Today I was reading an article in the local paper about the start of Lent and what people were going to do. Low and behold at the end there was an explanation that was so simple even I understand it. So here it is let’s see if you can stay with me on this and I will try not to get lost myself.
Both churches determine the date of Easter using this calculation. Easter should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon that occurs on or after the vernal equinox. With me so far? Western churches use the Gregorian calendar while we Orthodox use the Julian calendar. Okay so far so good. Now we complicate things a little more. We also use a different way to calculate the vernal equinox. We Orthodox set the date for Easter based on the actual astronomical full moon and the actual equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem. Okay not so bad, I get it. The Western Churches used the fixed date of 21 March for the vernal equinox and define the full moon on ecclesiastical calculations that were used by church leaders many years ago.
Okay so it seems that we are all confused. I have been an advocate of a fixed date for Easter. I think it would make things a little easier on all of us. For example, the local schools usually have a vacation close to holy week but this year it will not be so it would appear that the kids will be in school on Good Friday, for both Good Fridays unless the parents keep the kids home.
Anyway I am not going to be able to make this decision, and church leaders don’t usually call me and ask my opinion on anything so I guess I will only be able to make my views know here.
I hope this has helped clear things up a little.