascha, and make no reference to the calendar at all, because at the time there was no other calendar. The calendar is not sacred. The Church used the best and most widely accepted calendar to measure sacred time. A Church that understood Tradition would not reflexively reject a better calendar because of its origin, for if it did, it would find the origins of the Julian calendar far more objectionable than those of the Gregorian calendar. So, the roots of the calendar dispute are rooted more in psychology and politics than in science or Tradition. There was a time when, if the Pope of Rome said A, then the Orthodox simply said, "No, B! (Is outrage!)". I would hope we could get beyond that.

While all logic says the Orthodox should adopt the Gregorian calendar (and while most Orthodox jurisdictions in fact use the Gregorian calendar for daily operations), I'm willing to accept that this is not a rational matter, and would therefore advise all the Eastern Catholic Churches to switch to the Julian Paschalion in the name of uniformity among Churches of the same rite.

By the way, does anybody know which calendar the Churches of Mesopotamia and India used for the many centuries that they were isolated from the Roman Empire and the Churches of the West, both Catholic and Orthodox?

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Originally Posted by Rybak
Rome might consider changing the date of it's observation of Pascha/Easter if some feel it is that important.

Or we might do as the The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation recommended in the article referenced by DMD in the post on the previous page:

"The Council of Nicaea was willing to make use of contemporary science to calculate the date of Easter/Pascha. We believe that this principle still holds valid today. Scientific observations about the cosmos reveal the goodness and wonder of God's creation, which he embraced in the incarnation of his Son. Moreover, to deny an observable truth about the world is to reject God's gift to us. As they witness to God's love for the world, our churches need to use the findings of contemporary science as did the Fathers of Nicaea."

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I pose a question: If churches are not even in communion with one another, what does it matter that they celebrate Great Feasts on the same day - or not?
From the same document:

"The consequences of our division on this issue are significant. Interchurch families find themselves in conflict observing two Lenten cycles and two Paschal dates. The world looks on as Christians speak through their celebration with a divided voice. Many are impeded from hearing the Good News of the Resurrection by the scandal of this division. "

Rybak, I'm curious if you took the time to read the article. I get the impression that what happened is precisely what Stuart indicated. The Gregorian calendar came from Rome, and regardless of whether it fixed the things the emperors originally fixed periodically, it must be wrong.

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Padraig, of course I read the article. Did you?

The Gregorian calendar itself is still "inaccurate" if you read the article. So much for the 16th century science behind it. If we want a calendar that is astronomically accurate, it seems we must go back to the drawing board.

Quoting the NA theological dialogue from your post: "The world looks on as Christians speak through their celebration with a divided voice." - this is such a ridiculously limited statement. The Churches are divided on so many points beyond the date of Pascha! How about sacramental theology and ecclesiology? Married clergy? Lots of bigger issues than the calendar.

I agree with Stuart that all eastern churches should be on the Julian Paschalion as it makes no sense that they are all over the board at this point. Some churches like the UGCC even have parishes on different calendars. The UGCC parish in Ottawa is on the Julian for Ukrainian speakers and Gregorian for English speakers - that's just madness.

For some eastern Christians, the calendar is an expression of Holy Tradition and you must understand that when speaking on the issue. It is not simply a matter of changing it for convenience or for dialogue or for any reason really.

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The Gregorian calendar itself is still "inaccurate" if you read the article. So much for the 16th century science behind it. If we want a calendar that is astronomically accurate, it seems we must go back to the drawing board.

That's very much a red herring. The Gregorian calendar is far more accurate than the Julian calendar for daily use, and indeed, accurate enough for most scientific purposes as well. With periodic intercalations, it will remain more than adequate for centuries to come. As opposed to being thirteen days in arrears and growing.

Quote
Quoting the NA theological dialogue from your post: "The world looks on as Christians speak through their celebration with a divided voice." - this is such a ridiculously limited statement. The Churches are divided on so many points beyond the date of Pascha! How about sacramental theology and ecclesiology? Married clergy? Lots of bigger issues than the calendar.


Another fig leaf. If the Council of Nicaea thought it important enough for all the Churches of the world to celebrate Pascha on the same day, maybe having all the Churches celebrating on the same day is not insignificant. I personally don't care which one they pick, and for the sake of people like Rybak, I'm perfectly amenable to the Eastern Catholics universally observing the Julian Paschalion, but ultimately, when Pascha falls on July 4, and you celebrate it with fireworks, maybe they'll take heed of reality.

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For some eastern Christians, the calendar is an expression of Holy Tradition and you must understand that when speaking on the issue. It is not simply a matter of changing it for convenience or for dialogue or for any reason really.

You mean the calendar is an artificial discriminator, a shibboleth used to proclaim one's difference from the "other". Tradition is not mindlessly repeating what the Fathers did, but thinking as they thought.

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