Zenit: Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople: open to celebrating Easter on the same date as Catholics

Art depicting the Emperor Constantine and the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325) holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381
(Public domain and from Wikipedia)


The pro-Vatican Zenit.org website posted the following:

Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople: open to celebrating Easter on the same date as Catholics

April 5, 2024

Pope Francis has also expressed his intention to reach an agreement to establish a common date for Easter. In 2015, the pontiff said that the two churches “have to reach an agreement.”

The Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople has expressed his desire for Christians in the East and West to begin celebrating Easter on a “unified date” instead of adhering to separate Lenten calendars. “It is a scandal to celebrate separately the unique event of the one resurrection of the one Lord,” said Patriarch Bartholomew I, who holds the title of “primus inter pares” in Eastern Orthodoxy, as reported by Orthodox Times. The Ecumenical Patriarch made these comments during a homily on March 31, which marked Easter on the Western calendar and the second Sunday of Lent on the Eastern calendar. “We extend a greeting full of love to all Christians around the world who celebrate Holy Easter today,” said Bartholomew during the homily. “We implore the Lord of Glory that the next celebration of Easter will not simply be a random event, but the beginning of a unified date for its observance by both Eastern and Western Christianity.” The Ecumenical Patriarch noted that the Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople sent representatives to Christian communities that celebrated Easter on March 31 “to extend our sincere wishes.” He also said that this effort is “particularly significant” because the 1,700th anniversary of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 is approaching. That meeting took place at a time when the Eastern and Western Churches were in full communion with each other. https://zenit.org/2024/04/05/orthodox-patriarch-of-constantinople-open-to-celebrating-easter-on-the-same-date-as-catholics/

In 325, the sun-worshiping Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicea. The Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics consider that to have been the “first ecumenical council.” What is now called Easter is, according to the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics, supposed to be Passover.

Passover was always kept on the 14th of Nisan by the Jews. But is also was by those who claimed to be faithful to the practices of the Apostle John and the Bible.

Although there were condemnations from Roman bishops Victor and Hippolytus in the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries, even many of those with a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox background, continued to keep Passover on the 14th of Nisan until at least sometime into the fourth century.

However, Emperor Constantine did not like that at all. He convened the famous Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. to decide on a universal date:

…the emperor…convened a council of 318 bishops…in the city of Nicea…They passed certain ecclesiastical canons at the council besides, and at the same time decreed in regard to the Passover that there must be one unanimous concord on the celebration of God’s holy and supremely excellent day. For it was variously observed by people… (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 1,1 and 1,3. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp.471-472). A Sunday date was selected, instead of Nisan 14 (which can fall on any day of the week).

Notice what Constantine declared about this:

The commemoration of the most sacred paschal feast being then debated, it was unanimously decided, that it would be well that it should be everywhere celebrated upon the same day. What can be more fair, or more seemly, than that that festival by which we have received the hope of immortality should be carefully celebrated by all, on plain grounds, with the same order and exactitude? It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. By rejecting their custom, we establish and hand down to succeeding ages one which is more reasonable, and which has been observed ever since the day of our Lord’s sufferings. Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. For we have received from our Saviour another way… (Theodoret of Cyrus. Ecclesiastical History (Book I), Chapter IX. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Actually, the Saviour observed Passover on the 14th of Nisan. It is those who reject the ways of our Saviour who accept the decision of the Roman Emperor over the Bible who do not observe it then. Notice that the first consideration was to not follow the Jews–and they were the ones who followed the Bible. Second, he claimed that people always accepted his Sunday date, but there is absolutely no evidence of this–Sunday Passover was something that second century Romans implemented–there is no proof whatsoever that any observed it on Sunday prior to that, thus Constantine’s second reason is also in error.

According to Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18, a more accurate translation of that last line above from the Roman Emperor Constantine should be:

Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.

I do not recall Jesus indicating that Jews were detestable (He was a Jew) nor that He ever changed the date of Passover. But apparently Constantine felt otherwise. And the Sunday observance is now known as Easter (a related article of interest may be Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?).

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).

But the idea that “all the Churches agreed” is not true as the bishops from the faithful churches did not attend that Council.

Notice what the Roman Catholic priest and historian Bellarmino Bagatti wrote:

…the inhabitants of Syria, of Cilcia and of Mesopotamia were still celebrating Easter {Passover} with the Jews…

The importance of the matters to be discussed and the great division that existed had led Constantine to bring together a big number of bishops, including confessors of the faith, in order to give the impression that the whole of Christendom was represented.

In fact…the churches of Jewish stock had had no representation…From this we can conclude that no Judaeo-Christian bishop participated in the Council. Either they were not invited or they declined to attend. And so the capitulars had a free hand to establish norms for certain practices without meeting opposition or hearing other view points. Once the road was open future Councils would continue on these lines, thus deepening the breach between the Christians of two-stocks. The point of view of the Judaeo-Christians, devoid of Greek philosophical formation, was that of keeping steadfast to the Testimonia, and therefore not to admit any word foreign to the Bible, including Homoousion (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 47-48).

So not every church was represented. Nor did everyone accept the decree of the sun-worshipping emperor as the Roman Catholic-supporting Epiphanius noted a few decades after that Council:

The Quartodecimans contentiously keep Passover on one day, once per year…They keep the Passover on whichever day the fourteenth of the month falls…Christ had to be slain on the fourteenth of the month in accordance with the law (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 1,3;1,6;2,6. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 23-25).

The Quartodecimans only kept Passover once per year–not daily like most Roman Catholic priests do–not weekly or monthly like some Catholics/Protestants do. It is of interest to note that Epiphanius recognized that Jesus HAD to be slain on the 14th of the month. It is sad that he and others did not believe they needed to observe it when and how Jesus taught. Strangely he wrote this about the practices of the Greco-Roman church (which we now call Roman and Orthodox Catholics, but he calls “God’s holy church”):

But God’s holy church does not miss the truth in any way in her fixing the date of this mystery. She uses not only the fourteenth day. but also the seven days which recur order of the seven days of the week…And she uses not only the fourteenth day of the lunar month, but the course of the sun as well, to keep us from observing two Passovers in one year and not even one in another. We observe the fourteenth day, then, but we wait until after the equinox and bring the end of our full observance to the sacred Lord’s day (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 3,1; 3,2; 3,3-4. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 25).

Well, the Greco-Roman Catholics most certainly do not observe Passover on the evening of the 14th unless that happens to fall when some observe an evening mass–the equinox argument is not scriptural. And since the “Lord’s Supper” is observed frequently, most practicing Greco-Roman Catholics and Protestants do observe it more than once per year.

Epiphanius even admits that the church used to observe the 14th when he wrote:

Audians…they choose to celebrate the Passover with the Jews–that is they contentiously celebrate the Passover at the same time as the Jews are holding their Festival of Unleavened Bread. And indeed that this used to be the church’s custom (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 8,11; 9,2. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 410-411).

We in the Continuing Church of God continue to keep Passover on the original date (see also Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession?).

That said, the Eastern Orthodox contend that there were seven ecumenical councils and that an eighth one will come.

The seventh one was the second Council of Nicea of 787.

In 2025, the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics plan to have what has been called the third Council of Nicea to mark the 1700th anniversary of the first Council of Council.

Here are some reports and comments related to it:

Are you excited for the Third Council of Nicea, /pol/? It’s going to happen in 2025. As a Catholic, I am excited at the prospect of the healing of the Schism. If the Pope and the Patriarchs can find a common ground, we could at last have a One True Church of Jesus Christ, one which has authority over all of Christendom. … It would be glorious. https://4chanarchives.com/board/pol/thread/56761437 viewed 12/02/22

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.” …

“This wish is also very dear to Pope Francis and also to the Coptic Pope Tawadros.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252851/why-catholics-and-orthodox-might-once-again-celebrate-easter-on-the-same-date

Pope Francis said Wednesday that the full restoration of communion among all Christians is “an urgent priority in today’s world.”

In a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the pope expressed gratitude that Catholic and Orthodox Christians are seeking “to achieve full communion that will enable us one day, in God’s time, to gather together at the same eucharistic table.”

“The full restoration of communion among all the believers in Jesus Christ is an irrevocable commitment for every Christian, for the ‘unity of all’ (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom) is not only God’s will but an urgent priority in today’s world,” Pope Francis said on Nov. 30. …

Patriarch Bartholomew expressed support earlier this month for finding a common date for Easter, a move that would lead to Catholics and Orthodox celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at the same time.

The patriarch said 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. 11/30/22 https://www.aciafrica.org/news/7179/restoration-of-christian-unity-an-urgent-priority-in-todays-world-pope-francis

The third Council of Nicea might be considered to be the eighth ecumenical council by the Eastern Orthodox. As it turns out, one of their saints put forth the following prediction:

Saint Nelios 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. Verenika Press, Rock City (SC), 2000, p. 111)

By satisfying “heretics”, clearly this council compromises and changes the religion, which will be called “Catholic.”

Yet, some of the Eastern Orthodox look forward to this, but also expect an antipope near then:

Helen Tzima Otto (20th century): We have been told time and time again through the prophets that the Great Monarch and Papa Angelorum … will convene the 8th Ecumenical Council, which will reunify all Christians … The Emperor will spend three years waging wars against the non-Christian nations … {later will be} the end time schism of the Roman Catholic Church of the End Times and the rise of an antipope (Tzima Otto, pp. xxv, 103, 122).

Such unity will be dangerous for both the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox. Signs and lying wonders may be a deceptive factor in this occurrence (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

Related to the 2025 conference, back in 2014, we put together the following video:

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce our latest video on our Bible New Prophecy YouTube channel:

The first ecumenical Council of Nicea was in 325 A.D. The Second Council of Nicea began in 787 A.D. The Roman Catholic Pope Francis and the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople have called for a meeting between the Orthodox and the Vatican to take place in the year 2025. What was the result of the earlier councils? Does the Bible support this 2025 meeting? What are some of the dangers?

Written information on the first Council of Nicea is included in the post Ecumenical meeting in Nicea planned for 2025: What happened in 325 and what could happen in/by 2025?

Here is a link to our video: 3rd Council of Nicea in 2025?

It still looks like this third council will take place.

It may well have major prophetic ramifications.

As far as ‘Easter’ goes, we have the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel:


Did you know that Easter is supposed to be Passover according to the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’? Was this originally observed by Christians on a day other than Sunday? Was Passover originally a resurrection holiday or a commemoration of Christ’s death? In this sermon, Dr. Thiel goes over many amazing historical and biblical facts about Easter and Passover. He cites Jesus’ words about worship. He also quotes the Apostle Paul who warned about combining demonic worship practices with Passover. He cites the Apostle John’s words about not being faithful to what he taught as well as some of what John taught about antichrists. Dr. Thiel addresses “fact checkers” and others who assert that the Babylonian goddess Ishtar is not associated with Easter. He cites the 8th century monk known as the “venerable Bede” who taught that Easter came from Eostre, the pagan goddess of the dawn. Dr. Thiel also discusses Easter eggs, Easter rabbits, and their ties to paganism. This is a sermon to watch if you are interested in worshiping God in spirit and in truth.

Here is a link to our sermon video: Is Easter a Really Christian Holiday?

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.
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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