Why Two Easters?

Again the question is in everyone’s mind, “Why do we as Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate the Great Christian Holy Day of Easter or as we know it (Pasha) on a different day from our Western Christian neighbors? Why doesn’t the Orthodox Church change its calendar to conform with the Western Church? There must be an explanation and it must be reasonable.”

The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the rules set down by the First Ecumenical Synod in 325 A.D. When these rules were set down, there was only one universal Christian Church. It is notable that the Greek Orthodox Church still adheres to the rules for the determination of the Easter date.
These are the rules:

(1) Easter is not to fall earlier than the 22nd of March or later than the 25th of April. (Note: At the time of the Council of Nicaea, the Julian Calendar was in effect.)
(2) Easter Day is to be the Sunday after the full moon, which falls on, or immediately after the 21st of March or if the full moon occurs on a Sunday.
(3) Easter must always follow the Jewish Passover, and not be celebrated before or at the same time with it.

An Easter that coincides with the Jewish Passover is not only incorrect historically, but it is incorrect religiously. If is in fact, in direct contradiction to the words of the Holy Bible. Just as incorrect, if not more so, would be an Easter that occurs before the Jewish Passover. Let us quote on citation from the Gospel according to St. Matthew (ch. 26, 1-5):

And it came about that when Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion.” The chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and the plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth, and kill Him. But they were saying, “Not during the festival, lest a riot occur among the people.”

We the Orthodox Christians take great pride that our Orthodox Church rests upon the theological and historical truth.

To a Great Lenten Journey to Holy Pasha,

Rev. John Cusulos

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