Tidbit of History
Do you know why EASTER FALLS ON DIFFERENT DATES IN THE
GREEK ORTHODOX AND ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES?
Ancient calendars were based on the lunar cycle
until Julius Caesar imposed his solar calendar throughout the Roman
Empire. By losing the link with the moon, the Julian calendar gained
about three days per 400 years. In the 16th C, the discrepancy between
the calendar dates of the solstices and their actual occurrence became
a concern to Christians … the formula for dating Easter depended upon
the lunar cycle and the vernal equinox. Easter was being celebrated on
the wrong date!
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII endorsed the
recommendations of his astronomers and mathematicians. The new
Gregorian Calendar changed leap-year rules and … to adjust for the
accumulated discrepancy … the year 1582 was shortened by 10 days. The
days between October 4th and 15th were abolished!
The 16th C was the era of the Protestant
Reformation, and papal decrees carried little weight with non-Catholic
Christians, so Gregory’s calendar reform was not soon adopted in
Protestant countries. By the time Britain adopted the new calendar in
1752, an eleventh day had to be dropped. Russia didn’t adopt it until
the 20th C, which explains why the October Revolution of 1917 actually
occurred in November!
The Greek Orthodox Church has never endorsed the
Gregorian Reform of the Calendar, so Orthodox Christmas and Easter fall
some days later than the same celebrations in the Latin Church.