Why the Orthodox Church is yet to celebrate Easter

Archbishop Tillyrides Makarios [File, Standard]

Orthodox Christians are preparing to celebrate Pascha (Easter) on Sunday, May 8, a month after the rest of the Christian world observed Easter. Like other Christian denominations, this holds significant importance in the Orthodox ecclesiastical calendar.

Archbishop Tillyrides Makarios, the Orthodox leader in Kenya, noted that Orthodox Pascha falls a month after Easter celebrated by other Christian denominations. He explained that the date for Orthodox Easter follows a decree established by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.

According to Makarios, Orthodox Easter must not be calculated according to Passover but celebrated after the vernal equinox, specifically on the Sunday following the first full moon occurring after the vernal equinox.

He elucidated on the historical context, stating, "Those Christians who had converted from Judaism celebrated Easter following the Jewish calendar, on the same day as the feast of Passover, Pesach, that day being the 14th of the Lunar month Nisan, regardless of the day of the week upon which it fell."

He further explained, "The feast of Passover consequently sometimes preceded the vernal equinox and most Christians abandoned the practice of regulating the date of Easter through the date of Passover to avoid the inaccuracy occasioned by the dependence on these calendars."

Makarios highlighted that the Passover date was determined by a system of 'Paschal cycles.'

"Pascha is a feast of victory — a celebration of Christ's triumph over death and the assurance of salvation for all believers," remarked Fr. Paul Njoroge of Valley Road Temple.

During Holy Week, Orthodox Christian Churches worldwide conduct centuries-old religious services reflecting on the passion, crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ, serving approximately 1 million faithful across 450 Orthodox denominations in the country.

Simultaneously, the Orthodox Christian Youth Association (OCYAK) is holding its Annual Mega Youth Sunday event at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Muguga on April 14, 2024.

OCYAK President James Mwaura outlined the event's agenda, which includes engaging educational sessions aimed at fostering awareness and action on environmental issues.

He emphasized the importance of collective action and youth empowerment amidst the destructive tendencies of human behaviour.


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