IIUC, some say one of the reasons for the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the West starting in the 1580s, and in favor of the Orthodox New Calendar or “Revised Julian Calendar” starting in the 1920s, was that with the movement of the astronomical Vernal Equinox with respect to the ‘official’ – or what we industrial moderns might call standardized – Vernal Equinox of March 21 (Old Style), is that otherwise Easter or Pascha would, after many, many years (40,000 or something?), “catch up with Christmas” or Nativity.

But I’ve just realized this is not true.  Unless it’s changed by human action, the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord will always be on December 25.  It so happens that, unless the Easter / Pascha rules are changed, *it* always falls from March 22 to April 25 inclusive, according to the calendar with which it is being computed – Gregorian for the West, “Julian” for the East (which is why sometimes Orthodox Pascha comes in May according to the New or Gregorian calendars).  And unless changed by some ridiculous human action, April 25 will never catch up with December 25!

What may happen, given alot of time, is that Orthodox Pascha will catch up with Gregorian and New Calendar Nativity/s.  But that’s the fault of the adopters of those newer calendars, right?!*  (Speaking objectively, that is!)

In that time frame though, we would see Pascha in Northern Hemisphere late Fall, and Nativity in NH late Summer or something.  But as an English priest said, Orthodox aren’t really worshiping the seasons.  And besides, Southern Hemisphere Christians are already celebrating these major feasts in different seasons from the North!

A trace of this movement is already seen in New Calendar jurisdictions (like my own, the Greek Archdiocese of America), where the Apostles’ Fast leading up to the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, is currently 13 days shorter than in Old Calendar jurisdictions and parishes – ie, shorter than it used to be – and some years is eliminated by a later Pascha.  In 2100 this will increase to two whole weeks.  Furthermore, while currently Orthodox Pascha usually comes one, four, or five weeks after Western Easter (otherwise, on the same day), in the 25th century it will add *six* weeks to the mix, AD 2698 will be the last year they coincide, and in 2725 it will come *two* weeks later for the first time – illustrating the general long-term thrust as being later than the Western dates.

(*–In the ’20s there was a proposal to change how Orthodox compute Pascha along with the New Calendar, that would remove this risk.  But no Orthodox Synod wanted to change Pascha.)

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  1. asimplesinner

    ” And unless changed by some ridiculous human action, April 25 will never catch up with December 25!”

    I believe people who say that it will are comparing Gregorian to Julian calendars… Which is to say as the Julian calendar gets further behind, after X-thousands of years in theory it would happen.

    I don’t generally think God will put up with us that long… but if either of us are still around when it would come to that, I will buy you a beer. Start taking your vitamins!

    I do like the fact that in the East every so often we run into Kyriopascha…. on the Gregorian calendar and reckoning this will happen in 2035 & 2046. Julian and calendar folks had their last one in 1991 and will not have it again until 2075.

  2. Leo Peter O'Filon

    Hi again—

    They do say that the last (Old Calendar) Kyriopascha coincided with the year of the fall of Soviet Communism, and the one before that, with Greek independence, for what it’s worth! Coincidence? Miracles? Faith does commend to us that God lifts up and brings down nations and empires as He wills….

  1. 1 Easter catching up with Christmas?

    […] david meadows wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIIUC, some say one of the reasons for the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the West starting in the 1580s, and in favor of the Orthodox New Calendar or “Revised Julian Calendar” starting in the 1920s, was that with the movement of … […]




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