Tag Archives: Easter

Will there be a common date for Easter? Ever?

Do you ever think of the (dis)unity of Christians? Are you concerned enough to pray for the unity of the Churches? Today after Mass I prayed a prayer that asked God the Father to give us the grace of unity among Christians while He also fixes the errors that exist among the same. A tall order I know but I am known for bold requests! For some time I’ve been praying that one day–in my lifetime– that among some Christian churches we can observe a common date of Easter if not also a common altar. Needless to say, I am saddened by the fact that most Christians don’t
have an issue with the various Christian churches and ecclesial communities celebrating
Easter on different days. I lament this apathetic approach to our observing THE most solemn day of our Lord and Savior’s triumph over sin and death.


Admittedly, the problem of
a common date for Easter is nearly as old as Christianity itself. History
shows us that when the Apostles formed the various Christian communities under the power of the Spirit and by their work of evangelization differing opinions surfaced on how and when to commemorate Jesus Christ’s death
and resurrection. Most often differing opinions were based on how the four
gospels recorded the events of our salvation. We know the first attempt at
deciding a common date for Easter began with the Council of Nicaea (325). The
Council taught that the date of Easter would be the first Sunday after the full
moon following the vernal equinox. However, there was no method for calculating
the full moon or the vernal equinox.

Today, we have the practice of the Orthodox churches who use the March 21st of the Julian calendar as the date of the equinox, while the churches of
the Western tradition  base
their calculations on the Gregorian calendar.  Hence, a window of difference is five weeks exists. Hmmm!!!???

According to a report on a recent
seminar in the Ukraine attended by Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant
theologians of Europe, all participants endorsed a compromise proposed at a 1997 World Council of
Churches (WCC) consultation in Aleppo, Syria. Notice that no North American theologians’ opinions were considered. The proposal made was to keep the
Nicaea rule but calculate the equinox and full moon using the accurate
astronomical data available today, rather than those used many years ago.
Brilliant, if you ask me!  Now I
wonder of the  churchmen who head
these churches also agree.

Recently, the French Orthodox theologian Professor
Antoine Arjakovsky, director of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies, pointed
out: “Whilst the astronomic reckoning of the Nicean rule comes closer to
the Gregorian calendar than to the ancient Julian one, the Roman Catholic and
Protestant churches did take a step towards the Orthodox churches in Aleppo,
accepting that the date of Easter should be established on the base of a cosmic
calendar rather than by a fixed date as had been proposed prior to the
inter-Orthodox meeting in Chambésy in 1977.”

In 2010 and 2011 there is a
convergence of calendars which will produce a common Easter date that may, one hopes, serve as
an opportunity for all Christians to join together for a celebration that is
not based on mere coincidence. By Easter 2012 (April 8), can we hope that a
date based on exact astronomical reckoning and celebrated by all Christians?

seems that it’s not only theology or the calendar’s calculations that’s the
problem but the ecclesial relations among the communities of faith. Sad if you
ask me.

Saint Augustine on the Ascension of the Lord

We believe in
Jesus whom we have not seen. Those who have seen and touched him with their own
hands, who have heard the word from his mouth, are the ones who have borne
witness to him. It was to teach these things to the world that they were sent
by him. They did not presume to go out on their own initiative. And where did
he send them? You heard the answer to that in the gospel reading: “Go, proclaim
the Good News to every creature under heaven.” The disciples were sent to the
ends of the earth, with signs and wonders accompanying them in confirmation of
their testimony, because they spoke of what they had actually seen.

Ascension Vanni d'Andrea.jpg

We believe in
him though we have not seen him, and we await his return. Whoever waits for him
in faith will rejoice when he comes, but those without faith will be put to
shame at the appearance of what they cannot at present see. Then let us abide
in his words, so that his coming may not put us to shame. In the gospel he
himself says to those who have believed in him: “If you persevere in my word,
you will truly be my disciples.” And to their unspoken question, “What will it
profit us?”, he adds: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you

At present we
possess our salvation in hope, not in fact; we do not yet possess what we have
been promised, but we hope to do so in the future. The one who promised it is
faithful; he will not deceive you, so long as you wait for his promised gift
without growing weary. The truth cannot possibly deceive. Make sure then that
you yourself are not a liar, professing one thing and doing another; keep faith
with him, and he will keep his word to you. If you do not keep faith, it will
be you who deceive yourself, not he who made the promise.

“If you know
that he is righteous, you can be sure that everyone who acts rightly is born of
him.” Our righteousness in this life comes through faith. None but the angels
are perfectly righteous, and they have only a shadow of righteousness in
comparison with God. Nevertheless, if there is any perfect righteousness to be
found in the souls and spirits created by God, it is in the holy angels who are
good and just, who have not fallen away from God nor been thrust out of heaven
by their pride. They abide forever in the contemplation of God’s word and find
their happiness in nothing apart from him who made them. In these is found the
perfection of righteousness, but in us righteousness has its beginning through
faith, as the Spirit leads us.

What Christ won

Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been
given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the
present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads toward a
goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to
justify the effort of the journey. The promise of Christ is not only a reality
that we await, but a real presence. (Benedict XVI)

resurrection scene.jpg

We speak about how things ought to be or what is not going
well and “we do not start from the affirmation that Christ has won the
victory.” To say that Christ has won, that Christ has risen, signifies that the
meaning of my life and of the world is present, already present, and time is
the profound and mysterious working of its manifestation. (Luigi Giussani)

Easter springs anew

resurrection icon.jpg

Let Him Easter in us,

Be a dayspring to the dimness of us,

Be a crimson-cresseted east.


Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

The Wreck of the Deutschland

God’s greatness is experienced in humble ways

When the Lord of the world comes and undertakes the slave’s task of foot-washing – which is an illustration of the way he washes our feet all through our lives – we have a totally different picture. God doesn’t want to trample on us but kneels down before us so as to exalt us. The mystery of the greatness of God is seen precisely in the fact that he can be small… Only when power is changed from the inside, and we accept Jesus and his way of life, whose whole self is there in the action of foot-washing, only then can the world be healed and the people be able to live at peace with one another.   Pope Benedict XVI

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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