CNA: Why Catholics and Orthodox might once again celebrate Easter on the same date

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew
(ר חסון Nir Hason)


The Catholic News Agency reported the following:

Why Catholics and Orthodox might once again celebrate Easter on the same date

November 18, 2022

In a move that could lead to Catholics and Orthodox celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at the same time, the spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians has confirmed his support for finding a common date to celebrate Easter.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople told media that conversations are underway between Church representatives to come to an agreement …

According to an earlier report by Vatican News, the patriarch supports such a common date to be set for the year 2025, which will mark the 1,700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea.

Previously, Orthodox Archbishop Job Getcha of Telmessos also suggested that 2025 would be a good year to introduce a reform of the calendar.

One council and two calendars

The First Council of Nicea, held in 325, decided that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon following the beginning of spring, making the earliest possible date for Easter March 22 and the latest possible April 25.

Today, Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate the Easter date instead of the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced in 1582 and is used by most of the world. The Julian calendar calculates a slightly longer year and is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar.  …

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, has supported the suggestion that Catholics and Orthodox work to agree on a common date to celebrate Easter.

Cardinal Koch said in 2021: “I welcome the move by Archbishop Job of Telmessos” and “I hope that it will meet with a positive response.”

“It will not be easy to agree on a common Easter date, but it is worth working for it,” he stated.

“This wish is also very dear to Pope Francis and also to the Coptic Pope Tawadros.”

There are several points I would like to make related to this.

The first is that it was not the date of Easter, but the date of Passover that was discussed at the Council of Nicea. Passover was renamed ‘Easter’ in the Middle Ages and comes from the name of a pagan goddess (some say Istarte, some Eostre, but most likely both).

Related to the Council of Nicea, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1170 At the Council of Nicea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 332).

Notice that the Roman Catholics CLAIM that Easter is supposed to be Passover–many do not realize that. Further, however, it needs to be understood that Constantine’s and Council declarations did not stop everyone from properly observing Passover (it also should be noted that “all the Churches” did not agree as no bishop from any the faithful churches attended this Council–for more details see article on Passover).

Because many did not accept this Sunday decree, Emperor Constantine issued his Edict Against Heretics, which deprived some believers of their meeting places and personal property.

But that did not persuade everybody, and a later Roman Emperor, named Theodosius, decreed the death penalty:

Edicts of Theodosius against the heretics, A.D. 380-394 … Theodosius … decreed that .. .by the death of the offender; and the same capital punishment was inflicted on the Audians, or Quartodecimans, who should dare to perpetrate the atrocious crime of celebrating on an improper day the festival of Easter {Passover} (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume III, Chapter XXVII. ca. 1776-1788).

Is killing those that followed the example of Jesus and John to observe the Passover on the 14th instead of Easter Sunday a sign of a true Christian leader or a sign of supporting antichrist?

Another Greco-Roman Catholic supporter wrote this about the Council of Nicaea a few decades later:

Three hundred Fathers or even more gathered together in the land of Bithynia and ordained this by law; yet you disdain their decrees. You must choose one of two courses: either you charge them with ignorance for their want of exact knowledge on this matter, or you charge them with cowardice because they were not ignorant, but played the hypocrite and betrayed the truth. When you do not abide by what they decreed, this is exactly the choice you must make. But all the events of the Council make it clear that they showed great wisdom and courage at that time. The article of faith they set forth at the Council show how wise they were…At that time the whole synodal gathering, welded together from these champions, along with their definition of what Christians must believe, also passed a decree that they celebrate the paschal feast in harmony together. They refused to betray their faith in those most difficult times [of persecution]; would they sink to pretense and deceit on the question of the Easter observance? (5) Look what you do when you condemn Fathers so great, so courageous, so wise (John Chrysostom. Homily III Against the Jews, III:3,4-5. Preached at Antioch, Syria in September, 386 AD).

So it is an article of faith that Roman Catholic bishops had the authority to change the scriptural date of Passover and make it an Easter celebration, even though Constantine said part of why he wanted it to have nothing in common with those he called the detestable Jewish crowd?

This was simply not the faith of the true second century Christians in Asia Minor as Polycrates testified. The last words of his response to Roman bishop Victor about changing the date of Passover to Easter Sunday were:

I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man.’ (Polycrates. Letter to Victor. As quoted by Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24) .

So, those who held to the original faith and traditions from the Bible would not accept the change as forcing a Sunday Passover was not one of the Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

At least partially because of Constantine’s influence, Easter can never fall on the biblical date for Passover. So, an amazing fact is that those who hold to Easter never observe the Christian Passover on the proper date. That sounds a lot of what Satan would want.

The Eastern Orthodox Church (officially known as the Orthodox Catholic Church) considers itself the “Church of the Seven Councils,” which they consider to have been “Holy Synods.”

So, it considers this Council authoritative–as basically does Rome.

The reason why they want to get together is that they want unity above the original faith and leaders in both churches have made this a priority–it is also consistent with prophecies that warn against it (e.g. Revelation 17).

Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, has encouraged Greco-Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue and has stated that to finalize this will take an Ecumenical Council or “synod”:

Patriarch of Constantinople’s new encyclical defends Catholic-Orthodox dialogue

Istanbul, Turkey, Feb 20, 2010 / 06:14 pm (CNA).- Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople’s newest encyclical encourages dialogue between the Orthodox Church and other Christian churches and laments those who are “unacceptably fanatical” in challenging such dialogue…“They disseminate false rumors that union between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches is imminent, while they know well that the differences discussed in these theological dialogues remain numerous and require lengthy debate; moreover, union is not decided by theological commissions but by Church Synods,” Bartholomew wrote. (Patriarch of Constantinople’s new encyclical defends Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. February 20, 2010. viewed 11/22/11).

COGwriter has been one of the few non-Roman, non-Orthodox sites to warn against the coming unity for many years.

Now I actually agree with the Orthodox Patriarch that the Orthodox will likely need to have a church synod for greater unity.  But what he did not mention is that Orthodox prophets have expected such a meeting to take place and result it unity. According to an Eastern Orthodox, Byzantine, prophet the final (the Orthodox recognize seven previous ones) ecumenical synod council satisfies what “heretics” want:

Saint Neilos the Myrrh-Gusher (died 1592): During that time the Eighth and last Ecumenical Synod will take place, which will satisfy the contentions of the heretics … (Tzima Otto H. The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Scriptural Prophecies. Verenikia Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, p. 111).

By satisfying “heretics,, clearly this council compromises and changes the religion, which will be called “Catholic.”  If heretics are truly heretics, should their complaints be satisfied?

As it turns out, when may wife and I we were in Istanbul in May 2008, we visited the offices of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who was then, and is now, Patriarch Bartholomew.  One of his people told us that when then Pope Benedict XVI visited there, a papal representative of Benedict XVI told Patriarch Bartholomew that Rome would change all doctrines necessary to attain full unity with the Orthodox, if the Orthodox would accept papal authority. The representative told me that while Patriarch Bartholomew was interested in ecumenical unity, that the subject of papal supremacy vs. primacy was the major sticking point to unity.

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
COGwriter Leaving the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople’s Administrative Building

These doctrinal changes definitely included changing Rome’s position on the Filioque clause–which is a claimed cause of the ‘schism’ between the Roman and Orthodox Catholics. Hence, those associated with the Church of Rome need to understand that this means that the Vatican’s current (and likely future) leadership has been willing to compromise on something that Rome has long held as being of “great dogmatic and historical importance.” Thus, this strongly suggests that those leading the Church of Rome have embarked on an ecumenical program of change such as the Bible and various Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies have warned about.

It also needs to be understood that while some of the Eastern Orthodox are looking forward to a Roman Catholic Great Monarch to be the “King of the Romans and the Greeks,” (Tzima Otto, H.  The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Scriptural Prophecies.  Verenikia Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, pp. 5-6) other Greek Orthodox (The Voice of the Fathers) some believe that they only should follow a Greek Orthodox future monarch (The Voice of the Fathers is apparently a Greek Orthodox publication that opposes a Roman Catholic, as opposed to Greek Orthodox, Great Monarch, see Tzima Otto, pp, 34-38).  The Orthodox should definitely not follow a Roman Catholic Great Monarch if they wish to follow the teachings of the Bible.

In 1302, Pope Boniface VIII issued what is known as the bull Unam Sanctum that claimed:

We are obliged by the faith to believe and to hold—and we do firmly believe and sincerely confess—that there is one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and that outside this Church there is neither salvation nor remission of sins

Therefore, if the Greeks or others say that they are not committed to Peter and his successors, they necessarily confess that they are not Christ’s sheep…

…in this Church and in her power are two swords…Both are in the power of the Church, the spiritual sword and the material. But the latter is to be used for the Church, the former by her; the former by the priest, the latter by kings and captains but at the will of the priest…

Furthermore, we declare, state, define, and pronounce that it is altogether necessary for salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. (Bull Unam Sanctum as cited in Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press, 1943, pp. 126-127).

Notice that his position was quite definite. I mention that because I believe that many within the Vatican now have a different view and will compromise in many, many ways, to ultimately entice most of the Orthodox (called the Greeks above) and others into a revised ecumenical faith that will call itself “Catholic.”

Since Vatican II (a major Roman Catholic ecumenical council that ran from 1962–1965), many Roman Catholics have been justifiably concerned that doctrinal compromise for the sake of ecumenical unity with those outside of fellowship of Rome was inevitable.

The Orthodox have long taught that the Church of Rome (known sometimes as Latins) will change doctrines to those of the Orthodox.  A document known as the Anonymou Prophecy of 1053 refers to this as the “Deferring of the Latins to the error-free faith of the Orthodox,” it then claims “The Orthodox Faith will expand from East to West” (Tzima Otto, p. 116).

Here is an explanation from Orthodox scholar H. Tzima-Otto (bolding in original):

Many Catholic prophecies speak of the victory of the ‘true Catholic faith’, while Orthodox prophecies, although they agree on everything else, predict a victory of the ‘true Orthodox faith’…When we speak of the future Council, it is bound to be ecumenical…there will come a true re-unification of the Christian Churches…This Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is not going to be Roman Catholic as understood today…

The error-free Orthodox faith…The Orthodox did not experience a Vatican II, they did not begin to rewrite Scriptures…Hence, error-free in the sense that it has not been contaminated by satan…(Tzima Otto, pp. 120-122)

Thus, the Orthodox expect Rome to change its doctrines, because they feel that the Roman Catholic Church adopted errors from satan.

Roman Catholics should beware of the unity talks.

Actually, so should the Eastern Orthodox.

And, so should the Protestants.

A type of unity that the Bible warns against will happen–it is not something the Bible advocates.

Christians are to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3)–and a Sunday Passover that cannot be on the 14th of Nisan is certainly not something to be contended for.

What Rome and Constantinople are doing now is not contending for the original faith–but a highly compromised one.

Some items of related interest may include:

Why Should American Roman Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eastern Orthodox 40+ Similar Beliefs to the CCOG.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.
The Great Monarch: Biblical and Greco-Roman Catholic Prophecies Is the ‘Great Monarch’ of Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies endorsed or condemned by the Bible? Two sermons of related interest are also available: Great Monarch: Messiah or False Christ? and Great Monarch in 50+ Beast Prophecies.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? Is Easter supposed to be Passover? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a related video: Amazing Facts About Easter.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.

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