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Originally Posted by Mockingbird
Originally Posted by ajk
The haggle at the time of Nicaea was with the Quartodecimians.
As I read the sources, this is not the case. The controversy at Nicea ....
A good point although I'd say it may not have been the case, the former understanding of the controversy as being with the Quartodecimians still having some, though it appears diminished, bearing. Those being, or being termed, Quartodecimians were still around (according to a secondary source) and in contention with Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407).

So, better, a "haggle at the time of Nicaea was with the Quartodecimians." In the context, however, my focus (bold) , is the "haggle at the time of Nicaea" not just the Council. I'm referring to the 300 years as noted:
Originally Posted by byzanTN
Their system works as well as any determination could when made 300 years after the fact, and isn't worth haggling over.
What is it about the 300 year gap that has relevance? My questions were addressed specifically to byzanTN because he made the point but I'm asking in general, from scratch, to the forum: What is it that we need to know to reach the most informed prescription, the best decision, on when Pascha should be celebrated, and given that information, what is the best way -- method, date, day of the week, etc. -- to designate the annual event?

As a side point, if the initial Quartodecimian controversy were in fact all but settled, and the Council was actually just deciding against a Sunday in accord with the Jewish reckoning of Passsover, then the Old Calendarist's insistence and others who apply their ad hoc logic, that "of course we must celebrate after the Jews, that's the right order of course," are even more specifically wrong by invoking a rule that is directly in opposition to the Council's.

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Originally Posted by ajk
To summarize then, 2 questions to help me understand your position:

1. Should Easter be only on a Sunday?

2a. if yes, what information, historical or otherwise, is needed to best determine what Sunday that is?
2b. If no, what best determines the day of the year to observe Easter?

The elephant in the discussion is that with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar the seven day Sunday cycle was broken.

When that calendar was adopted in England and its North American colonies eleven days were cut.

Had the conversion occurred at a multiple of seven days the weekly cycle would have remained intact.



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Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker
The elephant in the discussion is that with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar the seven day Sunday cycle was broken.
No it wasn't.

ajk #416901 04/18/17 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ajk
[If] the Council was actually just deciding against a Sunday in accord with the Jewish reckoning of Passsover, then the Old Calendarist's insistence and others who apply their ad hoc logic, that "of course we must celebrate after the Jews, that's the right order of course," are even more specifically wrong by invoking a rule that is directly in opposition to the Council's.
You're right. The only things the council explicitly declared were unanimity and independence of the Jewish calendar. Those who insist that the Julian computus has some built-in mathematical dependence on the Rabbinic calendar are ignoring one of the council's best-documented decisions. Then there is also the matter that the Rabbinic calendar did not even exist at the time of the Council.

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Originally Posted by Mockingbird
Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker
The elephant in the discussion is that with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar the seven day Sunday cycle was broken.
No it wasn't.
Indeed. The elephant in these discussions is the assumed error(s) that must be present, of course, in the Gregorian reform. The corrections, whenever they occur, are done by the calendar conforming to the uninterrupted progression of the days of the week. For instance in the original correction, Thursday, 4 October 1582 was followed by Friday, 15 October 1582, with ten days dropped. The date shifts keeping the progression of the days. A (biblically influenced) calendar is a construction overlaying what can be considered the intrinsic 7-day cycle of Genesis.

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Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker
Originally Posted by ajk
To summarize then, 2 questions to help me understand your position:

1. Should Easter be only on a Sunday?

2a. if yes, what information, historical or otherwise, is needed to best determine what Sunday that is?
2b. If no, what best determines the day of the year to observe Easter?

The elephant in the discussion is that with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar the seven day Sunday cycle was broken.

When that calendar was adopted in England and its North American colonies eleven days were cut.

Had the conversion occurred at a multiple of seven days the weekly cycle would have remained intact.
That the conversion to the Gregorian calendar was done without breaking the weekly cycle is also demonstrated by observation: a Sunday on the Julian calendar is also a Sunday on the Gregorian.

Again, to all, what about the questions?

Here are some of my thoughts which may still miss some subtleties. I have no problem with the perpetual tables -- the Julian and Gregorian -- that are good enough-- only the Gregorian. Consider instead precise astronomical calculations as was done at the Aleppo meeting for specific conditions (equinox and after the full moon at Jerusalem). It seems the intent voiced by the Fathers was that Pascha be after the full moon. In accordance with scripture and the need to be able to observe a lunar event that gives sufficient time to prepare, however, it is the new moon and not the full moon that is the determining event. It is then sufficient to count to the 14th day of the moon after which Pascha is the next Sunday. For this approach, how are the days of the moon counted, evening-to-evening or midnight-to-midnight? Since as in the Gregorian reform it was important to fix March 21 to the equinox, why not choose the place for determination as the one with the least deviation of the equinox from a given calendar date (in this case March 21)? If the calculations I've seen are correct, that meridian (coincidentally) passes over the US Capitol.

This presumes the approach of Nicaea but again there are others. What are the data, information, facts that are needed about the death and resurrection of Christ that might allow a more informed way of designating Easter/Pascha?

ajk #416904 04/20/17 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ajk
[quote=Mockingbird]Those being, or being termed, Quartodecimians were still around (according to a secondary source) and in contention with Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407).
Scholar Sacha Stern has pointed out that the word "Quartodeciman" is not reliably attested until after the Council of Nicea. It appears in a chapter heading in the surviving manuscript of a work attributed to Hippolytus, but chapter headings might well be later than the text itself. Therefore to call the 2nd-century practice of Polycrates "quartodeciman" is anachronistic.

He has also pointed out that there is no evidence of continuous observance of the Nisan-14 practice from Polycrates's time to the later 4th century, and has proposed that the late 4th-century quartodeciman practice was a protest, cribbed out of Eusebius's history, against heavy-handed enforcement of the Nicene decision, rather than a continuation of Polycrates's practice.

However that may be, it is not self-evident that the Nisan-14 practice of Polycrates is older than the Sunday practice. In Eusebius's account, both are old and traditional by the time the controversy arises in the late 2nd century. Indeed, the Nisan-14 practice looks somewhat contrived. Eusebius and Polycrates are both clear that the Asians ended their fast on the 14th of Nisan, not on the 15th. This suggests that they ended their fast during the hours of daylight on the 14th, not waiting for sunset. This is not a continuation of any traditional Jewish practice that I know of. Indeed, if the "fast of the firstborn" was practiced as early as the 2nd century, the Nisan-14 practice of Polycrates might well have been a Christian retort to the fast of the firstborn.

The Sunday practice, on the other hand, looks like something that Christians could have arrived at easily. Sunday was a Christian holiday from the very beginning. There is nothing inconsistent about Christians singling out the one Sunday a year that falls within the week of Unleavened Bread for special esteem.

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Originally Posted by Mockingbird
Scholar Sacha Stern has pointed out that the word "Quartodeciman" is not reliably attested until after the Council of Nicea. It appears in a chapter heading in the surviving manuscript of a work attributed to Hippolytus, but chapter headings might well be later than the text itself. Therefore to call the 2nd-century practice of Polycrates "quartodeciman" is anachronistic...
Terms come into use and then are routinely applied retroactively, ex postfacto, It is good to know when such terms actually are documented. So, for example, the United States declared its independence 4-JUL-1776, although the designation United States was enacted 9-SEP-1776, and our earliest fellow Christians are Peter, James, John, etc., although "in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians." (Act 11:26 RSV)

Originally Posted by Mockingbird
However that may be, it is not self-evident that the Nisan-14 practice of Polycrates is older than the Sunday practice... The Sunday practice, on the other hand, looks like something that Christians could have arrived at easily.
The impression I have gotten is that the two practices were parallel traditions each claiming apostolic connections. Sunday for the weekly observance also has, "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread." (Act 20:7 RSV) The extension to the annual observance seems straightforward yet, there is:

Quote
In his study The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, the Lutheran scriptural scholar Joachim Jeremias made a compelling argument that the Quartodecimans preserved the original understanding and character of the Christian Easter (Passover) celebration...
Major liturgical scholars such as Louis Bouyer and Alexander Schmemann concur with Jeremias' essential position and one has only to examine the Christian liturgical texts for Paschal Vigil to see evidence of this...
link [en.wikipedia.org]

History is important and should continue to inform us ... even as it continues to be worked out,

ajk #416950 04/29/17 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ajk
Quote
In his study The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, the Lutheran scriptural scholar Joachim Jeremias made a compelling argument that the Quartodecimans preserved the original understanding and character of the Christian Easter (Passover) celebration...
Major liturgical scholars such as Louis Bouyer and Alexander Schmemann concur with Jeremias' essential position and one has only to examine the Christian liturgical texts for Paschal Vigil to see evidence of this...
link [en.wikipedia.org]
I have some familiarity with those texts. The texts presuppose a link between the death and resurrection of Jesus, on the one hand, and the two Jewish observances of Passover and Unleavened Bread on the other. But I am aware of nothing in them that can be construed as a rejection of the Sunday practice.

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Originally Posted by Mockingbird
I have some familiarity with those texts. The texts presuppose a link between the death and resurrection of Jesus, on the one hand, and the two Jewish observances of Passover and Unleavened Bread on the other. But I am aware of nothing in them that can be construed as a rejection of the Sunday practice.
Since the texts as we now have them are in the context of an already well-established Sunday observance of the annual Pascha, they would not be understood as a rejection of that tradition, nor are they. The weekly commemoration of Sunday as the Lord's Day, the day of the Resurrection, seems unambiguous and accepted as such given the Gospels' chronology, that the burial was hasty because of the impending Sabbath:
Quote
Mark 16:1-2 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
The annual commemoration, the methodology for reckoning it, is and has been witnessed by differing customs, including non-Sunday observance. In the context of a forum post that deemed the ~300 year gap wanting in sufficient detail to come up with an unequivocal solution, I put forth the questions, what is it that needs to be known and, if known, what would be the verdict.

Originally Posted by Mockingbird
Indeed, the Nisan-14 practice looks somewhat contrived.
The generations of (early) Christians who so practiced would, and did, disagree with that assessment.

Then there are those today who would scrap the present spring-moon-Sunday approach as contrived or simply arbitrary. How should the chronology of the passion and resurrection of Jesus be mapped onto a subsequent yearly observance, a commemoration of the events, by His Church? What are the priorities, what is the relevant theology? What is the eschatological focus and is it just for today, does it change with the needs of the times, or is there rather a core tradition that required discernment and reception? ... that still requires discernment and reception, acceptance?


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Forgive the intrusion. Here's something to consider: the Julian Calendar has a built in correction to get it more astronomically accurate called "the leap year". Leap years can be added or subtracted to suit the needs of the time (or astronomical calculation) without massaging schism. The introduction of the New Calendar into the Orthodox Church has caused painful divisions and separated Orthodox Christians. Revising the Paschalion would be a sin against the unity of the Church as it would cause further acrimony and, perhaps, insurmountable divisions. If one is interested in promoting Christian unity, at very least one should consider returning to the Paschalion of Nicea as a show of good faith which could encourage dialogue.

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Originally Posted by RussoRuthenianOGC
Here's something to consider: the Julian Calendar has a built in correction to get it more astronomically accurate called "the leap year". Leap years can be added or subtracted to suit the needs of the time (or astronomical calculation) without massaging schism.
The built in correction is Caesar's leap year and it is not an adequate correction. A proper method where " [l]eap years can be added or subtracted to suit the needs of the time (or astronomical calculation)" has already been worked out over 400 years ago and has become the common calendar for most of the world; it is the Gregorian calendar.

Originally Posted by RussoRuthenianOGC
The introduction of the New Calendar into the Orthodox Church has caused painful divisions and separated Orthodox Christians.
What is the "New Calendar"? Who is culpable for the divisions, those who correct or those who oppose? According to an old catechism, there are six sins against the Holy Spirit:

1 Presumption
2 Despair
3 Resisting the known truth
4 Envy of another's spiritual good
5 Obstinacy in sin
6 Final impenitence

Old-calendar zealots should seriously consider number 3. The rational arguments against the Julian Paschalion are astronomical in the fullest sense of the word.


Originally Posted by RussoRuthenianOGC
Revising the Paschalion would be a sin against the unity of the Church as it would cause further acrimony and, perhaps, insurmountable divisions. If one is interested in promoting Christian unity, at very least one should consider returning to the Paschalion of Nicea as a show of good faith which could encourage dialogue.
There is no single, unambiguous "Paschalion of Nicea."




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1. By adding or subtracting leap years as necessary, astronomical corrections can be made accurately without schism. The New Calendar is not the Gregorian Calendar, which was anathemized by three local synods of ecumenical character in the Orthodox Church, but, rather, the "Meletian Calendar," created by a Serbian mathematician, which is supposed to be more accurate and astronomically precise than the Gregorian Calendar. The calculations of either are easily and more practically (in terms of the needs of the faithful) corrected by the omission or addition of leap years: and this won't cause schism but will achieve astronomical accuracy. The opposite choice of ham-handed imposition of a calendar which time travels is hard to account for at best: to wit, where did ten days go when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted? Where did thirteen days go when the New Calendar was adopted? Did we time travel in the seventeenth and twentieth century? No. So this artificial silliness could have been more smoothly done by omission of leap years ten or thirteen times. Without causing divisions amongst Christians.

2. Those people who have broken with the common celebration of feasts, broken with the historical Church and the majority of the Church today, are responsible for the divisions and not 85% of World Orthodoxy (which follows the calendar and Paschalion established at Nicea). The Church historically would have called them renegades and innovators, not held those who maintain liturgical unity with the historical church and 85% of the Church today (the Catholic reality of the Church) accountable. 85% of the Orthodox world does live at the fringes - it is neither "Old Calendarist zealot" nor "New Calendarist innovator". It is simply faithful and Orthodox. No, it is not disobedient or a sin to refuse to place the Church's discipline at the whim of a constantly revising, SECULAR science: it is proper stewardship, fidelity, and obedience to the Church. Secular science also teaches us that men evolved from apes, that there is no such thing as a cold fire, that the dead cannot rise again. The Church teaches otherwise. Faithful Orthodox Christians give obedience to the Church's discipline.

3. The Paschalion established at Nicea as received by the Orthodox Catholic Church and transmitted by her unto our day is the Paschalion Nicea obliges all Christians who wish unity with the Church to observe. It anathemizes those who don't or would celebrate Pascha on another day. For Orthodox Christians this is sacrosanct. Those bodies which are not in Communion with our Church are encouraged to celebrate Pascha with us as a sign that there is good faith and actual intent to reestablish unity. Such an act would help further dialogue.

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Originally Posted by RussoRuthenianOGC
1. By adding or subtracting leap years as necessary, astronomical corrections can be made accurately without schism. ...The opposite choice of ham-handed imposition of a calendar which time travels is hard to account for at best: to wit, where did ten days go when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted? Where did thirteen days go when the New Calendar was adopted? Did we time travel in the seventeenth and twentieth century? No. So this artificial silliness could have been more smoothly done by omission of leap years ten or thirteen times. Without causing divisions amongst Christians.
This proposal of "adding or subtracting leap years" (that is, omitting the leap day) is an implicit acknowledgment that the Julian calendar is erroneous. The method would take 13 x 4 years = 52 years to accomplish but is functionally the same kind of "time travel" as the 10 and 13 day corrections, though less obvious (no Feb. 29) and done over a longer period, 52 years. As to where did the 10 or 13 days go, that's easy: they went to the same place as the omitted 10 or 13 leap days, only all at once.

Overall, I can only repeat the comments in my last post, a fortiori.

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Your last comments were addressed, rebutted and set aside.

Since leap years exist in both the Gregorian and Meletian calendars, by your logic they are just as inaccurate. It isn't time travel to omit 29, February which already occurs only in order to correct the inaccuracy of ALL THREE calendars mentioned. It is simply using (or not using) the leap year as it was intended: to bring the calendar up to date.

While the supposed 54 years of adjustment to correct the calendar seems difficult for some, it is a natural transition which avoids schism and talk of "Christmases in July" 50000 years from now by preserving the Calendar adopted at Nicea. It preserves the liturgical Communion of the churches with the historical Church (the Catholic reality of the Church Militant) and avoids the pitfalls of being condemned for introducing schismatic innovations. It also allows local churches an irenic time of transition which will prevent unnecessary scandals and divisions. Those factors all in themselves warrant the gradual transition as being a better solution than what has been done with its ridiculous time travel and schismatic methodology.

Last edited by RussoRuthenianOGC; 07/21/17 11:22 PM. Reason: No need for "the". "C" in church should be capitalized.
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