Roman catholic church dating
In the year 325, the Council of Nicaea attempted to bring in a unified solution that would retain the link with the date of Passover as celebrated in Jesus' time. But the real problem behind the situation we have today arose in the 16th Century, when the Julian calendar, which had been established in 46 BC, was superseded by the Gregorian calendar. Why did the Gregorian calendar reform happen at all? The fundamental problem behind this is that the astronomical year - that is, the time the earth takes to make its journey round the sun - is not exactly 365 days: it's actually 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
Eventually, therefore, Easter's date was established as movable. It took some time for the new calendar to be adopted by all countries (it did not happen in Greece until the start of the 20th Century! However, the Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar to this day to calculate the vernal equinox and the full moon that follows it. However, as the year has to be divided into equal portions for practical purposes, leap years have to be introduced to resolve the problem. What's the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars? The difference between the two calendars lies precisely in how they resolve this problem.
In those days, the Jews celebrated Passover on the "14th day of the first month" in accordance with the Bible's commands (see Lev. In other words, the Passover was celebrated on the first full moon following the vernal equinox and was therefore a movable feast.
Early sources tell us that this very soon led to Christians in different parts of the world celebrating Easter on different dates.
In 2007 Christians from all traditions will celebrate Easter on the same day, April 8.
But in many years major Christian traditions celebrate Easter on different dates, thus giving the impression of a divided witness to this fundamental aspect of the Christian faith.
In recent years the desire to find a common date for the celebration of Easter, the Holy Pascha, the feast of Christ's resurrection, has become more and urgent.
Initiatives by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches have urged churches to address this issue.
This page seeks to provide some answers to frequent questions asked about the date of Easter. Why isn't Easter on the same date every year - like Christmas, for instance? The short answer is that in the 4th century it was decided that Easter would fall after the first full moon following the vernal or spring equinox.
(The equinox is a day in the year on which daytime and night-time are of equal length.
As early as the end of the 2nd century, some churches were celebrating Easter on the day of Passover itself, whether it was a Sunday or not, while others would celebrate it on the Sunday that followed it.
By the end of the 4th century there were four different methods of calculating the date of Easter. The Council of Nicaea established that the date of Easter would be the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. Why, then, despite the universal rule laid down at Nicaea, do different parts of the Church still celebrate Christ's resurrection on different dates? The first thing to remember is that, even after the Council of Nicaea, differences in the date of Easter remained, since the Council had said nothing about the methods to be used to calculate the timing of the full moon or the vernal equinox. The calendar reform established by Pope Gregory XIII was necessary because the Julian calendar used in those days had begun to lag behind astronomical reality - which is to say that by the time 21 March came around on the calendar, the actual, astronomical vernal equinox had already happened.