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Christian Churches Close to Setting Single Date for Easter

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/19/16

Details:

The heads of the Christian churches are close to sealing a deal to fix the date of Easter, the Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed, ending more than a thousand years of confusion and debate. The Church of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury Most Reverend Justin Welby said the agreed date would be either the second or third Sunday of April. He expected to make the change within 5-10 years, though he admitted that churches have been trying to agree on a date without success since the tenth century. Archbishop Welby, Pope Francis, the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (head of the Greek Orthodox church) are all working towards a common date, he said. If they can reach a deal, it will end one of the most noticeable rifts in the church, and have knock-on effects for schools, businesses and the travel industry across the Western World. For one and a half millennia, for Anglicans and Catholics, Easter Sunday has been the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox – a convoluted formula which means the date can vary by more than a month from year to year. For example, in 2016 Easter Sunday falls on March 27. Last year it was April 5, and next year it will be April 16. …Welby said he had discussed the idea in a recent meeting with Pope Tawadros in Cairo. “The (Anglican) primates agreed this morning that we wish to join with Pope Tawadros in what looks like a promising chance of unifying and fixing the date on which Easter is celebrated by the global Church,” he said. “At the moment most of us spend this part of the year saying ‘now when exactly is Easter this year’… Pope Tawadros has put forward the idea to churches in the Eastern tradition and the Western tradition that it be fixed somewhere around the second or third Sunday of April. “We have agreed that we support that.”

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