A SENIOR Orthodox archbishop has called on churches to begin celebrating Easter on the same day from 2025: the 17th centenary of the First Council of Nicaea.
“We often forget that the Nicaea Council not only promulgated a universal Creed, but also ensured a common celebration of Easter for the entire Christendom — with division caused by schisms and heresies, this was necessary to manifest unity in faith,” the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s permanent delegate to the World Council of Churches (WCC), Archbishop Job Getcha, said.
“Yet Christian Churches are divided today, unfortunately, over celebration of this great feast. The reason is that not everyone is using the same tools.”
In an editorial on his delegation’s website, the Archbishop said that the Council, in 325, had directed Easter to be set astronomically on the first Sunday following the full moon after the spring equinox rather than on a specific date or feast day.
“Perhaps the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea in 2025 would be a good occasion to educate Christians on the necessity of a calendar reform”, the Archbishop said. “The fact that the Eastern and Western dates of Easter will coincide that year should be taken as an encouragement.”
While Western Churches generally use the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Churches mostly follow the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind, and places Easter 2021 on 2 May, a month after the Western festival on 4 April.
Johannes Oeldermann, from the Johann-Adam-Möhler-Institute of Ecumenism, in Germany, cautioned, however, that the initiative would be opposed by Russian Orthodox leaders if promoted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “Many Orthodox church leaders would also have reservations about accepting a proposal from the Catholic side; Orthodox fundamentalists would interpret this as a kind of submission to the Catholic Church,” he told the German Dom Radio.
In his editorial, Archbishop Job said that the Geneva-based WCC would be marking the 2025 anniversary with a world conference on the transmission of faith.