He is Risen!… (in the East)

The Resurrection of Christ, by St. Isaac of Syria Skete (Boscobel, Wisconsin), credits the Orthodox Wiki.

He is Risen! The Resurrection of Christ, by St. Isaac of Syria Skete (Boscobel, Wisconsin), credit: the Orthodox Wiki.

To all of my Eastern Orthodox friends, I say “He is Risen!” on this day when you celebrate Pascha.

For those evangelical friends who have no idea what I am talking about, Pascha is the original name for Easter. Pascha is essentially a transliteration of the Hebrew word for “passover,” or pesach. Way back at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., the famous church council that resolved the dispute over the deity of Christ, which made way for the mature formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, the council also established a uniform method for calculating the date for celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.

However, the church in those days used the Julian calendar, which proved to be flawed in its ability to keep track of the solar year. The Western churches later fixed this by going to the current Gregorian calendar. However, the Eastern churches still have retained the old, Julian calendar method of calculation for Pascha. Hence, this year, the celebration of Pascha falls on May 1st, instead of March 27.

There are some who reject Easter because of its supposed connection to Germanic paganism. But since Pascha is really the earlier name, maybe Christians in the West can drop “Easter” and adopt “Pascha” instead, for now on, and be rid of this fringe complaint.

How about this? I have an idea. Next year, Western Easter and Eastern Pascha will fall on the same date, April 16. How about if the West adopts the “Pascha” name and the East adopts the updated Gregorian calendar calculation system, so that we can all celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord on the same day, in future years? Would this not move us a step towards Christian unity?

Do I have any takers?


I blogged about this before in 2014.



About Clarke Morledge

Clarke Morledge -- Computer Network Engineer, College of William and Mary... I hiked the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of the famous Colorado Fourteeners, with some friends in July, 2012. My buddy, Mike Scott, snapped this photo of me on the summit. View all posts by Clarke Morledge

2 responses to “He is Risen!… (in the East)

  • Mary S

    Indeed He is Risen!

    Your proposal sounds good, but unfortunately, since the more accurate Gregorian calendar was unilaterally declared by a Roman pope by order of the (Roman) Council of Trent instead of a church council composed of all bishops,you will have to call a universal church council to get the Orthodox to consider changing the calculation. This is further complicated by the fact that the Soviets forced the Gregorian calendar on their population, so it is viewed with suspicion, especially by the churches in those countries who were under the Soviet yoke. Even if a church council could discuss this, which is possible these days, no one involved would want to create a schism in communion between Russians, Greeks, Arabs, etc with different groups accusing others of papism.

    From Wikipedia: “Many Protestant countries initially objected to adopting a Catholic innovation; some Protestants feared the new calendar was part of a plot to return them to the Catholic fold. Britain and the British Empire (including the eastern part of what is now the United States) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752…” which was about 200 years after Trent.


    • Clarke Morledge

      Mary, how about if you take care of calling that universal church council for me? If we get that pesky filioque taken out of the creed, would that seal the deal?


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