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« on: April 13, 2006, 01:09:53 PM »

I'm now officially confused as to why Pascha and Western Easter are on different days this year.  I understand the basic rule is that Pascha/Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon, following the Equinox.  However, that would be this Sunday or Western Easter.  I had understood that the differenced usually have to do with the fact that the West uses an "Ecclesiastical" full moon, if you will, whereas the East uses the actual full moon.  However, this year the actual full moon is tomorrow.

Can anyone shed some light on this?  Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2006, 01:17:59 PM »

The formula is 1st Sunday after 1st full moon after vernal equinox (the Old Calendar vernal equinox, which is April 4) as long as the passover has occured; this formula was then applied to make a calendar with the Paschal cycles pre-formulated.

Have the jewish communities celebrated Passover yet?  (MBZ, where are you?)
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2006, 01:27:05 PM »

Passover begins tonight.
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2006, 01:45:50 PM »

Passover begins tonight.
Nope.  Yesterday at Sundown. Tongue
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2006, 01:59:56 PM »

A link to an informative article on the GOA web site: www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7050.asp

Summary of reasons for difference between East and West as regards date of Pascha/Easter
  • The effect of our calendar difference on the reckoning of the vernal equinox--March 21 on Julian Calendar equates to April 3 on Gregorian Calendar, so the churches that follow the Julian Calendar vernal equinox (all Orthodox Churches outside of Finland) cannot celebrate Pascha before April 3.
  • The East's 19-year Paschal cycle vs. the West's 84-year Paschal cycle
  • Paschal dates calculated centuries ago--calculations may be out of date in relation to advances in astronomy since calculations were made
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2006, 02:54:31 PM »

In years like this year, the difference in dates can be found in points #2 and #3 in Peter's post above.
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2006, 03:19:12 PM »

"I had understood that the differenced usually have to do with the fact that the West uses an "Ecclesiastical" full moon, if you will, whereas the East uses the actual full moon."

It is the other way around and it involves the equinox.  The East uses an Ecclesiastical equinox of Apr 3, West use the actual equinox of Mar 21.
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2006, 03:50:27 PM »

"I had understood that the differenced usually have to do with the fact that the West uses an "Ecclesiastical" full moon, if you will, whereas the East uses the actual full moon."

It is the other way around and it involves the equinox.  The East uses an Ecclesiastical equinox of Apr 3, West use the actual equinox of Mar 21.

According to the Orthodox ecclesiastical calendar, the vernal equinox is still March 21.  The only reason the East uses April 3 as the equinox is that this is the Gregorian date on which the Julian date March 21 falls.
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2006, 04:12:43 PM »

According to the Orthodox ecclesiastical calendar, the vernal equinox is still March 21.  The only reason the East uses April 3 as the equinox is that this is the Gregorian date on which the Julian date March 21 falls.

kay, wait, I gotta post here, since I've been wondering about this very thing and what was just said confuses me...

I see how commemorating saint so-and-so on Julian date X as opposed to Gregorian date X would work, since that's pretty much (ultimately) arbitrary and up to the people commemorating them (ie, the Fathers set up the commemorations that way; we should stick to them, etc.).  But this involves actual astronomical data here; the date where the day and night period are equal--the Equinox--falls on or around March 21st, not April 3rd (or March 21st, Julian reckoning).  Why do we insist that the Equinox, which has already empirically happened by the Julian March 21st, be commemorated on a day other than the one it clearly coincided with, namely the Gregorian March 21st, which is seen as March 8th through Julian eyes?

Sigh...
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2006, 04:20:10 PM »

kay, wait, I gotta post here, since I've been wondering about this very thing and what was just said confuses me...

I see how commemorating saint so-and-so on Julian date X as opposed to Gregorian date X would work, since that's pretty much (ultimately) arbitrary and up to the people commemorating them (ie, the Fathers set up the commemorations that way; we should stick to them, etc.).  But this involves actual astronomical data here; the date where the day and night period are equal--the Equinox--falls on or around March 21st, not April 3rd (or March 21st, Julian reckoning).  Why do we insist that the Equinox, which has already empirically happened by the Julian March 21st, be commemorated on a day other than the one it clearly coincided with, namely the Gregorian March 21st?

Sigh...

I guess the only answer I can give to this complaint is that the Orthodox Church just hasn't yet updated its calendar to make it more astronomically accurate.  You would be surprised at just how anti-scientific many Orthodox can be.  "Why should we change the calendar approved by the Holy Fathers just to keep in step with 'modern' advances in science?"

I agree with you in my dislike for this attitude, but what can I do about it?  Is changing the Church in this way something I should take upon myself?  I think obedience to what the Church currently does may be the best thing for me to do right now.
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2006, 03:50:35 PM »

kay, wait, I gotta post here, since I've been wondering about this very thing and what was just said confuses me...

I see how commemorating saint so-and-so on Julian date X as opposed to Gregorian date X would work, since that's pretty much (ultimately) arbitrary and up to the people commemorating them (ie, the Fathers set up the commemorations that way; we should stick to them, etc.).  But this involves actual astronomical data here; the date where the day and night period are equal--the Equinox--falls on or around March 21st, not April 3rd (or March 21st, Julian reckoning).  Why do we insist that the Equinox, which has already empirically happened by the Julian March 21st, be commemorated on a day other than the one it clearly coincided with, namely the Gregorian March 21st, which is seen as March 8th through Julian eyes?

Sigh...

Yup. This is one of the things those in favor of the New Calendar (and a new date for Pascha) point out. Or, as Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas puts it: It's not a new calendar, it's just not an entirely wrong calendar.

Anyway, here are some notes I took in his Holy Week seminar a few years back. They are unedited (and therefore fragmentary), but to the point nonetheless. One of his points is that Church history reveals that the early Fathers were actually quite concerned with getting the date astronomically correct and, thus, we are actually violating their spirit and intention by sticking to an incorrect calculation of the Equinox. The notes:

Our earliest source for the feast of Pascha itself come from the end of the 2nd century, when there was a dispute over the idea and time for the celebration of the event. Probably for decades before this, there was debate.

One strain of thought came from Asia Minor: that Jesus was crucified on the 14th of Nisan, regardless of the day of week, b/c this is the Jewish Passover. Whether it’s Monday or Friday, Sunday or Tuesday, we’re going to celebrate the Pascha of the Lord b/c that’s when it happened — and the celebration will be focused on the Cross (sacrificial element).

Rome said: Pascha should always fall on a Sunday b/c that’s when he was RAISED from the dead.

This controversy continued until the first Ecumenical Synod. The Synod took this issue up and declared: Pascha should be on Sunday. But in order to make sure there is never more than one Pascha in one year, the Synod declared that Pascha must be AFTER the first full moon of the Spring equinox. You need the Spring Equinox, and the full moon, and then the Sunday. Spring Equinox makes certain a whole year goes by, and the full moon is in keeping with the Jewish thinking. It was the decided the Patriarch of Alexandria should decide when the date should fall, b/c that’s where the scholars and scientists were.

We should respect human wisdom and science. Not uncritically, but fully.

The problem arose when the scientists of the time discovered that the Jewish calendars were faulty.

Thereafter, the West began to develop little schemas, projecting when Pascha would fall in the future. So did the Eastern Alexandrian scientists and bishops. Both schemas were faulty according to modern scientific measurements of time. By the late Middle Ages, the astronomers of the East went to the Emperor of Byzantium and said: “The calendar is off...the Spring Equinox is moving into Summer.” But the Empire was being attacked on every side, and the Emperor decided not to get involved in adjusting the calendar (which would mean dropping some days — sure to cause controversy).

While the East was the first to recognize this problem, a 16th century astronomer convinced the West to adopt a new calendar (Gregorian) that was accurate.

For a number of years the Protestants would not adopt the “Papal” calander. By the end of the 18th century, every place in Europe had adopted the more accurate calendar — except for the Orthodox lands.

In 1920s, there was a Pan-Orthodox Council in Constantinope. Some of the Orthodox Churches adopted the "new" calendar. But, since not everyone agreed, the Ecumenical Patriarch decided that *all* Churches should continue to use the "old" (or incorrect) calendar, so that we would all at least celebrate Pascha on the same day.

The only possible days for Pascha according to the Nicaean formula: March 22 - April 25, which means, according to the "new" calendar: April 4 to May 8.

Calendar issue and Paschal tables both need to be revised, for East and West.

Synoptic Gospels say that Jesus was at the Passover on Great and Holy Thursday. But that would be near impossible to be crucified during the Passover Feast. The 14th of Nissan: The Gospel of John indicates that on the year of the Lord’s Death, the Passover occurred on a Saturday. On Friday, thefore, the lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple in preperation for the celebration of the Passover on Saturday. We follow John's account, which fits theologically and historically.
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2006, 03:00:03 AM »

One of his points is that Church history reveals that the early Fathers were actually quite concerned with getting the date astronomically correct and, thus, we are actually violating their spirit and intention by sticking to an incorrect calculation of the Equinox.

I have learned in my short life thus far that the spirit of the rules is often best observed by violating the letter of the rules.

"Why do we want to change the calendar that the Holy Fathers have given us?"  Maybe because it serves the best interests of the Spirit of the same Holy Fathers.
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2006, 09:04:38 AM »

The Synod took this issue up and declared: Pascha should be on Sunday. But in order to make sure there is never more than one Pascha in one year, the Synod declared that Pascha must be AFTER the first full moon of the Spring equinox.
Could you point out which canon or document of the First Oecumenical Synod states this?
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2006, 09:15:40 AM »

Could you point out which canon or document of the First Oecumenical Synod states this?
I will give a $100 Amazon.com gift voucher to anyone who can point to any decree of the Oecumenical Synod of Nicea which stipulates that Pascha must fall on the first Sunday after the full moon which follows the vernal equinox.
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2006, 09:31:53 AM »

If you'll notice, there is usually bad weather for Orthodox Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, and/or Holy Saturday, but the weather for Pascha is usually sunny and beautiful.   Grin  Just an observation, not an inference.   Wink
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2006, 09:51:16 AM »

I believe that the correct answer is that Easter cannot be observed on the first day of Passover and that the date is to be determined by the church in Alexandria.
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2006, 10:11:07 AM »

The simple fact remains is that all of the Orthodox Churches should have adopted the new calendar or none should have so that we would have remained together. The decision by some to adopt it regardless of what their brother Orthodox Churches did created division where none had existed previously.

Peraonlly, I'm very happy to celebrate the Nativity and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have left town!  Wink
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2006, 10:12:35 AM »

I believe that the correct answer is that Easter cannot be observed on the first day of Passover and that the date is to be determined by the church in Alexandria.
Getting closer, but not entirely correct.
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2006, 12:52:23 PM »

The simple fact remains is that all of the Orthodox Churches should have adopted the new calendar or none should have so that we would have remained together. The decision by some to adopt it regardless of what their brother Orthodox Churches did created division where none had existed previously.

This is actually not a fact; rather, it is an opinion, an opinion held by many Orthodox, yet still a mere opinion.  Personally, I do sympathize greatly with the opinion.

I'm a communicant in a New-Calendar church, so I obviously don't see the use of the New Calendar as a heresy from which I must distance myself.  In fact, my earlier post on this issue should indicate that I personally support the adoption of the New Calendar.  But seeing how the decision to use the New Calendar was made very unilaterally without consultation of the rest of the Church, and seeing how divisive this decision has been, I really would have liked to have seen this decision made in a much more catholic, conciliar manner that showed much more respect for the way we Orthodox make such major decisions.  Yes, all the churches should have adopted the New Calendar, or none should have.

Quote
Peraonlly, I'm very happy to celebrate the Nativity and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have left town!  Wink

Why not seek instead to reclaim the holidays that had been taken from us?
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2006, 01:50:57 PM »

Quote
Why not seek instead to reclaim the holidays that had been taken from us?
I don't know how much of this is even true.  Being a follower of the Julian calendar, I've never felt a "religious" connection to Gregorian calendar dates and I often see that as a blessing.

They have become so commercialized (and thus trivialized IMHO) that I'm not sure there is much to "reclaim".
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« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2006, 02:25:57 PM »

"I will give a $100 Amazon.com gift voucher to anyone who can point to any decree of the Oecumenical Synod of Nicea which stipulates that Pascha must fall on the first Sunday after the full moon which follows the vernal equinox."

The Canons of the First Council of Nicea do not contain a Canon that specifies the manner of the calculation of the date, presumably because Rome and Alexandria had differing calculations, and the goal of the Council was to end the Quartodecimian dispute not start a new one.  The Formula though is known becasue of the writings of others citing this rule and it is this formula that Christians use to determine the date of Pascha.  Besides the differences between the Julian and Gregorian Equinox dates there is also the manner in which leap years are dealt with and this is probably what the difference in the Alexandrian and Roman calculations were.  It is also worth noting that after Nicea Rome's date still differed from the East's because of this and know one made an issue of it.

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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2006, 02:27:18 PM »

Why not seek instead to reclaim the holidays that had been taken from us?
Given the commercialization of those holidays, I don't know how'd you even begin such a task, which is why I prefer the separation that we currently have from the Western dates.
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« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2006, 02:56:54 PM »

Given the commercialization of those holidays, I don't know how'd you even begin such a task, which is why I prefer the separation that we currently have from the Western dates.

We did it before.  The Church scheduled Christmas for December 25 primarily to claim for itself a pagan festival day so that She could begin the process of Christianizing the day.  I'd say that we succeeded and enjoyed this success until the recent apostasy.
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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2006, 03:13:51 PM »

The Canons of the First Council of Nicea do not contain a Canon that specifies the manner of the calculation of the date, presumably because Rome and Alexandria had differing calculations, and the goal of the Council was to end the Quartodecimian dispute not start a new one.  
Bravo! I knew my $100 would be safe because, despite what many people believe, there is no record of the method of calculation of the date of Pascha based on full moon following the vernal equinox in the documents of Nicea. The only things we have any records of being mentioned were that Pascha should be celebrated on Sunday, and should be celebrated after the Jewish Pascha, and the reason for this latter point was because, at the time, the Jewish Rabbis were changing the method of calculation of the Jewish Calendar, which meant that Pesach (Passover) would be calculated using a different method to the one in use when Christ was crucified. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews had begun to change the method of calculating their calendar throughout the Diaspora based on local calendars, which lead to different calculations for the date of Pesach, and consequently, different calculations for the date of the Christian Pascha.
The Jewish Calendar begins with the Month of Nissan which is the first month of Spring in the Holy Land. The Jewish Pesach is celebrated on the 15th day of Nissan. Jewish months are lunar months and begin with the New Moon, so the Full Moon occurs 14 days later, on the 15th day of the month, so Pesach falls on the first full moon of Spring- sound familiar?
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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2006, 03:21:36 PM »

 Besides the differences between the Julian and Gregorian Equinox dates there is also the manner in which leap years are dealt with and this is probably what the difference in the Alexandrian and Roman calculations were.  
Actually, there's a bit more to it. Rome used (and still uses) the "Ecclesiastical Full Moon" based on projected calculations which do not necessarily correspond to the actual full moon, whereas Alexandria (and Eastern Orthodoxy today) use the actual full moon as observed from the meridian which passes through Jerusalem.
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« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2006, 10:47:41 PM »

The only things we have any records of being mentioned were that Pascha should be celebrated on Sunday, and should be celebrated after the Jewish Pascha, and the reason for this latter point was because, at the time, the Jewish Rabbis were changing the method of calculation of the Jewish Calendar, which meant that Pesach (Passover) would be calculated using a different method to the one in use when Christ was crucified. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews had begun to change the method of calculating their calendar throughout the Diaspora based on local calendars, which lead to different calculations for the date of Pesach, and consequently, different calculations for the date of the Christian Pascha.
The Jewish Calendar begins with the Month of Nissan which is the first month of Spring in the Holy Land. The Jewish Pesach is celebrated on the 15th day of Nissan. Jewish months are lunar months and begin with the New Moon, so the Full Moon occurs 14 days later, on the 15th day of the month, so Pesach falls on the first full moon of Spring- sound familiar?
Oz  ..I had read this as well. The date for passover changed. At one point in the early church,  early Christians were in fact, Jews.. and they celebrated passover and Easter..the first and the second pascha, so to speak....

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« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2006, 11:05:44 PM »

I'm now officially confused as to why Pascha and Western Easter are on different days this year.  I understand the basic rule is that Pascha/Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon, following the Equinox.  However, that would be this Sunday or Western Easter.  I had understood that the differenced usually have to do with the fact that the West uses an "Ecclesiastical" full moon, if you will, whereas the East uses the actual full moon.  However, this year the actual full moon is tomorrow.

Can anyone shed some light on this?  Thanks!

As you can see from the answers.. it is not something obvious, 100% understood by most Orthodox,  nor easy to explain by the ones who do understand it... even the best theologians,writers, & lecturers get tangled as they try to explain it...which is why we'll never influence the Christian world to use the Orthodox calendar... It's amazing to me that when calendars were improved to more accurately measure time, we didn't go with it..By that standard,we should all be communicating by pigeons & use sundials.. not computers,phones, & clocks. The only reason to do our different date, imho,would be if it coincided exactly with the anniversary of the actual day of the crucifixion and resurrection...and no one ever clearly says that is the case..It just coincides with a calendar mistake made long ago... &it's just stubbornness sticking to a calendar that was wrong to begin with...

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« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2006, 11:50:03 PM »

Actually, there's a bit more to it. Rome used (and still uses) the "Ecclesiastical Full Moon" based on projected calculations which do not necessarily correspond to the actual full moon, whereas Alexandria (and Eastern Orthodoxy today) use the actual full moon as observed from the meridian which passes through Jerusalem.

No, they do not-- unless there has been an extremely recent change. As far as I can tell, "Julian" dates reflect the Dionysian Paschalion that was used in the West before the Gregorian reform.


Anyway, half the Aleppo solution is no solution at all, if they aren't also using the correct equinox. If they were, they would be getting the same date as the west does. (There's one year in the not-to-distant-future where the Aleppo date and the Gregorian date differ, but it isn't this year.)
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« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2006, 12:26:44 AM »

From what I've read and heard, its just a handful of Orthodox traditionalist Greeks and Russians who will throw the whole thing upside down if we did change to the Western Calendar.

Hey, would the Holy Fire (Αγιος Φος) from the Jerusalem Sepulchre not work if it was done on the Western date? I don't think  it wouldn't work but some people point to that. IMO, it works not because of the date but because of the orthodoxy. I also wonder if it would work if Catholics did their prayers, I wonder if fire would come. I've read an account where the Armenians tried it and it didn't work...
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« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2006, 05:46:36 AM »

No, they do not-- unless there has been an extremely recent change. As far as I can tell, "Julian" dates reflect the Dionysian Paschalion that was used in the West before the Gregorian reform.
There in fact was such a recent change. In 1923, a Pan Orthodox Synod decreed that the Paschal Full Moon would thence forth be the astronomical full moon observed from the Meridian on which Jerusalem lies. For more information about this, see:
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/easter.html
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« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2006, 07:13:34 AM »

There in fact was such a recent change. In 1923, a Pan Orthodox Synod decreed that the Paschal Full Moon would thence forth be the astronomical full moon observed from the Meridian on which Jerusalem lies. For more information about this, see:
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/easter.html

Um, from what I can see, the USN is leaving out a lot of salient facts. It's hard to find out exactly what the 1923 synod actually decided; I have failed to find any actual record of their findings. It does appear to be possible that they did "agree" on what would eventually be reproposed as the Aleppo solution. However, it's also clear that no church fully implemented their "reforms". Some churches went to Gregorian dates for fixed feasts, and some did not; but no church abandoned the old paschalion, in the end. For example, here is an article from the Greek archdiocese which explains their use of the old mechanical paschalion.

The Old Calendarist churches never changed their paschalion; however, the rest of Orthodoxy (except in Finland, where the Gregorian Paschalion was adopted and continues to be used) observes the same Easter as the Old Calendarists.
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« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2006, 07:46:32 AM »

It's hard to find out exactly what the 1923 synod actually decided;
Here 'tis.
The text of the decree of the Pan-Orthodox synod of Constantinople as posted at the website of the library of the Church of Greece:
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/books/book1/kef3_meros1.htm

The relevant section reads:
"Της ημέρας λογιζομένης από μεσονυκτίου εις μεσονύκτιον η πολιτική ημερομηνία της πρώτης αντιστοιχίας της σελήνης (Opposition de la Lune ) μετά την εαρινήν ισημερίαν θέλει καθορισθή επί τη βάσει του χρόνου του μεσημβρινού, όστις διέρχεται διά του ναού του Αγίου Τάφου. Η πρώτη Κυριακή μετά την ημερομηνίαν ταύτην είναι η ημέρα του Πάσχα, δηλ. εάν η ημερομηνία αύτη συμπέση Κυριακήν, το Πάσχα θα εορτασθή την επομένην Κυριακήν».

Which roughly translates as:
"The days being calculated from midnight to midnight, the civil date of the First Lunar Opposition* (Opposition de la Lune ) after the vernal equinox must be determined according to the time of the meridian which passes through the Church of the Holy Sepulchure. The First Sunday after this date is the Day of Pascha, and if this date is a Sunday, Pascha will be celebrated the following Sunday."

*The Lunar Opposition is when the Moon is astronomically opposite the Sun from the point of view of the Earth, that is, the exact moment when the Moon is completely Full.
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« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2006, 10:20:51 AM »

Regardless of what the synod decided, its recommendations/canons/whatever were not entirely implemented. Some churches did "correct" their fixed calendars, but except for the Orthodox Church of Finland no church implemented the new paschalion.
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« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2006, 05:42:43 PM »

Regardless of what the synod decided, its recommendations/canons/whatever were not entirely implemented. Some churches did "correct" their fixed calendars, but except for the Orthodox Church of Finland no church implemented the new paschalion.
Yes they were implimented. You're forgetting the fact that it is a "Revised Julian Calendar", and so the Spring Equinox is still determined according to the Julian Calendar. The Church of Finland is the only Orthodox Church which doesn't follow the new Paschalion.
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« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2006, 09:10:51 AM »

Yes they were implimented. You're forgetting the fact that it is a "Revised Julian Calendar", and so the Spring Equinox is still determined according to the Julian Calendar. The Church of Finland is the only Orthodox Church which doesn't follow the new Paschalion.

Sorry, but this doesn't wash. The Gregorian calculated moon and what I'll call the Jerusalem moon are not all that different; if one ignores the equinox for the moment, Eastern and Western Easter should always be either on the same date or four weeks later (because the "following Sunday" will be one full moon later when Gregorian Easter is on/before April 4). But this year the Julian new moon was on (Gregorian) April 17th, which is why Orthodox Easter was on (Gregorian) April 23 instead of falling a week earlier (actual full moon was April 13). And before you add thirteen days to April 13, that would have put Eastern Easter another week later.
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« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2006, 06:54:43 PM »

I see your point Keble. Ironic, isn't it, that nobody's Paschalion actually meets the criteria of the first full moon after the equinox, but rather, an imaginary full moon.
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« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2006, 11:48:08 PM »

Well, the Aleppo solution of 1997 (sponsored by the WCC among others) is, as far as I can tell, the same solution as that of 1923. And once again, it was sunk by Orthodox churches. For instance, the Russian church helpfully suggested that everyone go back to the Julian paschalion and then there's the usual posturing by the folks at the Orthodox Christian Information Center with such prize remarks as "the Orthodox do not celebrate 'Easter' but rather 'Pascha'". Nobody in the West is going to bother with a unilateral correction, so calendar reform is surely a dead issue in our lifetimes.
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« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2006, 07:15:57 AM »

Well, the Aleppo solution of 1997 (sponsored by the WCC among others) is, as far as I can tell, the same solution as that of 1923. And once again, it was sunk by Orthodox churches. For instance, the Russian church helpfully suggested that everyone go back to the Julian paschalion and then there's the usual posturing by the folks at the Orthodox Christian Information Center with such prize remarks as "the Orthodox do not celebrate 'Easter' but rather 'Pascha'". Nobody in the West is going to bother with a unilateral correction, so calendar reform is surely a dead issue in our lifetimes.
It's nonsense, isn't it? But I think I see a solution to Orthodox "stubbornness", if we look at the problem this way:
The Orthodox Churches which follow the "Old Calendar" see the 1923 Synod proposal as "New Calendar". The way I would sell it to them is like this:
"You say you want to follow the Patristic Tradition. Well the Patristic Tradition is that Pascha is the Sunday following the Full Moon which follows the Spring Equinox. At the moment, you are not doing this, so you are not following the Fathers. There can be no arguing about the objective signs which God has sent us to show us when to celebrate Pascha- both the Full Moon and the Spring Equinox are observable, objective phenomena, and yet you fail to accept God's signs of the times?"
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« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2006, 07:57:02 AM »

Another sticking point is the (mis)interpretation of the eighth Apostolic Canon, which states:
"If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon shall celebrate the Feast of Pascha before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deprived".
This certainly means that Pascha must follow after the Vernal Equinox, but it doesn't necessarily mean that Pascha must follow after the Jewish Pesach. It would be absurd to suggest that a Christian Feast should be dated according to a non-Christian Feast. What the Canon seems to me to suggest is that we should not consider the Jewish Pesach at all when determining the date of Pascha. So as far as I can see, those who think that Pascha should come after the Jewish Pesach, are in fact acting contrariwise to what the original intention of the Canon was, since they are using the Jewish Pesach to determine the Christian Pascha.

If it's any consolation I don't think any of this is going to be an issue next year. If my calculations are correct, Orthodox Pascha, Western Easter and the "Astronomical" date of Pascha will all coincide on the civil date of April 8th 2007!
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« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2006, 09:55:04 AM »

Another sticking point is the (mis)interpretation of the eighth Apostolic Canon, which states:
"If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon shall celebrate the Feast of Pascha before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deprived".
This certainly means that Pascha must follow after the Vernal Equinox, but it doesn't necessarily mean that Pascha must follow after the Jewish Pesach.

Something is confused here, though. The Jewish calendar works a little differently from the Christian calendar, because it is concerned with fixing the new moon of Rosh Hashanah rather than the full moon of Easter. In order to hold the feats in their proper seasons, they repeat the month of Adar in some years. Back before the Diaspora, the method was simple: they simply went to the edge of town and looked for the new moon. (There's also a slight adjustment used to keep certain holidays from falling on certain days of the week.) Now they use a (surprise, surprise) 19 year cycle of "double Adar" years plus some other calculations.

The effect of all of this should be to keep 15 Nisan after the equinox. Therefore, unless the translation is broken, the canon makes no sense, because it forbids something that never happens.

It is possible, however, for Gregorian Easter to fall on the first day of passover. It happened in 1981. The paschal full moon fell on a Saturday, but Passover fell on the "next" day. It's possible that the reason this happened was that the Jewish full moon fell late enough in the day to be effectively pushed into the next. Orthodox Pascha fell a week later, but from what I can see this was pure dumb luck; the Julian full moon was five days after the Gregorian date. There are also years when Passover is really late (such as in 1985) where Gregorian Easter precedes it by a month. These tend to be years when Gregorian Easter is very early.

I think the original intent was to keep the historical relationship between Passover and Easter while keeping Easter on a Sunday, and especially to foil the quartodecimians by making sure that Passover and Easter never occur on the same day. It doesn't work, because the Jewish calendar does not keep Passover on the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
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« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2006, 10:13:34 AM »

The effect of all of this should be to keep 15 Nisan after the equinox. Therefore, unless the translation is broken, the canon makes no sense, because it forbids something that never happens.
Perhaps   the article you linked to earlier in the thread from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America may shed some light on this when it says:
"Events in Jewish history contributing to the dispersion of the Jews had as a consequence a departure from the way Passover was reckoned at the time of our Lord's death and resurrection. This caused the Passover to precede the vernal equinox in some years. It was, in fact, this anomaly which led to the condemnation reflected in Canon 1 of Antioch (ca. 330) and Canon 7 of the Holy Apostles (late 4th century) of those who celebrate Pascha "with the Jews." The purpose of this condemnation was to prevent Christians from taking into account the calculation of Passover in determining the date of Pascha."
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