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Why Orthodox and Catholic Easter Are on Different Dates

Easter dates for the Catholic and Orthodox faiths typically differ. Greek Orthodox Easter, or Pascha, is approaching. This religious holiday is observed in Greece with greater passion and intensity than in many other Western Christian nations. Orthodox Easter always falls AFTER passover.

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The two major Christian religions last shared same day celebration for the holiday was in 2017. For the two denominations, there would be a growing time difference between Easter celebrations.  Due to this growing divide, Easter celebrations in Western Christian denominations and the Greek Orthodox Church will never again coincide starting in the year 2700.

Easter will be celebrated on the same day 31 times in total for the whole 21st century, but this will happen less frequently with each passing century. Easter will likely not be celebrated simultaneously again until 2698. Orthodox and western Christians will never again jointly commemorate the Resurrection of Christ after that point.

Finding a single date for Easter and keeping to it has been a contentious issue that has sparked discussions throughout history. Christians used to commemorate Jesus Christ’s resurrection throughout the year in the early years of their faith.

SEE BEAUTIFUL SANTORINI LIT UP FOR GREEK ORTHODOX EASTER

The Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD developed a standard method for determining the date. They decided that Easter would always fall after Passover and would be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox.

The celebration of Orthodox Easter typically occurs later than in the West because the Orthodox have continued to use this technique of determining the date of the feast. This year, Catholic Easter is on Sunday, March 31, 2024 and Orthodox Easter is over a month later, on Sunday, May 5, 2024.








16 thoughts on “Why Orthodox and Catholic Easter Are on Different Dates

  1. Since the last supper was either the first or second Seder of Passover the so called holiday should be based on the Jewish calendar and not on the moon.

    1. There was only one Passover Seder observed at the time of Jesus. To this day there is only one Seder in Israel.

  2. Seems they should be at same time…you actually think Christ has time for
    This baloney.
    Celebrate the Resurrection 3rd week in April every year… The Apostles would love it and so would all of us.
    Christ has Risen… this week or next He has risen. God Bless.

  3. Incorrect information. The calculation does not include Passover in the Canon…

  4. “the Orthodox have continued to use this technique of determining the date of the feast.”
    Not really. The Orthodox have continued to use the FORMULA devised by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th c. AD to implement the principle that Easter should be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox and adopted by the whole Church at the time; but that formula was based on the assumptions that (a) the spring equinox always falls on March 21 of the Julian calendar, which is in error by 1 day in 128 years, and (b) that the phases of the moon recur on the same dates every 19 years, which is in error by 1 day in a little over 300 years. Pope Gregory XIII corrected this error for the Roman Catholic Church in the late 16th century, and all Protestant denominations followed suit sooner or later, but the Orthodox Churches still use the pre-Gregorian method of calculation of the date of Easter, even though many of them, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Churches of Greece, Cyprus and (I think) Bulgaria, use the Gregorian calendar for the fixed feasts, thus upsetting the established order of the ecclesiastical calendar in minor ways.

    1. It’s mostly accurate information except for the beginning and the end. The “Formula” or rather the Easter tables were first used by the Patriarchs of Alexandria Sts. Athanasius and Cyril in the 4th century AD recommended by their astronomers. This is manifested by the yearly letters to all Christians by these Hierarchs as was directed by the 1st Ecumenical Synod. Rome’s Pope used different tables at the time and didn’t always agree with the rest of Christianity. Dionysius Exiguus documented the Alexandrine method, along with Jesus Christ year of birth, and introduced it to Rome church where eventually took hold. Also: the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Churches of Greece, Alexandria, Cyprus, Bulgaria, etc. use the Revised Julian calendar which is a bit more accurate than the Gregorian.

    2. Easter cannot be before the Passover by definition. Anything about calendars is rubbish. The Orthodox are theologically correct.

  5. In a commendable display of ecumenical charity, the Roman Catholic Church has permitted the (relatively few) Roman Catholics of Greece to celebrate Easter together with their Orthodox fellow-countrymen. Similarly, the (tiny) Orthodox Church of Finland has obtained the Patriarch’s permission to celebrate Easter together with the country’s Lutheran majority.

    1. I find this information comforting. Of course there’s more work to be done, but thank you for pointing out the beauty of Christian fraternal love in local pockets of the world.

    2. My father is Catholic and my mother Greek Orthodox. We celebrate both Easter’s. Nobody is going to tell me to do otherwise. We love both sides of the family!

        1. “The Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD developed a standard method for determining the date. They decided that Easter would always fall after Passover” That’s fake news. There is no canon or rule about Easter and Passover by the First Ecumenical Council. There just decided to let the Patriarch of Alexandria, who was surrounded by famous astronomers of the great city, to determine the date and notify yearly all other Churches.

  6. I jusrt wish there would be a consensus to determine a mutual date — this is a cumbersome situation to navigate not to mention the inconsistent explanations as to why this discrepancy occurs

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