Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Catholics in the Holy Land to celebrate Orthodox Easter

From the blog Catholic Church Conservation, interesting news.

For pastoral reasons the Catholic Church in the Holy Land plans in future to celebrate Easter according to the Orthodox calendar. The reason is consideration of the many inter-church families, said the Franciscan Custos Pierbattista Pizzaballa. In ecumenical dialogue, the date of Easter is one of the major hurdles.

The alternative date for Easter in Catholic communities could probably be introduced next year, said Pizzaballa, who is one of the higher leaders of the Catholic church in the Holy Land. Then the Orthodox celebrate Easter on 5 May; the Churches of Western tradition celebrate the feast in 2013 in contrast five weeks earlier on 31st March (Cathcon- last year, they were the same, this year the Orthodox are a week later. The Orthodox are either 0, 1 or 5 weeks ahead (or should that be behind??) depending on the year). The Eastern churches determine the date of Easter according to the old Julian calendar, using a different calculation method.

The Franciscan Custos explained that the deviation from the true Catholic date was considered for pastoral reasons. "Most Christian families in the Holy Land are of mixed denominations," said Pizzaballa. Excluded from the proposed scheme, however, were the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. There the "status quo" of 1852 applies, which minutely specifies the use of sacred sites for the various denominations, and this cannot be changed.


  1. Oh No! Does that mean the Franciscans will be playing their pipe organ during the Paschal service?!

  2. Wow. That's huge.
    Thank you.

  3. Is it really a case of the one being the "true Catholic date"? In the Roman Rite alone we have different calendars for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. Different saint days in the East too. Why not several "true" Catholic dates, like we have several Catholic Rites?

  4. It would be better if both communities celebrated according to the date specified in the Aleppo Statement.