I noticed a piece at PrayTell pondering the variance in the observance of Easter in Christianity.
To this day, the fact that Christians celebrate Easter on different days puzzles some Christians and annoys others. Yet the issue is no longer a matter of huge controversy.
Not really, no. When I was doing research papers on Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism in the 1980s I was of the mind that an agreement on marking the 90 Days would be a good and positive thing, and likely more than a mere symbol of Christian unity.
At the risk of engaging the bitterness of older years I find I care far less about things like this. Expectations have lowered and hope I think sullied by the human condition. Today, Easter separation seems more a peripheral annoyance than a core issue. Disunity among Christians is likely growing at a rate faster than it is healing. One might think that Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox leadership might recognize this and take steps amongst themselves. But no. I find myself fatigued with the failures of leadership as much as I did when I first noticed them in high school.
More from Father Neil Xavier O’Donoghue:
I am a news junkie and, in particular, these past few months I have read hundreds of stories about the situation in Ukraine. I have also read a lot about the catastrophic discommunion that is tearing the Orthodox world apart. But in the past few weeks, I have noted a much better news coverage in the difference in the dates of Easter. Maybe I am wrong, but in both secular and religious news media I have discerned more nuance and acceptance of the fact that there are two dates of Easter.
My take would be less acceptance and more a concession within Christianity and a yawn outside of it. I think many people in the world, within the faith and especially outside of it, have such little confidence in religious leadership that the resulting expectations are nil, and the attitude is disinterested apathy.
And that, my friends, is the heritage of third millennium Christianity.
Unifying an Easter date was important enough to be among the chief non-doctrinal concerns of the first ecumenical council of bishops after Toleration. That said, there’s been a lot more division among Christians since that time, and focusing on the Easter date seems to put form over substance. In any event, unless the Western churches were to reverse the Gregorian calendar and related Paschal computus and simply use the Eastern paschalion, it’s less likely to happen than another advance in unity.