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With the Covid 19 Pandemic in full bloom, I am jealous of the Orthodox Church's. They will be celebrating Pascha at the start of May 2021 nearly a month later than the Catholic and Protestant communions. Another month allows for greater vaccination and natural infections. Given how quickly the infection is spreading (and unfortunately killing), in combination with vaccinations, we could be back to near normal in terms of Pascha related services this spring. Perhaps it will occur by the start of April anyway but another month would be incredibly helpful.

How hard of a change would it be to change the dates?
Christ is in our midst!!

The is a lot to consider here. The whole of Western Christianity uses the Gregorian calendar. There are large swaths of Western Christianity that are not part of, do not want to be part of any ecumenical activity. So let's suppose the change was made for the Catholic Communion and Easter was made the same as Orthodox Pascha for this one year. What if the rest of western Christianity did not. What does that do?

There are many who would see nothing but Roman arrogance in making this kind of change unilaterally.

OTOH, the chances of gathering all of Western Christianity together and achieving a consensus so that everyone was on the same page -- I don't see that happening. Not only are there many, many communities that have formal structures that could come to the table, but there are far more independent communities that relate to no other authority than themselves. I am not even optimistic about appealing to reason and medical necessity.

Remember the canon of the First Ecumenical Council that stipulates how Easter/Pascha is to be determined. The West uses a calendar that was changed centuries ago but still, by its logic, arrives at the correct date by using that calendar and the canon. So how would such a change be justified?

Good idea; I'd say impossible to get the result you hope to achieve.

Had another thought. Rome did not establish the date for calculating Easter/Pascha. It was done by an ecumenical council of the undivided Church in the early first millennium. Rome has already been criticized for making moves on its own outside the received councils. How would such a move look to the Orthodox? How about the rest of Christianity?
Theophan,

I see your points.

"There are large swaths of Western Christianity that are not part of, do not want to be part of any ecumenical activity. So let's suppose the change was made for the Catholic Communion and Easter was made the same as Orthodox Pascha for this one year. What if the rest of western Christianity did not. What does that do?"

Well, most years have two dates of Easter. In 2021, the April date would have significantly less participants while May would have significantly more smile I suspect Anglicans and the mainline denominations would join in.

As for "Roman Arrogance", for better or worse that is the system we live under and I suspect (though don't know) how the Orthodox would interpret such a move would probably depend on their prior disposition towards Rome. Those more favorably inclined could see it as an act of oikonomia in the midst of the pandemic. Those who are more hostile would probably see it as sign of Roman arrogance.

I am concerned about the Southern Hemisphere. Moving Pascha a month later would place the celebration further into the fall would could make outdoor liturgies more difficult and the virus could spread even faster than in the summer. And since the southern hemisphere probably would come in last in terms of the vaccine reception, that could hurt celebrations.

I suppose there could be two dates for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres as a matter of economy. Christians were in communion with one another despite different calculations of Pascha in the early Church. Yes it caused great scandal, but I am not sure a one year exception would matter, especially given the reasons.

I have already sent an email to the nuncio in Washington. I doubt it will come to much though smile.

Peace and Blessings,
Devin
Originally Posted by Devin1890
With the Covid 19 Pandemic in full bloom,... Given how quickly the infection is spreading (and unfortunately killing),...

How hard of a change would it be to change the dates?
Why not just cancel it? That's the most expedient and the surest for safety. How essential is the annual Pascha observance? Christians, more often than not, do not keep it on the same day anyway.

For the observance and timing of Pascha in relation to the Jewish Passover, however, there is a biblical precedence for delaying it from the first moon (i.e. lunar month) to the second moon:
Quote
Say to the people of Israel, If any man of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is afar off on a journey, he shall still keep the passover to the LORD. In the second month on the fourteenth day in the evening they shall keep it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
(Num 9:9-10 RSV)

That is, if you miss the correct lunar timing, don't just delay and keep it a little later but skip until the next moon (month). Using the traditional Christian reckoning based on the equinox and the 14th day of the moon immediately thereafter, Easter is (Sunday) April 4,2021; the next one following is (Sunday) May 2, 2021.
Christ is in our midst!!

ajk,

Quote
Why not just cancel it? That's the most expedient and the surest for safety. How essential is the annual Pascha observance? Christians, more often than not, do not keep it on the same day anyway.

Good point. Each Sunday is supposed to be a mini Pascha anyway, we missed it this year, and so it might not be all that bad to skip next.

Bob
Originally Posted by theophan
Christ is in our midst!!

ajk,

Quote
Why not just cancel it? That's the most expedient and the surest for safety. How essential is the annual Pascha observance? Christians, more often than not, do not keep it on the same day anyway.

Good point. Each Sunday is supposed to be a mini Pascha anyway, we missed it this year, and so it might not be all that bad to skip next.

Bob
In the Eparchy of Passaic we didn't exactly skip it since all parishes were encouraged by Bishop Kurt to live-stream. At our parish, Patronage in Baltimore, we began live-streaming on Holy and Great Thursday, April 9, 2020, with the Vesper and Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. We have been live-streaming ever since.

Though it is the common view that "Sunday is supposed to be a mini Pascha" in terms of fundamental practice it should be the other way around and gives implicit primacy to the annual feast rather than the more primitive documented practice, the weekly observance. Considering the numerous and spirited debates over the calendar, the more fundamental question is: How necessary is the annual Pascha observance, or any feast for that matter, to the essence of being the Church? We even had a forum on the topic of the harmony of the Typikon -- meaning here basically the temporal and Paschal cycle of feasts etc.-- and the calendars, The liturgical calendars and the Paschal Cycle with the Typikon, taking the Typikon as a given. But what did Jesus actually require of us:

Go preach κηρύξατε (Mar 16:15) keruksate, the kerygma
Go disciple (as a verb) μαθητεύσατε (matheteusate), that is teach, and baptize βαπτίζοντες (baptizontes) (Mat 28:19)
Do this τοῦτο ποιεῖτε (touto poieite) as a remembrance ἀνάμνησιν (anamnesin) (Luk 22:19)

The this is what Jesus had just done: taking bread, a thanksgiving-blessing, breaking and giving, thus the remembering that Jesus commanded we do, and He specifically requests this of Himself: This do, τοῦτο ποιεῖτε -- an imperative, second person plural -- εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν, into my remembrance. [a literal rendering]

The doing -- the Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy -- as that which constitutes us as Church (see What Actually Constitutes the Church?) is Holy Tradition. I would think, however, that even the association of the Eucharist with the Lord's Day (Sunday), the first day of creation and of the week, the day of the Resurrection and the eschatological "Eighth Day," though most venerable and firmly attested by Scripture (Cf. Acts 2:42-46; 1 Cor 11:17.), is ancient tradition but not Holy Tradition. It and the liturgical cycle, the Typikon, is intrinsic liturgical theology, it is primary theology; it is not the destination but it is the truest road map given us by the Church. I think it is the rhythm (the map) of the annual liturgical feasts that serves to remind us of the essentials; and that justifies all the fuss about the calendar issue and why it is necessary for the churches to address it and resolve it, with theology informing praxis.

And that is why not to cancel Pascha.
"The whole of Western Christianity uses the Gregorian calendar." Not quite true. I lived in Greece where most of the Latin dioceses follow the Julian calendar Pascha. (Ironically, the only Catholics following the Gregorian calendar Pascha on mainland Greece are Eastern - the two Maronite parishes!). The same is true in Egypt.

The reverse is true as well - the Orthodox Church of Finland follows Gregorian Pascha.
Originally Posted by Protopappas76
The reverse is true as well - the Orthodox Church of Finland follows Gregorian Pascha.
That's true! But every now and then there arise a question in the Finnish orthodox church to change this practice...
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