We’ve been telling you all about Greek Orthodox Easter for the last four years, and this year will be no different. If you’re new to our blog you might be asking, “Easter? Wasn’t Easter a couple of weeks ago?” The answer is both yes and no. Easter is celebrated on different dates depending on whether you are Catholic or Orthodox Christian.
The first reason for the difference in dates is the calendar. The Orthodox Christian community follows the Julian calendar, at least in the religious sphere. The rest of the Christian world uses the Gregorian calendar. There is a 13-day difference between the two.
The second main reason is the Orthodox Church follows the rules set down by the First Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Their rationale was that the passion, the arrest and torture of Jesus had to happen after Jewish Passover (the reason Jesus was in Jerusalem in the first place).
Sometimes the math works out and we celebrate Easter on the same day. As a kid, I always thought it was more fun when they were on separate days, because two Easters means two Easter baskets.
We can go even deeper into the calendar issue to satisfy your historical curiosity. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII decided to adjust the Julian calendar to make it more accurate. It was then called the Gregorian calendar. The Orthodox world objected to the change, maybe because of tradition or, in my opinion, out of shear spite. The calendar issues led to deepening divides between the eastern and western church as they now began celebrating feast days, saint days and major holidays on different days of the year.
I hope that answered your (likely non-existent) questions about the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Have a Happy Easter!