Eastern and Western Churches have disagreed on calendar for centuries

Ecumenical Patriarch considers agreement on 2025 Easter date possible

Istanbul - It's already Easter in the West, but Orthodox Christians still have to wait: the different calendars have divided the churches for centuries. However, the head of honour of Orthodoxy is optimistic that the Easter problem can be solved very quickly.

Published  on 02.04.2024 at 13:38  – 

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is pushing for a common Easter date for Eastern and Western churches. In his Easter greetings to the non-Orthodox churches the head of honour of the Orthodox Church expressed hope that an agreement for a common date could be reached as early as next year. "We implore the Lord of Glory that the upcoming Easter next year will not just be a coincidental event, but rather the beginning of a unified date for its celebration in both Eastern and Western Christianity," said the Patriarch in his sermon on Sunday. He said he was optimistic, as there was goodwill on both sides. "It really is a scandal to celebrate the unique event of the one resurrection of the one Lord separately!" continued Bartholomew.

2025 will be the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea the first ecumenical council, which, among other things, formulated a binding creed for the Church. Years ago, Bartholomew had already named the agreement on a common Easter date as an important topic for the preparation of the anniversary. The Vatican reacted favourably to the initiative, and the Coptic Church also gave its approval. The Moscow Patriarchate, however, does not consider the question of a date to be urgent. urgent. Pope Francis had already offered the Eastern churches in 2015to adopt the Orthodox Easter date in order to resolve the issue.

The non-Catholic Eastern churches celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar, the Western churches according to the Gregorian calendar. This results in usually results in a different date. In extreme cases, there are up to five weeks between the two dates, as is the case this year: while the Latin Church celebrates Easter on 31 April, the date of the Orthodox celebration is not until 5 May. Regardless of an agreement, Easter will be celebrated together in 2025 in any case: According to both calendars, the highest feast of Christianity will then fall on 20 April. (fxn)