St Thomas' Burwood

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Many people wonder why we often have different dates for Easter depending on which part of the Church we belong to. The answer comes from the way Easter is calculated. You may know that Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the Full Moon on, or after, the March Equinox. The difficulty arises, however, because the date of the equinox actually varies from year to and from place to place.

So Western Christians in the fourth Century, at the Council of Nicaea agreed to define Easter with respect to a fixed equinox date of March 21. Thus Easter can easily be determined without worrying about fluctuations in the sun and moon from year to year. 

However the Eastern Orthodox churches decided not to follow that definition, preferring to determine Easter from the real equinox and full moon at the longitude of Jerusalem. Hence, the occasional difference in the date of Easter between churches. 

This is complicated further by the fact that the Eastern Churches still use the Julian calendar to calculate ecclesiastical dates. The Julian calendar is currently 13 days later than the Gregorian calendar. Since 1923, the Romanian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox churches have adopted the Gregorian calendar. However, they continue to use the Julian calendar for Easter calculations. 

If you're interested, here are the dates of Easter Sunday according to the Western calendar up to the year 2020

 
 Year Ash Wednesday Easter Day  Year Ash Wednesday Easter Day
2001
Feb 28
April 15
 
2011
March 9
April 24
2002
Feb 13
March 31
 
2012
Feb 22
April 8
2003
March 5
April 20
 
2013
Feb 13
March 31
2004
  Feb 25
April 11
 
2014
March 5
April 20
2005
Feb 9
March 27
 
2015
F eb 18
April 5
2006
March 1
April 16
 
2016
Feb 10
March 27
2007
Feb 21
April 08
 
2017
March 1
April 16
2008
Feb 6
March 23
 
2018
Feb 14
April 1
2009
Feb 25
  April 12
 
2019   
  March 6
April 21
2010
 
  Feb 17
 
April 04 
 
 
2020
 
Feb 26
April 12
 

 

                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                           
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