National Council of Churches calls for common Easter dateLatest News Friday, March 26th, 2010
New York —This year Easter, the celebration of the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead, is observed April 4 in all Christian traditions.
Most years, Easter is celebrated on different dates in western and most Orthodox churches because of ancient discrepancies in calculating the calendar.
Now the National Council of Churches is renewing a call to all Christians to set a common date for the annual celebration of the most important event in Christian history.
In a letter to member communions, NCC General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, and Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC Senior Program Director for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations, lamented the fact that ” almost every year the Christian community is divided over which day to proclaim this Good News. Our split, based on a dispute having to do with ancient calendars, visibly betrays the message of reconciliation. It is a scandal that surely grieves our God.”
The letter proposes continued movement toward a common Easter date based on the recommendations of the Aleppo Conference of 1997:
► adhere to the decision of the first ecumenical council at Nicea to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, thus maintaining the biblical association between Jesus’ death and Passover;
► agree to use the most up-to-date scientific methods to analyze the astronomical data (which is consistent with Nicea); and,
► use the meridian of Jerusalem (due to its centrality in the Passion of Christ) as the point of reference for these calculations.
“This year and next,” wrote Kinnamon and Kireopoulos, “may we truly revel in the joy that comes with our united proclamation of the Good News. May God grant that in 2012 and beyond we may continue to proclaim with one voice that “Christ is risen!” For he is risen indeed.”