When Greeks and Orthodox Christians Celebrate Easter
Easter is a big Christian celebration. On that day, our Lord Jesus Christ defeated death. Thus, it is one of the most festive and joyful religious events among the Christians. Yet, not all of them celebrate Easter at the same time. How it came to that? Read on and you will learn an interesting background story about that.
Julian and Gregorian calendars
When you will celebrate Easter depends on the calendar you refer to. Let’s refer to people in western Europe and those across the Atlantic Ocean as of western Christians. By the same analogy, we will call the believers of eastern Europe and further to the east as of eastern Christians. The former use the Gregorian calendar, inaugurated by Roman Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century. These call themselves Catholic Christians. The latter refer to the Julian calendar, and they are commonly-known as Orthodox Christians.
Now, the Julian calendar was in use when the Great Schism took place, splitting the institution of Church into 2 parts. Western Europeans remained loyal to the Roman (Catholic) Church. Eastern Europeans, or Orthodox Christians, with Greeks included, accepted the teachings that were spreading from Constantinople, present-day Istanbul.
Since then, both Church institutions calculate Easter dates differently. Yet, their calculations aren’t always different. Sometimes this big Christian celebration falls on the same day according to both calendars.
Passover and Holy Eucharist
In accordance to Easter, Passover also features different dates. Albeit Passover began as a Jewish custom, Jesus Christ transformed it into a Christian one. And such an act ensued during the Last Supper.
The establishment of Holy Eucharist was this transitional point. Holy Eucharist is a religious ceremony that takes place in churches. The introduction of the ceremony took place shortly before Christ’s arrest by the Romans took place.
A role of Spring Equinox
Spring Equinox also plays a part in determining the date of the Orthodox Easter. The exact date of the religious celebration is dependent on when the first full moon happens after Passover and the equinox. And that is the reason why Greek and Orthodox Easter may fall anywhere between the end of March and the beginning of May.