Determining the date of Easter is an important issue because Easter is the brightest celebration of all in the Christian world.
So why does it happen so that the different Christian churches celebrate the most important Christian holiday at different times ?
Determining the date of Easter is one of the oldest issues in the history of the Church. In the period from II to VIII century there were numerous discussions about this topic, which led to such events as: the schism of Forti- in the second century, the observation of Easter cycle in the third century, disputes of the Council of Nicaea in 325, and others.
First, a little HISTORY:
In the beginning of almost all Christians celebrated Easter on the Jewish calendar, only a minority (ie. "The Forty-") celebrated it on the 14th day of the month of Nisan (the first month of the Jewish calendar), and another minority - on the Sunday following that date. The first tables to calculate the Passover occurred in the first century, full of contradictions, as far as the Jewish festival of Passover was still in the lunar calendar and movable in the solar calendar.
The Lunar year is 11 days and ¼ shorter than the solar one, therefore the fixed date (the 14th day of the month Nisan), according to the solar calendar is constantly changing - the same thing happens with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. The numerous calculations required in order to determine the date of the celebration of Easter are called "Passover rules" (Passover).
Thus for example, the history has left us the calculation of St. Hippolyte made in 222, covering a period of 16 years; in 243, the one unknown Latin-author offered to make some corrections by accepting March 28th as the date of the new moon. A few years later Laterculus Augustalis established a more accurate 84-year pascal cycle which was used in Rome from 213 to 312, when it was replaced by the so-called Paschalia Romana supputatio vetus, where the Passover must necessarily fall on a day between March 25 and April 21.
The Eastern Orthodox church initially adhered to the 16-year cycle, calculated by Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria (ie. Paschalia Alexandria). Almost nothing has remained as information about this cycle except that it precludes the celebration of Easter before the vernal equinox. Around 280 AC, the work on the compilation of Passover was confirmed Anatoly, Bishop of Laodicea Syrian who created a system that is used up to date. He found a 19-year cycle of the 235 lunar months, corresponding to the 19 Julian years in which the Passover could not be earlier than the equinox (which falls on March 19) and later than April 25.
During the disputes of the early fourth century another bishop of Alexandria - Peter supported the traditional determining of the date of Easter according to the Jewish calculations. Discussions continued until 325 (First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea). By an edict of the Emperor Constantine the Great the celebration of Easter before the vernal equinox was forbidden, which was not entered in the Jewish calculations after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. in fact, the Council of Nicaea confirmed the rule of the Alexandria Passover.
Subsequently there appeared many other Passover disputes concerning issues arising in various local Churches of both the East and the West. Even greater disputes arouse after the calendar reform of Pope Gregory XIII, who in 1582 introduced the Gregorian calendar in order to correct the mistakes of the ancient Julian calendar.
Disputes continue today as well. Even within the Orthodox churches that strictly support the Julian calendar when determining the date of Easter, there are dissident groups.
AFTER THAT HISTORY AND DISPUTES let's see WHAT IS IN PRACTICE THE FACTS ABOUT THE CALCULATION OF EASTER:
The Catholic Church follows the following rule for determining the date of Easter - it is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. In ancient times it was believed that the vernal equinox occurs on the 20th against March 21. This year for example, we have the following calculation of the date of Easter:
- Vernal equinox - March 20
- The first full moon after the equinox - March 21
- The first Sunday after the first full moon - 23 March.
SO EASTER is on 23 MARCH.
Why doesn't, Easter occur on the same date in the Eastern Christian Orthodox communities, provided that they claim to have complied with this rule ? The problem is that the Orthodox Churches have kept the calculations of the old Julian calendar. Only when the first full moon after March 21 is later than April 4, the two Easter dates coincide. Of course, with one condition - even so, there may be a gap of one week if the calculated day coincides with the Jewish Passover. Then the Orthodox communities displace Easter one week later to avoid celebrating with the Jews. The Catholic Church, however, does not displace the day of Resurrection, even if it coincides with the Jewish Passover. Some years there is a large discrepancy between the Catholic and Orthodox Easter.
Incoming searches related to Determining the date of Easter
Earliest date for easter
What is the latest date for easter 2016
History of easter dates
How is orthodox easter determined
Determining easter sunday
Easter when does it fall
Days easter falls on
Easter and full moon