Sunday, April 08, 2012


Surrexit Dominus vere!


Jonathan said...

Alleluia indeed!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you and the Orthodox use the same calendar? Is this just more stupid church politics?

Father Anonymous said...

It's really not politics, so much as culture.

At the Council of Nicea, in 325, everybody agreed to observe Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon of the spring equinox. (For church purposes, the equinox was declared to be March 21, which isn't always astronomically correct.) That's pretty much what Christians continue to do.

But -- and this is where culture comes into it -- the Julian calendar in use in those days was a little inaccurate. Only a few minutes, but over the centuries it added up to days at a time. In 1582, the somewhat-more-accurate Gregorian calendar was introduced.

It was a victory for science, but not for church unity. Or any other unity, for that matter, since the new calendar was adopted by some countries sooner than others; even into the 20th century, a few countries (such as Russia) used the old calendar.

Most (but not all) Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar to reckon the date of Easter. So, I'm told, do some of the Byzantine churches in communion with Rome.

It's no big deal; there's no theological question at stake, and visible unity is neither created nor impaired by the different practice. The usual East-West "political" issues, such as they are, have to do with national pride and fear of Roman imperialism; I suppose they may be factors on the Orthodox side, but no more so than an earnest effort to preserve the letter of the Nicene agreement.

Still, the symbolism is unfortunate, and I wish that things had worked out differently. On those years (like 2010 and 2011) when the dates coincide, I'm always just a little happier.

Anonymous said...

"Roman imperialism"? You mean centurions and so forth?
People take themselves way too seriously.