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Can Catholics and Orthodox move to a single Easter celebration: the Church explains

Ivanna ShepelNews
Celebrating Easter with Catholics and Orthodox

Easter is a transitional Christian holiday, meaning that its date changes every year. Thus, in 2024, Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on May 5, while Western Rite Christians will celebrate it on March 31.

This difference is because Catholics and Orthodox Christians use different Paschalia. The press service of the Kyivan Patriarchate told OBOZ.UA whether Christians of the Eastern and Western rites can switch to a single Easter celebration.

Easter, in the Christian tradition, is a celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Back in 325, the First Ecumenical Council made a binding decision for the entire Christian Church that Easter should always be celebrated on Sunday and after the Jewish Passover. This holiday is to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox, no earlier than April 4 (March 21, O.S.).

Can Catholics and Orthodox move to a single Easter celebration: the Church explains

Also, at one of the Local Councils in the fourth century, a rule was adopted according to which the Resurrection of Christ should not be celebrated before or together with the Jewish Passover, to avoid contradictions with the Holy Scriptures. However, Catholics do not follow this rule, and sometimes the Resurrection of Christ coincides with the Jewish Passover, as was the case in 2013.

All Orthodox Christians calculate the date of Easter using the same old Julian calendar. According to it, the date of Easter can vary from April 4 (March 21, O.S.) to May 8 (April 25, O.S.). In the Catholic Church, the date of Easter is determined according to the Gregorian calendar, so Catholics usually celebrate Easter earlier than Orthodox Christians.

Thus, there are the following differences in the celebration of Easter by Orthodox and Catholics:

1) the Orthodox use the Julian calendar, while Catholics use the Gregorian calendar;

2) Orthodox Christians never celebrate the Resurrection of Christ before and together with the Jewish Easter.

However, sometimes Easter can coincide for Orthodox and Catholics on the same day, as it will in 2025 and 2028.

As noted in the Kyiv Patriarchate, the question of the possibility of a complete unification of Easter celebrations between Orthodox and Catholics in the future depends on the unity of Christians and is the subject of theological discussions in the Church.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported when Palm Sunday will be celebrated in 2024. The tradition of willow blessing is associated with the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. In ancient times, this period was a popular pagan holiday that gradually merged with Christian traditions.

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