Why are Catholic and Orthodox Easter often celebrated on different days?

(ORDO NEWS) — In 2022, Orthodox Easter falls on April 24, and Catholic Easter falls on April 17. We will tell you why the dates of this holiday so rarely coincide.Despite the fact that the whole question is quite complex, the answer can be reduced to just two reasons.

The first reason: the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars

The first main reason is that the Catholic Church uses the new Gregorian calendar to calculate Easter Sunday, while the Orthodox Churches use the old Julian calendar.

The problem is that the Julian calendar is thirteen days behind the Gregorian. By the way, earlier we talked about how and when these thirteen days disappeared . That is why Orthodox Easter most often comes later than Catholic.

Sometimes the dates of the holidays for Catholics and Orthodox coincide. For example, in 2017, both churches celebrated Easter on April 16th. Why it happens?

Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the spring full moon. The vernal full moon is the first full moon that occurs no earlier than the vernal equinox (March 21).

Both Easters – Orthodox and Gregorian (Catholic and Protestant) – are based on this principle.In 2017, the first Sunday coincided in both calendars.True, there is another reason why these two holidays coincide so rarely.

Second reason: Jewish Pesach (Jewish Passover)

According to the First Council of Nicaea, convened in 325 AD, the celebration of Passover should take place after the Jewish Passover (a holiday commemorating the Exodus from Egypt).

The Orthodox Church follows this rule, the Catholic does not. The Jewish Passover begins on the evening of the full moon after March 21 (the vernal equinox) and lasts seven days.

The next match will only be in 2025.


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