The Date of Easter


Unless you live under a rock you know that today is the Western World it is Easter.  The Orthodox are celebrating Easter a little latter this year, May 5th.  So as the Western World is celebrating Easter the Orthodox are celebrating the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent!

So what’s the deal?  Why do we celebrate Easter or Pascha as we like to call it, on a different day?  Recently, a priest friend of mine, posted a very simple to understand answer to this question on Facebook.  I have been looking for YEARS for a simple way to explain it and now I have it and I pist it below for all the world to see.

Why is the date of Orthodox Pascha so different from Western Easter this year?

There are several reasons:

1. The calculation of the date of Pascha (Easter) in the Orthodox Church maintains the formula of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. “Pascha is the first Sunday following the date of the Paschal Full Moon.”

2. The “Paschal Full Moon” is not calculated according to astronomical observation (any longer), but uses a table composed in the fourth century by the Church of Alexandria. Eventually, this created a table of 19 cycles for determining the date of Pascha.

3. All dates in the calculations are assumed to be on the Julian calendar. The Julian Calendar is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. So, for instance, this year, the actual Julian date of Orthodox Pascha is April 22, which is May 5 on the Gregorian calendar.


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