www.byzcath.org
I only recently read this from the Catholic News Agency article, Vatican cardinal supports common Easter date for Catholics, Orthodox [catholicnewsagency.com], Mar 12, 2021:
Quote
The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, has supported a suggestion that Catholics and Orthodox work to agree on a common date to celebrate Easter.

A representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the World Council of Churches (WCC) said a common Easter date could be a sign of “encouragement” for the ecumenical movement.

Orthodox Archbishop Job Getcha of Telmessos suggested that the year 2025, which will be the 1,700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, would be a good year to introduce this reform of the calendar.

This is an initiative of the of Ecu­meni­cal Patri­ar­chate. The full proposal by Archbishop Job, giving the scope and intent, is the second article (scroll down) in the February 2021 Newsletter of the Per­ma­nent Dele­ga­tion of the Ecu­meni­cal Patri­ar­chate to the World Council of Churches: EDITORIAL TOWARDS A COMMON DATE OF EASTER: REMAINING FAITHFUL TO THE COUNCIL OF NICEA (325) [mailchi.mp].

Four years, then, to study and prepare and discuss.

We've had several spirited discussion related to this topic on this forum. What will it take for this new initiative be viable?

I invite all to give their views on what it will take for there is to be real progress, not the stagnation and stalemate of the past. I say progress and not (complete) success because I suspect there will be some who will never accept anything but THEIR status quo. Will truth prevail -- and should it -- at the risk of schism?

This calendar question, more precisely a unified observance of the annual feast of Pascha, acknowledged as the Feast of Feasts, is not dogma but it is theology, specifically (I'd say) Liturgical Theology. That is why this thread is here in Faith and Theology and not a News forum. For my part I intend to identify certain defining issues and significant events, and what I believe are the basic facts that must be clarified and accepted, before there can be any real progress.
Christ is in our midst!!

ajk,

Thank you for bringing this topic, one we have discussed on this board at great length. I wonder how far it will go in the next four years up to the 1700th anniversary of Nicaea 1. Are all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches involved in this? Are the Oriental Orthodox part of this endeavor?

Just some thoughts.
Originally Posted by theophan
Are all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches involved in this? Are the Oriental Orthodox part of this endeavor?
I don't know but guess who's not on board:

Standardization of the Date of Easter: Moscow Says “Nyet” [fsspx.news]

Quote
However, in a televised interview in April 2021, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalmsk declared that a modification of the Julian Calendar was “not on the agenda of the Russian Orthodox Church,” which has, in his own words, “no intention of changing the traditional system whereby the date of the celebration of Easter is fixed in our Church.”
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.
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An attempt at conciliation was swept aside with a wave of the hand by the Russians: “But the question here is very simple: who should change their Paschal calendar? For example, we are not going to change it.”

And number two in Russian Orthodoxy recalled a similar attempt, a century earlier, in the 1920s, when Patriarch Tikhon issued an order to switch our calendar to the new style, and two weeks later this order had to be canceled, since the church people did not accept it.”

A predictable result, because the scattering of autocephalous churches in the Greek world - not to mention the political subjugation that their status entails - does not allow for the possibility that the standardization of the date of Easter will be reached soon, and as long as the grace of conversion has not illuminated intelligences and inflamed hearts.

So the sure way not to botch a reform again is to not even consider it.

More on this is also reported in Metropolitan Hilarion: the Russian Church will not change its way of establishing the date of Easter [fides.org].
Christ is in our midst!!

I had seen the article about His Eminence's comments before. That's why I asked.
Originally Posted by ajk
Standardization of the Date of Easter: Moscow Says “Nyet” [fsspx.news]

Quote
However, in a televised interview in April 2021, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalmsk declared that a modification of the Julian Calendar was “not on the agenda of the Russian Orthodox Church,” which has, in his own words, “no intention of changing the traditional system whereby the date of the celebration of Easter is fixed in our Church.”
.
.
.
An attempt at conciliation was swept aside with a wave of the hand by the Russians: “But the question here is very simple: who should change their Paschal calendar? For example, we are not going to change it.”

And number two in Russian Orthodoxy recalled a similar attempt, a century earlier, in the 1920s, when Patriarch Tikhon issued an order to switch our calendar to the new style, and two weeks later this order had to be canceled, since the church people did not accept it.”

A predictable result, because the scattering of autocephalous churches in the Greek world - not to mention the political subjugation that their status entails - does not allow for the possibility that the standardization of the date of Easter will be reached soon, and as long as the grace of conversion has not illuminated intelligences and inflamed hearts.

I surmise that Metropolitan Hilarion is poorly informed or not informed or does not care to be informed. Certain bishops and theologians ought to be ashamed of themselves for advocating or advancing the solution of Met. Hilarion's "traditional system," that is the Julian Computus, or those, like the Fathers of VCII, who advance or would accept a fixed date proposal. Both are deficient as a matter of theology, specifically the Liturgical Theology that I mentioned in the initial post. Those same bishops and theologians readily give their opinions, but it appears they do not have the intellectual capacity or the dedication to be adequately informed.

Prejudice, polemics and pride are why the Gregorian reform of the Julian Computus has not been acknowledged for the true and proper Revised Julian Calendar and Paschalion that it is. Owning that should be a necessary step in advancing a unified Pascha observance after 2025. That would entail that Orthodoxy, as the nexus of the Julian Paschalion, admit two mistakes:

1. The rejection of calendar reform by Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th c. and the several anathemas of that reform that followed.

2. The attempt at its own calendar reform of the 1920's, specifically its self-designated (Milanković) Orthodox "Revised Julian Calendar" (ORJC) and then, as though inviting failure, using it for fixed feasts but keeping the Julian Pascha as a compromise.
Christ is in our midst!!

ajk,

I wonder if either of the last two suggestions you put forward will ever come to pass. It is my understanding that in Orthodoxy the entire Church must come to a unanimous decision on this type of issue. Many of the Slavic Churches do not, to this day, used the Revised Julian Calendar, though the Greek Churches do. Then there is the case of the Orthodox Church of Finland which uses the entire Western calendar for both fixed feasts and the Paschalion.

How do the Orthodox Churches come to a common practice before they can dialogue with those outside their communion?
Originally Posted by theophan
I wonder if either of the last two suggestions you put forward will ever come to pass. It is my understanding that in Orthodoxy the entire Church must come to a unanimous decision on this type of issue. Many of the Slavic Churches do not, to this day, used the Revised Julian Calendar, though the Greek Churches do. Then there is the case of the Orthodox Church of Finland which uses the entire Western calendar for both fixed feasts and the Paschalion.

How do the Orthodox Churches come to a common practice before they can dialogue with those outside their communion?
True in principle but is there ever that ideal consensus of a "unanimous decision"? There is already, for various reasons, the variation among the Slavs, Greeks and Finns as noted. But I don't know the Orthodox mindset and priorities.

What I am saying is that those Orthodox and Catholics, who realize that the Julian Paschaleon status quo can no longer be maintained, commit to its revision and actually make it happen. Just consulting internet sources, I find that most of the in-depth and unbiased critiques of the Julian Computus are from Orthodox writers. They just can't seem to bring themselves to endorse the Gregorian reform, however, even though it should be the obvious conclusion; rather they highlight some seemingly deficient aspect of the Gregorian Computus, of a kind and magnitude that is inherent in any calendar, as justification for a different, neutral solution.
It just makes eminent sense to adopt the spirit of the Council of Nicaea and adopt the calendar that is in use today as the basis for calculating Pascha. If there are those churches that refuse, so be it. Let them carry on their "Third Rome" pretense. Does any one care anymore?
Quote
It just makes eminent sense to adopt the spirit of the Council of Nicaea and adopt the calendar that is in use today as the basis for calculating Pascha. If there are those churches that refuse, so be it. Let them carry on their "Third Rome" pretense. Does any one care anymore?

Christ is in our midst!!

The problem is that the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest Orthodox Church in the world. It also seems to have a lot of influence with the rest of the Slavic Orthodox Churches. So it would seem to matter.
Originally Posted by theophan
Originally Posted by Utroque
It just makes eminent sense to adopt the spirit of the Council of Nicaea and adopt the calendar that is in use today as the basis for calculating Pascha. If there are those churches that refuse, so be it. Let them carry on their "Third Rome" pretense. Does any one care anymore?

The problem is that the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest Orthodox Church in the world. It also seems to have a lot of influence with the rest of the Slavic Orthodox Churches. So it would seem to matter.

Recent comments on the calendar by authoritative Russian Orthodox clergy, Bishop Hilarion, who is "chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations," as quoted before, and here Fr. Stefan, "secretary for inter-Christian relations at the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations," demonstrate their truly appalling vincible ignorance [web.archive.org]* on this topic:
Quote
According to Father Stefan, the “return of all Christian churches to uniformity in the date of the celebration of Easter would be a great blessing for the Christian world.” However, he also made clear that the Moscow Patriarchate will not change its way of calculating the date of Pascha. Thus, the RIA article states:

He [Father Stefan] stressed that the Paschalion is "a dogmatic position." "To depart from it means to lose touch with the Orthodox tradition. For the Russian Church, this issue cannot be on the agenda. We adhere to the teachings of the Ecumenical Councils and the Holy Fathers. This makes us Orthodox," concluded the representative of the Russian Church.

...

Father Stefan seems to be saying that the use of the Paschalion is a matter of dogma and that changing it cannot be “on the agenda.” In contrast, Archbishop Job in his editorial refers to the Paschalion as “old lunation tables” which are not astronomically correct. If Father Stefan’s statement reflects the position of the Moscow Patriarchate, it appears that the only way to obtain a uniform Easter date is for all churches to use the Julian calendar and the Paschalion in calculating the date.
The Russian Orthodox Church support...ster at the same time for all Christians [translate.google.com]

Given this stand, the Russian Orthodox Church should be ashamed of itself; it's giving religion a bad name. The 'Paschalion is "a dogmatic position."' Really? If Orthodoxy, though it may demur, must be in lock-step with such obstinate ignorance to avoid schism, then 2025 will be another exercise in futility.

__________________________________
* " Ignorance is vincible if a person could remove it by applying reasonable diligence. Reasonable diligence, in turn, is that diligence that a conscientious person would display in seeking the correct answer to a question given (a) the gravity of the question and (b) his particular resources."
Originally Posted by ajk
... What will it take for this new initiative to be viable?

... to be real progress, not the stagnation and stalemate of the past... Will truth prevail -- and should it -- at the risk of schism?

This calendar question, more precisely a unified observance of the annual feast of Pascha, … is not dogma but it is theology, specifically (I'd say) Liturgical Theology ... For my part I intend to identify certain defining issues and significant events, and what I believe are the basic facts that must be clarified and accepted, before there can be any real progress.

Archbishop Job's editorial references the 1997 Aleppo Conference document, Towards a Common Date for Easter.* The proposed 2025 initiative, I expect, will build on that 1997 document as it should. +JOB's proposal and that document are informative and give a very good overview of the issues. There are a number of aspects of the basic topics, however, that are either not emphasized or not stated with the clarity needed to avoid the confusion that too often produces false impressions and subsequent erroneous restatements.

The 2025 initiative, and studies leading up to it, must be clearer, more specific and comprehensive, and more forthright. Here are some specifics:

1. Reject the fixed date idea as an insult to the 2000 year history of Christianity's sense of a liturgical calendar.

2. Reject the Julian calendar and its computus, i.e., its Paschalion, as no longer able to adhere to the Nicaean norm.

3. Acknowledge that in its approach (Nicaea and leap-year revision) and methodology (maintaining a link with the Julian’s Metonic cycle) the true Revised Julian Calendar IS the Gregorian Calendar.

4. Accept the Gregorian solar calendar; it is a Christian calendar and it has become the normative international civil calendar.

5. Accept the Gregorian (lunar) computus, its Paschalion, or an equivalent. Clearly acknowledge that it in no way whatsoever violates the (Eastern Church) Typikon.

Regarding:

1 & 2: Worse than the fixed date approach are those who argue that adherents of the Gregorian Paschalion, who are faithful to the norms of Nicaea in fact, should instead use the Julian for the sake of unity. To do so, or recommend or in any way sanction this only reduces the sense of the Paschalion of a Christian Passover, and its liturgical theology, to a trite formalism. It is an easy solution but a cop-out; it allows a caricature that only mimics what is true: Accept a faulty application of the heralded norms of Nicaea, when a correct implementation is available and works, in order to achieve the unity desired by that same Council. As a NT feast linked to the OT, this is Pascha nominalism, the flip side of the Old Calendar zealots’ calendar idolatry. Two examples of academics sympathizing with or tolerating this capitulation approach are: A Common Date for Easter? [praytellblog.com], Bert Groen in an Interview of July 25, 2015, Pray Tell blog; and Pope Francis and the Absurdly Vexed Calendar Question [catholicworldreport.com], Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille, June 25, 2015 Catholic World Report.

3&4 are just (indisputable) facts. For #3, the Julian calendar and its Paschalion is clearly identifiable in all aspects of the Gregorian reform whereas the (Milanković-Trpković) Orthodox Revised Julian Calendar approach has no significant link to it whatsoever.

5: The need for the Orthodox Revised Julian Calendar, and the “exact” scientific, astronomical approach may be an unnecessary complication; there are caveats and ramifications that need to be explored and documented. If the church does science then it must be held to the standards of science: properly report the methodology, the calculation, the database, the results, according to the norms of scientific reporting. The “exact” scientific, astronomical approach is just another model of the cosmos, more sophisticated and detailed than a traditional computus but a model nevertheless.

_______________________________________
* The table of dates attached at the end of that document has an incorrect entry, ironically, for the year 2025. It has for the Julian Easter/Pascha May 20 when it should be April 20, the same as the Gregorian, and the crux of +JOB's proposal highlighting a unified 2025 observance.
Originally Posted by ajk
5: The need for the Orthodox Revised Julian Calendar, and the “exact” scientific, astronomical approach may be an unnecessary complication; there are caveats and ramifications that need to be explored and documented. If the church does science then it must be held to the standards of science: properly report the methodology, the calculation, the database, the results, according to the norms of scientific reporting. The “exact” scientific, astronomical approach is just another model of the cosmos, more sophisticated and detailed than a traditional computus but a model nevertheless.

The 1997 Aleppo statement recommends that "the most likely way to succeed in achieving a common date for Easter in our own day would be," in II 11.(b), "to calculate the astronomical data ... by the most accurate possible scientific means," It then explains
Quote
In regard to point b:In recommending calculation of the astronomical data by the most accurate possible scientific means (as distinct, for example, from reliance on conventional cyclical tables or personal observation), the consultation believes that it is being completely faithful to the spirit of the Council of Nicea itself, which also was willing to make use of the best available scientific knowledge. We are fortunate that experts in astronomy have already provided these necessary calculations; they are conveniently presented in Synodica V (Chambésy - Genève, Les Editions du Centre Orthodoxe, 1981) 133 - 149.

This is an example of throwing out terms and objectives that sound reasonable and even commendable but risk being hyperbole. How often will the calculation be updated as scientific data and theories improve? At what actual level of sophistication will the calculations be performed? How precise do they need to be to fit the criteria? Aleppo was in 1997 and the calculated data is from 1981. Consider this from the introduction to the Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac 3rd Edition [amazon.com] (2012), keying on the word new:
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1.1.4 Conceptual Changes since the Last Edition
There have been a number of major changes since the 1992 edition …New procession and nutation theories have been adopted. New timescales and coordinate transformations have been introduced... Increases in accuracy, and the theories required by the increased accuracies, have driven most of these changes. … These observations have been used to define a conceptually new reference system. … At these accuracy levels, the definitions of the reference systems and the methods of reduction and analysis require the theory of relativity.

The new, space-fixed, barycentiric astronomical reference system … The new reference system, called the International Celestial Reference System (ICRS). is defined by a series of International Astronomical Union (IAU) resolutions passed In 1991, 1997, 2000. 2003 and 2006…

In order to define rigorously the ICRS in relativistic terms, the IAU introduced two systems… The IAU established a new moving reference frame of date … the IAU introduced new concepts and definitions including a new combined precession-nutation model …
This is for just a 20 year period. Are the churches and its scientific experts willing to keep up with all this to give us the timing of Pascha by the envisioned "most accurate possible scientific means"? Does adherence to the Nicaean norm justify this level of technical complexity and detail?

One of the difficulties about the calendar issue is that it has so many dimensions: historical, theological, sociological, pastoral, scientific; it requires an interdisciplinary approach. For instance, consider this Fr. John Whiteford on the New Calendar Controversy in Orthodoxy (Interview with Michael Lofton) (link [youtube.com]), streamed live on Jan 14, 2020, and the relative proportion of each of the dimensions.

Also, on the common sense level there are those who have little or no interest in the details or a desire to make the effort to learn yet, they have strong opinions and through the internet the means to express their uninformed, faulty opinions. For the 2025 initiative to move the churches, the christian, forward to a common reckoning of Pascha there must be a proper and accepted catechesis of all, the people and the expert alike. It needs to begin now.
Synodica V (Chambésy - Genève, Les Editions du Centre Orthodoxe, 1981) referenced by the Aleppo Statement, Towards a Common Date of Easter (TCDE), is entirely devoted to the calendar issue on a number of levels, not just the technical, astronomical. It is available as a pdf-download, 3.8MB, SYNODHIKA_5.pdf [google.com]. It reveals that consideration was given to adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, and TCDE2025 should reexamine and reevaluate this option. It seems there is very little if any initiative by the Catholic Church in advocating the calendar and Paschalion that it initiated. To the extent this is so it is very unfortunate: the inability or unwillingness of the Catholic Church to offer a real service to the truth by standing up for and presenting the advantages and legitimacy of the Gregorian reform of 1582 and its calendar and Paschalion. The journey begun at Nicaea in 325 could properly, that is in the spirit and details of the Nicaean norm accepted by all, end with the adoption of the Gregorian Paschalion in 2025. This is not just idle talk, hyperbole, triumphalism or flamboyant rhetoric. It is eminently defendable and the Catholic Church should be taken to task for not advocating the Gregorian approach on its own merits, at least for the present and some considerable future time. The study Proceedings of the Vatican Conference to commemorate its 400th Anniversary, 1582-1982 [casinapioiv.va] should have a prominent place in the deliberations of TCDE2025. As its Preface states:

Quote
Although this book is published as a Commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the Gregorian Reform of the Calendar, its nature is not simply commemorative but it is intended to serve as a stimulus to further reflection, scholarly or otherwise, upon the calendar. With hardly, I believe, an exception we all experience that strange phenomenon of the almost inverse proportionality between the importance of many common factors in our lives and the degree of attention that we give to them. Among such factors is the role of the calendar in our daily activities. How many of us give any attention to how and why the calendar is structured the way it is? Could it be structured otherwise, perhaps even better? Yet the calendar forms the basis for the rhythm of our various daily activities. We take holyday weekends, have blue Mondays, envy those who work bankers' hours and experience a host of other phenomena, all of which we take for granted. Do we reflect, for instance, that the duration of the hour and the length of the week have no basis in natural astronomical phenomena, even though both are of very long usage? The week, in fact, is the only calendar period which has survived all calendar reforms without interruption. On the other hand the three "natural" periods are the day, the month and the year, arising from the relative motions of the earth, moon and sun; the incommensurability of these periods is the fundamental reason for the long and continuing history of calendar reform, a part of which is recorded in this book.

Synodica V also refutes and dispels the outright fabrications that the Gregorian reform violated the norm of Nicaea, in particular the utterly ridiculous statement that Pascha/Easter must be after Jewish Passover. How many times is this repeated when just the opposite is true; those who continue to maintain this and then also use it as a deficiency of the Gregorian Paschalion are actually the ones who are diametrically opposing the Nicaean norm. I recommend from the Synodica V volume The Date of Easter – A Canonist’s Observations (48-53) by Prof. (now Fr.) John Erickson (retired dean and church history professor [emeritus] of St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary) followed by Prof. Gorges Contopoulos’ The Date of Easter (53-56). In particular, Erickson (50-51) quotes from an article in SVTQ (Ogitsky:1973, 278):

Quote
Neither in the canons nor in other documents contemporary to the Council of Nicaea, and which interpret its definition is there any mention that one must exclude the possibility of coincidental concurrences of the Christian Pascha with the Jewish, i, e. the possibility of celebrating it in several instances on the same day as the Jews. Also, nowhere is there a prohibition against Christians celebrating Pascha earlier than the Jews. Such a prohibition would indicate a dependence of the date of the Christian Pascha on the date of the Jewish Passover. And everything that we know about the Nicene definition points to the fact that the Nicene Fathers were against any dependence whatsoever of Christians on Jews regarding this question.

Also of note from the article by Prof. Gorges Contopoulos (55):
Quote
The conclusion is that the present calculation of the date of Easter by the Orthodox Church is not in accordance with the letter of the 1st Ecumenical Synod. It is not even in accordance with its spirit, which is to have all Christians celebrate Easter on the same day.
Now, what solutions can be proposed? The obvious solution is to follow immediately the Gregorian calendar. This has two obvious advantages:
a) It is in close agreement with the rule established by the 1st Ecumenical Synod, and
b) Easter will be celebrated the same Sunday by all Christians.

However, this solution has also some difficulties. I will not discuss the difficulties arising from any change introduced in the Church, due to the traditionalistic attitude of many people. This problem is for you to discuss and solve.

I would offer considerable criticism for the socio-cultural insights of Archimandrite Nikon Patrinacos (78-96), and some misgivings about comments of the Anglican observer Rev. Wynburn (69-70). A Common Date for Easter – Notes on the Efforts in the Ecumenical Movement by Rev. Dr. Lukas Vischer (59-67) presents background on a number of issues that still provoke debate and should be on the TCDE2025 agenda. The other presentations and exchanges among participants are in French.
I was looking over this thread, and a number of past forum threads on the calendar issue, and thought that a neutral examination of the scriptural passages dealing with the timing and theology of Passover/Pascha would be informative. What struck me out of the blue, however, and now seems so obvious -- perhaps it has been to others but I had missed it -- is that this whole calendar issue is now essentially an Orthodox issue. The timeline begins with the creation of the problem in Orthodoxy's 16th c. rejection of the Gregorian reform, an attempted solution of its own in the 1920s (first proposed in 1907) associated with the ecumenical movement and the WCC -- its own "Orthodox" calendar -- and then concrete numbers, calculations done in 1977 by "Orthodox astronomers" that were codified and put in a theological framework at Aleppo in 1997, and now rejuvenated in this new initiative.

There is a problem of a different sort on the Catholic side but this calendar controversy is really Orthodox made and sustained and through its compromises -- using the Gregorian Calendar masquerading as an "Orthodox" Revised Julian Calendar for fixed feasts but retaining the Julian Paschalion -- made even more contorted . The standard Orthodox response is that the controversy is the consequence of the West's, the Catholic Church's, unilateral implementation of the Gregorian calendar. Consider, however, that the essence of the Gregorian reform is exactly what all the Orthodox proposals, going back to at least the1920s, are striving to accomplish. In terms of Nicaea's mandate of a unified observance of Pascha, going back to the Julian Paschalion is not a solution. This new Orthodox/WCC initiative, and those of the past century, do not look to the Julian Calendar and its Paschalion as an option, in fact, quite the opposite as +JOB explains:

Quote
While being determined by the Julian calendar, the date of the spring equinox (March 21) corresponds to April 3 of the Gregorian calendar, which is used worldwide today. Therefore, if the full moon appears before this date, the Orthodox must wait for the following full moon, and in this case, there will be a difference of one month between the Western and Orthodox Easter, as it will be the case this year [2021]. According to the astronomic data, the Orthodox then celebrate Pascha on the Sunday following the second full moon of spring, which contradicts the principle of Nicaea. If the spring full moon appears after April 3, Christians are supposed to celebrate Easter on the same day, as it indeed happens on occasion. However, since the Orthodox use old lunation tables to determine the date of the full moon, which are a few days behind the current astronomical data, in some cases the Orthodox must wait for the subsequent Sunday to celebrate Pascha, and this explains that there may be a difference of one week between the Eastern and the Western date of Easter. But in that case, according to the astronomic data, the Orthodox celebrate Pascha on the second Sunday following the full moon of spring, which also contradicts the principle adopted at Nicaea.
[emphasis added]

Aleppo and +JOB's proposal present the obvious inadequacy of the Julian computus and the desire to move on from it. Although acknowledging that the Gregorian Calendar is a proper approach, It is discounted simply because it's not Orthodox in origin. And a major part of Orthodoxy, the Russian church, like an obstinate child, simply refuses to even consider the facts; some others vigorously promote the needed reform but it has to be Orthodox invented to be acceptable.

Nicaea wanted a united observance of Pascha. It is not those who use the Gregorian calendar or advocate the Aleppo initiative who are impeding that united observance. Everyone accepts the pertinent Scripture that determines the timing of Passover that the Church has used in various ways for the timing of Pascha. It is not those who use the Gregorian calendar or advocate the Aleppo initiative who depart in fact from that pertinent Scripture.

Orthodoxy has put the Church (East and West), the Body of Christ, in a bind over this issue that appears again and again, de facto, as significant in the life of the Church: It has taught its faithful to firmly reject that which it now proposes. For all the pious talk of unity and Nicaea there are those who have enshrined custom and an ancient inadequate calendar, content to do it their way, thereby disregarding the directives of scripture, the desire of Nicaea, and the timing of God's sun and moon. It is incapable of regulating itself as +JOB relates:

Quote
The question of the calendar and the common date of Pascha was listed among the 17 topics to be examined by the future Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church by the inter-Orthodox preparatory committee which met in 1930 at the monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos. It was kept on the list of issues established by the first Panorthodox Conference in Rhodes in 1961 which launched the process of the preparation of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church and remained among the ten topics on the agenda determined at the first pre-conciliar pan-orthodox conference of Chambésy in 1976. In preparation towards the council, a specific congress of Orthodox astronomers met in Chambésy in June 1977 to prepare both a revised calendar, even more accurate than the Gregorian one, and review the lunation tables according to the most accurate astronomic data.Unfortunately, the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches held in Chambésy in January 2016, decided to exclude this question from the agenda of the council, fearing that a calendar reform would create a new schism within the Orthodox Church. Thus, no decision has been taken on the issue by the Orthodox to this day.

Reiterating, this calendar problem is now, essentially, Orthodox made.
Maybe the best we can hope for is that Jurisdictions will allow individual parishes to go on the Gregorian paschalion, following the example of Finland.
Yes - in Finland The Lutheran, Orthodox and Catholic church are using The same calendar. Se on viisautta! Olkaamme vakaat!
Originally Posted by Krysostomos
Yes - in Finland The Lutheran, Orthodox and Catholic church are using The same calendar. Se on viisautta! Olkaamme vakaat!
And how in particular is it working out there for the Orthodox? Do the Orthodox acknowledge and give witness to a wisdom to which all should be attentive?
Well, in fact, I just don't know...
Originally Posted by ajk
[quote=ajk]

One of the difficulties about the calendar issue is that it has so many dimensions: historical, theological, sociological, pastoral, scientific; it requires an interdisciplinary approach. For instance, consider this Fr. John Whiteford on the New Calendar Controversy in Orthodoxy (Interview with Michael Lofton) (link [youtube.com]), streamed live on Jan 14, 2020, and the relative proportion of each of the dimensions.

In that presentation Fr. John Whiteford stated that the Sigillon of 1583 was forged. Do you know anything about this?
Originally Posted by Mockingbird
Originally Posted by ajk
One of the difficulties about the calendar issue is that it has so many dimensions: historical, theological, sociological, pastoral, scientific; it requires an interdisciplinary approach. For instance, consider this Fr. John Whiteford on the New Calendar Controversy in Orthodoxy (Interview with Michael Lofton) (link [youtube.com]), streamed live on Jan 14, 2020, and the relative proportion of each of the dimensions.

In that presentation Fr. John Whiteford stated that the Sigillon of 1583 was forged. Do you know anything about this?
No, I don't, and thanks for reminding me about his comment. I remembered someone had called into question the legitimacy of that 16th c. rejection of the Gregorian reform by the Orthodox, but couldn't recall who it was -- too bad he didn't give a reference.

I've tried to find out more about calendar reform in the East both prior to but especially during the 4+ centuries after the Gregorian reform, but to no avail.

I'm listening to the interview (again) as I write this. Fr. John is intelligent and non-polemical but he is sufficiently misinformed and imprecise that he presents the calendar issue as ultimately being somewhat arbitrary, even whimsical; and that only legitimizes stalemate and the status quo.
Christ is in our midst!!

Each year at the Orthodox Pascha celebration the appearance of the Holy Fire occurs in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It does not occur on the date the Resurrection is observed on the Gregorian calendar. It first appears to the Greek Orthodox patriarch and then to the Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem. How this occurs only on the date observed by the Orthodox and only on the date they observe Pascha is a mystery.

The Holy Fire appears as a blue flame and does not burn a person who touches it, according to a first hand observation by a man who later was a bishop and then metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America.

Does this, perhaps, explain one of the reasons for the Orthodox refusal to use the Gregorian calendar calculation?
Originally Posted by theophan
Christ is in our midst!!

Each year at the Orthodox Pascha celebration the appearance of the Holy Fire occurs in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It does not occur on the date the Resurrection is observed on the Gregorian calendar. It first appears to the Greek Orthodox patriarch and then to the Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem. How this occurs only on the date observed by the Orthodox and only on the date they observe Pascha is a mystery.

The Holy Fire appears as a blue flame and does not burn a person who touches it, according to a first hand observation by a man who later was a bishop and then metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America.

Does this, perhaps, explain one of the reasons for the Orthodox refusal to use the Gregorian calendar calculation?
It has not been a prominent point in the discussions I have had on this form dating back to 2008. I recall this occurrence, Re: Common Easter date?; see also the posts that follow it.

The norm or rule for determining the yearly date of Pascha that is associated with the Council of Nicaea is stated (with some variance) and accepted; the significant issue is in how it is correctly applied (Gregorian) or misapplied (Julian). I, therefore, must conclude that this is an instance where God accepts the sincere and genuine and fervent devotion of those using the Julian Paschalion, even though they (usually) have the wrong date.
Just had this thought and question.
Right, it was an appropriate thought and a valid question.
Originally Posted by Utroque
It just makes eminent sense to adopt the spirit of the Council of Nicaea and adopt the calendar that is in use today as the basis for calculating Pascha. If there are those churches that refuse, so be it. Let them carry on their "Third Rome" pretense. Does any one care anymore?
Prior to composing this post I thought about that, who cares, especially with all the troubles of the world. Yet the churches have struggled with this issue, documented since at least the mid-second century AD Quartodeciman controversy. And as this thread witnesses, the WCC and an Orthodox Church and member in particular, have brought it to our attention again.

Also, we are the victim of circumstance; it turns out that there recently occurred everywhere throughout the whole world, and at the very same instant, an event relevant to this discussion: the northern hemisphere vernal (spring) equinox. This is a primary event used for timing and so the correct question is not When did it occur? but What was your particular timing device indicating when it happened?. For my time zone and clock, for instance, it happened yesterday 20-March-2022 on the civil calendar at 11:33 am Eastern Daylight Time (An informative article that has other details is When does spring 2022 start? [usatoday.com]).

The calendar and methods for timing Pesach/Passover and Pascha have gone through phases that I would classify as:

(1) Observational: OT to early NT times
(2) Computus using averages (Pascahalion): Nicaea (4th c) to present
(3) Modern detailed scientific, astronomical: 20-21st c.

Using detailed discrete calculations had been considered during the Gregorian reform. They were initially favored by Clavius, its chief architect, but the traditional computus approach was adopted.

The latest proposal, initiated by some Orthodox in the early 20th c., favored by Aleppo (1997) and repeated by +JOB (2021) is that scientific, astronomical approach:
Quote
+JOB:
It is worth mentioning that in 1997, the World Council of Churches held a consultation in order to establish a common date for Easter and recommended maintaining the Nicene norms (that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first full moon of spring), to calculate the astronomical data (the spring equinox and the full moon) by the most accurate possible scientific means, using as the basis for reckoning the meridian of Jerusalem, the place of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Aleppo:
(e) The Council of Nicea also has an enduring lesson for Christians today in its willingness make use of contemporary science in calculating the date of Easter. While the council sought to advance the concrete unity of the churches, it did not itself undertake a detailed regulation of the Easter calculation. Instead it expected the churches to employ the most exact science of the day for calculating the necessary astronomical data (the March equinox and the full moon).

(b) to calculate the astronomical data (the vernal equinox and the full moon) by the most accurate possible scientific means,...

Those proposals, while basically sound, need to be explored further, especially in relation to the other phases, (1) and (2) above. The stated standard of using "the most accurate possible scientific means" requires dealing with the science, and that means attention to details and astronomical concepts. For instance, is giving the EDT occurrence as 11:33 sufficiently precise? Hours and minutes are given but what about seconds and hundredths of a second etc. Terms -- accurate, precise, error -- are used with a common, colloquial meaning and understanding that can be misleading. How is the venal equinox defined, determined, calculated? How has the statement of the rule for determining Passover/Pascha(Easter) changed and how true is that statement to the source, the scriptural texts?

To put yesterday's event into context, both the Gregorian and Julian calendars were designed so that the vernal equinox is intended to occur on its respective 21-March. The astronomical vernal equinox occurred:

20-March-2022 on the Gregorian calendar

07-March-2022 on the Julian calendar
Just a heads up, no pun intended. Tomorrow is the second event for the reckoning of Pascha. If you look at the night sky, you will NOT see the moon; that is the important point, it's the astronomical new moon.

[Linked Image]
Image from April 2022 - Moon Phase Calendar [moongiant.com]
New Moon: Apr 1, 2022 at 9:24 am Moon Phases 2022 – Lunar Calendar for Nefat Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, Israel timeanddate [timeanddate.com]
New Moon: Apr 1, 2022 at 2:24 am EDT

Now, if the 20th c some-Orthodox-proposed / WCC method is applied, Pascha is the Sunday after the full moon that will occur on April 16, that is, Pascha is Sunday April 17. This is also Pascha for the Gregorian Paschalion. Julian Calendar Pascha is (on the civil calendar as shown) April 24th, the Sunday after the moon's last quarter -- not what the norm emanating from the Council of Nicaea specified.

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APRIL 2022.png  (414 downloads)
Could you explain again what is wrong with the "Reformed Julian Calendar" of those Orthodox Churches that use it? The Third Rome ideology has to do with the Moscow Patriarchate and there is a universal crisis within world Orthodoxy as a result of the Moscow patriarchate being state-controlled etc.

The "Orthodox Pascha" is really quite separate from any Third Rome issues (although in Moscow's case, you are doubtless correct). Orthodox tradition would argue in favour of the old Paschalion. Apart from the argument of "hey get with the program" which won't wash, what really is the argument against it?

And I, for one, am disillusioned with the Orthodox East as a whole so I'm more than open to the Western paschalion . . . and even Roman Catholicism.
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Could you explain again what is wrong with the "Reformed Julian Calendar" of those Orthodox Churches that use it?
There is nothing wrong with the Revised Julian Calendar (RJC) itself; It is the same as the Gregorian/civil calendar until 28 February 2800. A problem in timing can occur when the RJC is used for fixed feasts but Pascha is computed base on the Julian calendar, and its faulty computus, and its date transposed to the RJC. Since they count days differently, sometimes they just don't mesh well. It is this mixed calendar approach that can present problems.
Thank you, Reverend Father Deacon!
Tony, could you please send me an email about this. jackfigel@verizon.net

Thanks!
Jack,

I emailed you the thread; I have not seen more in the news. Let me know if you need something else.

DT
I was offered a comment, which I’ve redacted for a particular focus, since I thought it an interesting variation on the often heard stipulation that Pascha must follow Passover (as it is now determined by Jews), which is the case for the Julian Paschalion but not always for the Gregorian. This really has nothing to do with adherence to the Nicaean Norm but arises because of a 13 day bias (error) in the Julian calendar.

The comment argues: The lunar phase calendar graphic [that I previously posted in this thread for April 2022] illustrates perfectly why the Orthodox calendar is correct. The full moon at the time of the Resurrection rose on what we now called Holy Thursday, so the Resurrection had to occur in three days (reckoned as we do, sunset to sunset). Pascha on Sunday April 17, 2022 is at least two days too soon....we must wait until the following Sunday April 24, which is Pascha according to the Julian determination.

This is saying that since the full moon is the time of the Passover on Thursday, there must be more intervening days for the Friday crucifixion and burial, and a day of the Sabbath rest in the tomb. But the Gregorian Pascha is the very next day after the full moon and does not allow for the intervening days.

This makes sense if the Nicaean Norm is that the sequence of events of the Passion must all take place after the Passover full moon as at the time of the Resurrection. But that is not the case. The Nicaea Norm does not link Pascha/Easter to the Passover timing in that way. And the proof is the Julian calendar itself.

When the Julian Paschalion computes the full moon (actually the 14th day of the moon; I hope to discuss this in a future post), and it falls on a Saturday, the following day, Sunday, is Pascha just as for the Gregorian Paschalion this year 2022. An example of this is actually given in Date of Easter [en.wikipedia.org] for the year 1573, ten years before the Gregorian reform:

Quote
This is the table of paschal full moon dates for all Julian years since 931:
Golden
number [The Table is shown here]

Example calculation using this table:

The golden number for 1573 is 16 (1573 + 1 = 1574; 1574 ÷ 19 = 82 remainder 16). From the table, the paschal full moon for golden number 16 is 21 March. From the week table 21 March is Saturday. Easter Sunday is the following Sunday, 22 March.
See also 1573 Julian calendar / Old style [5ko.free.fr].

So there is no requirement for any additional day(s) between the full moon and Pascha.

Doing the same for the present year, the Golden Number for 2022 is 9 giving a Julian Paschal full moon date of Wednesday April 7 on the Julian calendar. Applying the same rule, Pascha is Sunday, April 11 on the Julian calendar which is April 24 (the 13 day difference) on the Gregorian calendar. Here, the Julian calendar is doing the same computation as the Gregorian but with the 13 day shift.

And here’s what makes the difference: The actual, real, up-in-the-sky full moon is Saturday April 3, 2022 on the Julian calendar and not the calculated Wednesday April 7 (on the Julian calendar); Pascha should then be the next day, Sunday April 4 on the Julian which is April 17 on the Gregorian/civil calendar.

I had not realized the ramifications of this before. The Nicaean Norm, as the Julian calendar also demonstrates, does not require that the liturgical observance of the Christian Passover match the chronology of the historical sequence of events at the time of the Resurrection with respect to the full moon. So, following the Nicaean Norm, we read the prototype

Leviticus 23:5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening, is the LORD's Passover

as a Jew but we interpret it as a Christian and so observe it liturgically.
Concerning the proposition that the Sigillon of 1583 is a forgery, this post [johnsanidopoulos.com] names the forger, Iakovos of New Skete, but provides no evidence for the accusation of forgery. Most of the post is not about the Sigillon but about some intricate Eastern Orthodox church politics.
Originally Posted by ajk
I was offered a comment, which I’ve redacted for a particular focus, since I thought it an interesting variation on the often heard stipulation that Pascha must follow Passover (as it is now determined by Jews), which is the case for the Julian Paschalion but not always for the Gregorian. This really has nothing to do with adherence to the Nicaean Norm but arises because of a 13 day bias (error) in the Julian calendar.

The comment argues: The lunar phase calendar graphic [that I previously posted in this thread for April 2022] illustrates perfectly why the Orthodox calendar is correct. The full moon at the time of the Resurrection rose on what we now called Holy Thursday, so the Resurrection had to occur in three days (reckoned as we do, sunset to sunset). Pascha on Sunday April 17, 2022 is at least two days too soon....we must wait until the following Sunday April 24, which is Pascha according to the Julian determination.

The Paschal table of Hippolytus, apparently following the Johannine chronology of the passion, that Jesus was crucified on the 14th of Nisan and raised on the 16th, never celebrates Easter before the 16th day of the moon. This custom persisted in the Roman computus as far as the computus of Victorius where it is used in some of the alternative dates for Easter provided in that table. But as you note, the Alexandrian computus always celebrated Easter during the (Christian) week of Unleavened Bread, from the 15th to the 21st of the moon. Bede even argues that it would be ideal if Easter could always occur on the 15th:

Originally Posted by Bede
If it were possible for this same fourteenth moon to fall on Saturday every year, nothing would displace the time of our Paschal observance from its lawful [time]. For [we], sacrificing according to the precept of the Law always on the fourteenth day of the moon of the first month at sunset, and eating the flesh of the immaculate lamb, and sprinkling its blood upon our doorposts to repel the destroyer (this is baptism) and celebrating the solemnities of the Paschal mass, would triumph over the spiritual Egypt. And at break of day on the fifteenth day of the moon of that month, we would enter upon the first day of Unleavened Bread, and we would complete the seven appointed days of that festivity with due veneration from the morning of the fifteenth day to the evening of the twenty-first day of that first month, that is from Easter Sunday until the Sunday of the octave of Easter.
--De temporum ratione 59. Faith Wallis's translation.
Originally Posted by Mockingbird
Bede even argues that it would be ideal if Easter could always occur on the 15th:

Originally Posted by Bede
If it were possible for this same fourteenth moon to fall on Saturday every year, nothing would displace the time of our Paschal observance from its lawful [time]. For [we], sacrificing according to the precept of the Law always on the fourteenth day of the moon of the first month at sunset, and eating the flesh of the immaculate lamb, and sprinkling its blood upon our doorposts to repel the destroyer (this is baptism) and celebrating the solemnities of the Paschal mass, would triumph over the spiritual Egypt. And at break of day on the fifteenth day of the moon of that month, we would enter upon the first day of Unleavened Bread, and we would complete the seven appointed days of that festivity with due veneration from the morning of the fifteenth day to the evening of the twenty-first day of that first month, that is from Easter Sunday until the Sunday of the octave of Easter.
--De temporum ratione 59. Faith Wallis's translation.
Thanks, Mockingbird, you always provide good stuff; this is gold. I've read some of Wallis but would have missed Bede's meaning if you did not point it out. I'll comment more but first need to post a rather lengthy commentary that I wanted to offer as a preparation (meditation?) for Great & Holy Week. I think it turns out to be, by coincidence, the background for understanding Bede's preference for the 15th. This is installment 1.

With Spring and the Paschal Moon having arrived, and now the day for the annual remembrance of the Lord’s resurrection, this seems an opportune time to consider the scriptural texts that are relevant to the timing of the OT Jewish Passover, Pesach, and, consequently, the NT Christian Passover, Pascha. I have commented in previous posts that this calendar issue is not arbitrary and is even a matter of liturgical theology. But is it?

To what extent is it essential or necessary or important to have a liturgical year, an annual cycle of feasts and fasts, a Typikon , a tradition of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, an annual observance of Pascha? One can quote Isaiah and Paul against a mechanical fixation on appointed times and observances, but then there is the example of Jesus in His observance of those same appointed times and their link to the saving events in God’s, in the Father’s, economia.

Various forms of the calendar issue have been around since at least the mid-second century AD Quartodeciman controversy. The historical path of Christianity is one of attention to a cycle of feasts, commemorations. That same historical path witnesses that, even admitting there are legitimate interpretations and traditions, unity of observance and theological interpretation were important and determining factors, factors that excluded certain interpretations, viz. the Quartodecimans (on the Jewish Passover), and practices, viz. the Protopaschites (Sunday after the Jewish Passover). Once again, in this year of 2022, it is necessary to speak of the annual remembrances: Gregorian Pascha being 17 April, the third Sunday of April, and Julian Pascha a week later, which is Sunday, 24 April on the Gregorian calendar, and Sunday 11 April on the Julian calendar itself, which is the second Sunday of the Julian month of April.

If the calendar is not just a utilitarian tool but comprises real theology, then a close reading and interpretation of the relevant scripture should enhance our liturgical and spiritual awareness, and bring us closer to the event that is being liturgically remembered: the liturgical “today” (Calendar-Easter) that is being observed according to the mind of the Church.

I had envisioned a straightforward presentation and comment on the relevant scriptures as given, for instance, in the Aleppo statement. I found it necessary to get into the theological and scientific, i.e. astronomical, details of the biblical texts. This may seem a digression into minutiae but I would suggest that this is a literal instance of God being in the details.
The Aleppo Statement gives some relevant biblical passages for the Passover event and alludes to the Christian connection in the NT and Nicaea:

Quote
(c) The Nicene norms affirm the intimate connection between the biblical passover (cf. especially Exod. 12:18, Lev. 23:5, Num. 28:16, Deut. 16:1-2) and the Christian celebration of "Christ our paschal lamb" (1 Cor. 5:7).

These passages are the basic texts but some others are needed for a full context. To better appreciate the meaning of the scriptures, however, requires a more basic, primitive, literal understanding of the scriptural texts than is presented in typical translations. Modern translations properly strive for immediate clarity in reading, or hearing the text proclaimed. A case in point is the first reference given from the book of Exodus describing the first Passover in Egypt. A standard translation of Ex 12:18ff

Exodus 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, and so until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses… 21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, "Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the passover lamb.

The clarity of this translation can be deceptive in what is actually described and how it is described. We think of some first month of a calendar year and its 14th day. Compare this to a literal rendering using the idiom of the Hebrew:

Exodus 12:18 In the first ( בָּרִאשֹׁ֡ן , ba-rishon) on the fourteenth day of the moon at evening ( לחֹ֙דֶשׁ֙ בָּעֶ֔רֶב ; chodesh ba-erev), you shall eat unleavens ( מַצֹּ֑ת matstsot f pl; ἄζυμα , azuma, n pl), and so until the twenty-first day of the moon at evening.

Recall that the day here is the evening-morning Biblical day. This passage also refers to an in/at the first, ba-rishon (adjective), so the first one, viz. something that is a beginning.

Also, the word codesh is here rendered in the more basic sense of moon not month. This is because the OT sense of time reckoning – the calendar – is based primarily on the moon, with the sun synchronizing the progression of the moons (months) to the seasons; it is a lunar time reckoning that is then adjusted as needed to be in step with the sun and thus the seasons of the year. In our civil calendar, a solar calendar, months can be and are of somewhat arbitrary number of days and are independent of the moon. Each month in the OT calendar is a one cycle of the moon, that cycle being ~29.5 days in length; the lunar month then is either 29 or 30 days long since half days would be awkward on a calendar. To visualize this, consider a standard current calendar that has the phases of the moon indicated. For some calendar month find the day of the “new moon” and from that day as day one, count out the next 31 days for good measure; most often this will include some days from the next calendar month. The result is something akin to the (lunar) month/moon of the scripture. For instance, this is what I am calling Astronomical Lunar March (moon-month) for 2021. It is chosen since it illustrates the point and is based on an astronomical, scientific, description of the moon’s phases. It spans portions of the months of March and April:
[Linked Image]
All the dates are for the civil calendar which is the Gregorian calendar. The March 2021 astronomical new moon occurred on March 13, here the first day of the moon, and the astronomical full moon 15 days later, which is the 16th day of the moon, on March 28. This Astronomical Lunar March 2021 was 30 days, March 13-April 11. The next moon, lunar month, began April 12. We in modern times most likely are unaware of or ignore this aspect of nature, this natural timing of the moon phases, although they were important in the past. For this astronomical data the full moon occurred on luna 16 (the 16th day of the moon). I've also indicated the date of the vernal equinox with its standard symbol, the sign for Aries, on luna 8.

If this astronomical data is used with the Aleppo statement's "recommendation" and its interpretation of the Nicaean Norms,

Quote
(a) to maintain the Nicene norms (that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first vernal full moon)

then, the equinox having occurred on luna 8, the full moon on luna 16, a Sunday, Pascha is the next Sunday, luna 23, April 4.

Attached File
Although I'm reluctant to diverge from the review of Scripture, I recalled AB JOB's explanation of the scenario that leads to a difference in Pascha on the order of a month. Since the dates were presented for Lunar March, I though it would be simple enough to present it in terms of the familiar calendar months. I used color coding for clarity. As I proceeded, the graphic started to light up given the number of dates/events that are involved, and that for two calendars. But having done it. here it is -- hopefully it illustrates AB JOB's explanation. All the colors correspond to the same days on the two calendars. The astronomical data are times independent of any calendar; both the equinox and the full moon happen at the same instant for all places on earth. Calculations tell us when that happens and then we mark that on whatever calendar we want, and presumably use.

The key dates are on Julian March and they line up by coincidence. Gregorian Equinox (red) is on MAR 8 and the Paschal Full Moon(yellow) on the 15th so Gregorian Pascha (green) is the following Sunday MAR 22, which is APR 4 on the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian equinox (purple) on MAR 21 -- both the Julian and Gregorian fix the equinox to their respective MAR 21 -- comes after, i.e. misses the full moon of the 15th. It must wait for the next full moon on the APR 14 (grey) and the Julian computus is close enough to the astronomical that it gives a date of APR 19 (blue) for its Pascha. This is MAY 2 on the Gregorian calendar.
[Linked Image]

Attached File
Though not in Aleppo’s list, Exo. 12:2 gives some additional important information for understanding the timing of the Passover. Again, being literal to get the flavor of the Hebrew text:

Exodus 12:1 YHWH said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt

Exodus 12:2 "This moon הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ (ha-codesh) shall be for you the head (beginning) רֹ֣אשׁ (rosh) of moons חֳדָשִׁ֑ים (codeshim); the first/chief ( רִאשׁ֥וֹן ; rishun) this to you (plural) for the moons of the year ( לְחָדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה ; le-chodshē hash-shanah).

Here a yearly timing is indicated, that is, some number of moons that eventually return to the one at the head and that then repeat the cycle. For both the Gregorian and Julian calendars a year is 12 calendar months and 365 days or, for leap years, 366 days. A year based on moons, lunar months, is 12x29.5 days = 354 day, 11 days short of the 365 day year. Basically every three years, the 12 lunar months fall behind by 3x11 days=33 days, thus 3 or 4 days more than a lunar cycle. When this happens, the Hebrew calendar must add an additional month, a leap month, to insure that the calendar is synchronized with nature. More than being just a page of a yearly wall calendar, the lunar month, the cycle of the moon, is a natural, celestial event. The calendar’s job is to accommodate the event. Nature determines and dictates the timing; calendars are just overlays on the natural, cosmic timing.

From Aleppo’s list, Lev 23:5 conveys the same basic instruction as Exo. 12:8, but with a refinement:

Leviticus 23:5 At the moon (חֹדֶשׁ ), the first/head, on the fourteenth for the moon ( לַחֹ֖דֶשׁ ) between the evenings ( הָעַרְבָּ֑יִם ) is the Pesach/Passover ( פֶּ֖סַח) to YHWH ( לַיהוָֽה ).

The time specified is not just evening as in Exodus but more specifically ha-arbaim, between the evenings, which is believed to be the time between noon and the evening twilight that begins the 14th day. But is it, is that the meaning?

The verses in Numbers give important additional information, relating the 14th and the 15th days:

Numbers 28:16 "On the fourteenth day of the first moon ( הָרִאשׁ֗וֹן ) is the YHWH's passover. 17 And on the fifteenth day of this moon is a feast; seven days shall unleavens be eaten.

In these translations, first has the meaning of primary rather than an ordinal number. So, the Passover is on the 14th and the meal is on the 15th, recalling that this is the evening-and-morning biblical day.

Exactly when, however, does this moon that corresponds to the moon at the time of the Exodus, the moon that is at the head of all the moons throughout the year occur? This is an example of that liturgical today. For every year, for every generation after the actual exodus from Egypt, the same participation in the actual event is realized by the timing of the moon and sun. Every year the timing of the event is replicated by the specified day of the moon, of the designated moon of the year, not by giving a date on a calendar, but in compliance with the present timing of nature, of the earth, moon and sun. This is the moon of YHWH's Passover made present, today, for every generation.

The specified moon is given in Deuteronomy & Exodus:

Deuteronomy 16:1 "Observe the moon of Aviv ( חֹ֣דֶשׁ הָאָבִ֔יב ; chodesh ha-Aviv) and keep the פֶּ֛סַח Pesach/Passover to YHWH your God; for in the moon of Aviv, YHWH your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 And you shall slaughter Pesach/Passover פֶּ֛סַח to YHWH your God, …

Exodus 13:1 YHWH said to Moses, 2 "Consecrate to me all the first-born; whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine." 3 And Moses said to the people, "Remember ( זָכ֞וֹר zachor; μνημονεύετε , mnemoneuete) this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength of hand YHWH brought you out from this place; no leavenes shall be eaten. 4 This day you are to go forth, in the moon of Aviv.

Exodus 23:15 You shall keep the feast of unleavens ( חַ֣ג הַמַּצּוֹת chag_ham-matstsot; ἑορτὴν τῶν ἀζύμων); as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavens for seven days at the appointed time ( לְמוֹעֵד ; le-moed) in the moon of Aviv, for in it you came out of Egypt…

Thus the time of the Exodus, the appointed time (the feast) of Pesach/Passover and Unleavened Bread (I have not translated it this way since there is no explicit word bread) is the moon of Aviv (This moon of Aviv also goes by its Babylonian name, Adar). Aviv in OT Hebrew means the new, not fully ripened, green barley [Cf. LXX: ἐν μηνὶ τῶν νέων (Exo 13:4)]. This phenomenon of nature occurs in the spring and gives the solar, the seasonal timing for the moed [at the appointed time ( לְמוֹעֵד ;le-moed)], the specific moon of the twelve (or thirteen) moons that return the yearly cycle to the season when the barley has appeared. (In modern Hebrew, Aviv actually means Spring; the modern city and former capital of the State of Israel, Tel Aviv, is Hill of Spring.)

It was important on a practical level to get the timing of this moon correct (See, Sacha Stern, Calendar and Community, 70,"The year may be intercalated on three grounds..."). This is because there is an additional directive that ties Passover/Unleavended Bread with another important feast. It is important to get the Aviv Moon correct in order to make good on the availability of the Aviv, the barley, for the ritual offering of the Omer. This is recorded in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy:

Leviticus 23:10 "Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf עֹ֛מֶר (omer) of the first (fruit) רֵאשִׁ֥ית (rēshit, ἀπαρχὴν ) of your harvest to the priest;
Leviticus 23:11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the YHWH, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it…
Leviticus 23:15 "And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you rought the omer of the wave offering; seven sabbaths שֶׁ֥בַע שַׁבָּת֖וֹת complete shall they be,
Leviticus 23:16 counting fifty (LXX: πεντήκοντα) days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the YHWH.

Deuteronomy 16:9 "You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain. Deuteronomy 16:10 Then you shall keep the feast of weeks to the YHWH your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the YHWH your God blesses you;

These verses account for the timing of Passover and Unleavened Bread and the Moed (appointed time, feast) of the first-fruit (omer) and its counting to the 50th day, the Moed called Shavuot (Hebrew: שָׁבוּעוֹת‎, Šāvūʿōṯ, lit. "Weeks") in the Hebrew text of scripture, and Pentecost in Greek. This is the Moed/feast that Luke describes in Acts:

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they [the disciples] were all together in one place. Acts 2:5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.

It must be noted, however, that while the timing, the linking of Passover and Unleavened Bread is explicit, the choice of the Sabbath and thus the "morrow after the sabbath" in the Leviticus passages is not explicit. This is true for Luke's account in Acts. Our liturgical year interprets that "morrow" as Pascha, and this was and is a common interpretation in Jewish practice also.

There is one last text concerning the preparation for the Passover, and it highlights an important aspect of our liturgical theology:

Exodus 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
Exodus 12:6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening.

This 10th day, the day the lamb is selected, corresponds to the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph, the day observed liturgically as Palm/Flowery Sunday. This coincidence and its interpretation is discussed at some length by what I would characterize as non-liturgical Christian communities. I do not see it appearing in our (extensive) liturgical commentary, our prayers. Its link to the OT is not referenced in the NT. I wonder if this is noted at all in Patristic writings. The proper correspondence of OT feasts with our liturgical tradition, along with important cautions, is discussed by Fr. Sebastian Carnazzo, Rejoice All ye Peoples: The Feasts of the Old Testament [godwithusonline.org] at God With Us, a presentation that I highly recommend.
To wrap it up, the attached pdf has calendar representations (too big to be inline) of the Moon of Aviv to Pentecost. Where scripture is not definitive about the timing, I have chosen the interpretation that is most compatible with liturgical observance.

This is a detail from the pdf. Applying the Nicaean Norm, however, seven different scenarios are possible, viz. luna 14 falling on any day of the week, Sunday through Saturday. If the goal of the liturgical observance of Pascha was intended to simulate primarily the historical, chronology pattern, then luna 14 on a Thursday would be the ideal.

[Linked Image]

Viewed as the biblical day, the meal, crucifixion and burial all happened on the same day, luna 15. This complements the liturgical/theological unity of the Eucharist as meal and sacrifice, its setting both Table and Altar. Of chronological necessity, Pascha is a different day.

As discussed in recent posts, Bede [en.wikipedia.org], a prominent computist of his time, considers what would appear to be the most restrictive scenario, luna 14 on a Saturday, as the ideal, thus:

[Linked Image]

For this case, through the representation of the calendar, the meal, crucifixion, burial and resurrection, along with the the count of unleavens and omer, all coincide!

Of course, all of the possible luna 14 scenarios are equally valid and liturgically complete.

A blessed Pascha to all those following the Julian calendar.

Christ is risen!

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Pascha.png  (177 downloads)
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Pascha-Bede.png  (182 downloads)
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Pascha-Pentecost.pdf  (15 downloads)
Christ is in our midst!!

Thank you for your thorough research on this issue.
I highly, highly, recommend this presentation to everyone. I was impressed and touched by the sincerity and perspective of the participants. This is especially so for me as an Eastern (BCC) Catholic.

COMMON CELEBRATION OF PASCHA AND EASTERN-WESTERN CHRISTIAN RELATIONS [youtube.com]
Originally Posted by ajk
I highly, highly, recommend this presentation to everyone. I was impressed and touched by the sincerity and perspective of the participants. This is especially so for me as an Eastern (BCC) Catholic.

COMMON CELEBRATION OF PASCHA AND EASTERN-WESTERN CHRISTIAN RELATIONS [youtube.com]
A good discussion. It was good of them to conduct their discussion in English, even though it seems difficult for some of them. I notice they are not afraid to call the Paschal feast "Easter" when speaking in English.

Archbishop Job speaks as though he thinks that the Western churches use astronomical observations in setting the date of Easter, whereas he must know, or can easily discover, that the churches which use the Gregorian calendar use the same kind of tables the churches that use the Julian calendar use, just with different numbers in them.

Acceptance of the Milankovitch/WCC proposal would be a break from the tradition of using a lunar calendar based on average lunations. Instead of using exact calculations of the full moon, I would propose using a lunar calendar based on the first visibility of the lunar crescent at Jerusalem. As a substitute for actual first visibility, a calculation of when the moon reaches a certain elongation (say 10 degrees) or a certain illuminated fraction could be substituted so that the lunar calendar could be determined in advance. This would define the first day of the lunar month. The Paschal lunar month would be the one for which the sunset beginning the month's 14th day occurs after the equinox at Jerusalem. Or some other rule could be used: for example noon on the 14th day would have to occur after the equinox. This approach would give us astronomical accuracy (since the lunar months would follow the true moon more exactly than they do now) but retain the tradition of using a lunar calendar.
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