Date of Easter

The other day I posted a news story from the Irish Times on a fixed date for Easter. This is a very interesting question and one that I think deserves a little debate here on this site or on others.

I generally support the idea but I am not so sure that the secular government needs to involve itself in this. Yes it does affect people and their lives as the author states in his article but is this really something that the government needs to involve itself in.

The most interesting line in the story for me anyway is where the author speaks of the Vatican Council and a decision by the Pope to fix the date of Easter for the second Sunday on April. Okay good idea so far. The author claims that the World Council of Churches was set to ago along but that the Orthodox Church vetoed the idea. He claims the reason was so that it would not look like the Orthodox were being dictated to by Rome. I am not sure if this is true and perhaps a reader of these humble pages could enlighten us on this, but please back it up with facts and not just opinion, that is my job…

If this is the case then perhaps we need to revisit this idea and give it some serious thought. One of the most difficult things about being Orthodox in the Western world is Easter and the date. I serve a parish with many blended families, in fact I come from a blended family. Most of my family are Roman Catholics and therefore celebrate Easter by the Western Date. I would say, and I am going out on a limb here, that we the church of the East should when we find ourselves in the West, celebrate Easter by the date of the culture. The same would go of course for churches of the West that find themselves in the East.

In case you are unsure of how we calculate the date of Easter this s how it is done. Again if I am incorrect please feel free to make minor course corrections:

Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Okay with me so far? The difference come with the date of the equinox. On the Julian calendar, the calendar we use in the East for the date of Easter, the equinox is not a fixed date as it is on the Gregorian calendar that we use for everything else. The Gregorian calendar fixes the date of the equinox to March 21st hence the difference in the date of Easter.

Just for your edification the date of Easter for both East and West for 2010 is April 4th


  1. picking a date for easter would be a nice idea.Every year no one is sure when easter is until you get your new callander for that year.Christmas is always dec.25th so why should easter also not have a set date.
    The goverment should keep it nose out of it since it is a religous holiday and the churches should make the decision.linda

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