John Fotopoulos

Some Common Misperceptions about the Date of Pascha/Easter

by John Fotopoulos

Easter-Egg

Note: This essay was originally posted in 2016. While the Orthodox and Catholic/Protestant dates coincide this year, there is still widespread misunderstanding about the calendar differences between the Orthodox and Western churches.

There is a common misperception among Orthodox Christians that the reason why Orthodox Easter (i.e. Pascha) often occurs so much later than Western Christian Easter is because the Orthodox Church abides by the rules for calculating the date of Pascha issued by the 1st Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 AD and thus the Orthodox must wait for Passover to be celebrated by the Jewish community before Pascha can occur. Despite this view being held by so many Orthodox Christians as well as being promoted in popular essays written by some Orthodox priests, it is not accurate. The reason why Orthodox Pascha frequently occurs so much later than Easter celebrated by Roman Catholics and Protestants has nothing to do with the Orthodox Church following the Paschal formula of Nicaea and the Western Churches not doing so, nor is it because the Orthodox must wait for Jewish Passover to be celebrated. Rather, Orthodox Pascha frequently occurs later than Western Easter because the Orthodox Church uses inaccurate scientific calculations that rely on the inaccurate Julian Calendar to determine the date of Pascha for each year. Some background information is in order to help explain precisely what the problems are. Continue Reading…

New Testament Codex 1424 Returned to the Care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

by John Fotopoulos

codex

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 was a momentous occasion for inter-Christian relations and for the history of the New Testament (NT). An important 9th century AD Greek NT codex that had been stolen in 1917 from the Monastery of Panagia Eikosiphoinissa near Drama, Greece was officially returned to the custody of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the person of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. The codex, known as Codex 1424, will soon be taken by Archbishop Demetrios back to the Monastery of Eikosiphinissa. Codex 1424 was legally purchased by Levi Franklin Gruber in 1920 from an international book dealer in Germany and was brought to the USA. Codex 1424 and other rare books in Gruber’s library were eventually incorporated into the rare book collection at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) that has been in the recent care of Professor Emeritus Ralph W. Klein, renowned biblical scholar and curator of that collection. As part of a thanksgiving ceremony at LSTC on Nov. 15th,  Codex 1424 was given by the president of LSTC, Rev. Dr. James Nieman, to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. Feelings of gratitude, humility, love, and emotion were palpable among all those in attendance. The return of Codex 1424 to the Orthodox Church is an indescribable act of generosity and a remarkable example of Christian love and witness to the world. Continue Reading…

Some Common Misperceptions about the Date of Pascha/Easter

by John Fotopoulos

Easter-Egg

There is a common misperception among Orthodox Christians that the reason why Orthodox Easter (i.e. Pascha) often occurs so much later than Western Christian Easter is because the Orthodox Church abides by the rules for calculating the date of Pascha issued by the 1st Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 AD and thus the Orthodox must wait for Passover to be celebrated by the Jewish community before Pascha can occur. Despite this view being held by so many Orthodox Christians as well as being promoted in popular essays written by some Orthodox priests, it is not accurate. The reason why Orthodox Pascha frequently occurs so much later than Easter celebrated by Roman Catholics and Protestants has nothing to do with the Orthodox Church following the Paschal formula of Nicaea and the Western Churches not doing so, nor is it because the Orthodox must wait for Jewish Passover to be celebrated. Rather, Orthodox Pascha frequently occurs later than Western Easter because the Orthodox Church uses inaccurate scientific calculations that rely on the inaccurate Julian Calendar to determine the date of Pascha for each year. Some background information is in order to help explain precisely what the problems are. Continue Reading…