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The sad state of a divided Easter
Posted By Eric Sammons On October 27, 2010 @ 8:03 am In Eastern Christianity,Ecumenism | Comments Disabled
At the recently-concluded synod of Middle Eastern bishops, there was a call for a “unified Easter” . One of the more unfortunate practical results of the split between East and West is that the two lungs of the Church do not celebrate Easter on the same day each year (although there are rare cases when the two dates coincide). There have been various efforts over the past few decades to have a unified Easter, but so far they have been fruitless.
It seems to me that competing Easters is the saddest consequence of the East-West split. It is not the most important or most controversial division between us, but it is extremely sad because there is no underlying theological or doctrinal reason behind it. At least with the issues of papal primacy or the filioque or purgatory there are real theological and doctrinal issues to be debated; in those cases, it is understandable that each side is firm in their resolve not to compromise what they believe is the true Faith. But with the date of Easter we have no such fundamental doctrine involved. Heck, the date of Easter could be the last Sunday of month after the fifth full moon on even-numbered years and the sixth full moon of odd-number years and it doesn’t affect our faith in any real way (although it would be a pedagogically poor decision). There is no important reason for the East and the West to stay divided on this issue.
But this is a prime example of what happens when two sides become entrenched in their divisions. You see this sometimes in families: two siblings have a falling-out, often over some important reason, but then over time their estrangement becomes solidified and they no longer talk and no longer trust the other on any issue. Sometimes one sibling will take one side on a debate specifically because it opposes the estranged sibling. When love fails, only discord and division can follow.
The date of Easter is a symptom of the larger issue of over 1,000 years of distrust between East and West. Let us pray that a unified date for Easter can be found and that it will be one small step towards a total reconciliation.
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 a call for a “unified Easter”: http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=107799
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