Reflection on Council Day 5

Emperor Constantine and fellow Bishops,

I am greatly disappointed by the Council’s decision on the date to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Linking our celebration of our Lord’s resurrection to Passover and Jewish calendar is distasteful and objectionable. It cannot be denied that Jesus was Jewish and that Jesus’ last supper was a Passover meal, since Jesus himself said, “go into the city to such a man and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples” (Matthew 26:18). However, we are not Jews, we are Christians. The resurrection no doubt occurred during Passover, but that does not mean that the date of Easter should move each year in accordance with a holiday that isn’t even ours. We should not be relying on Jewish tradition or the Jewish calendar to determine one of the most holy days of the year. Relying on a Jewish holiday to celebrate the rebirth of our Lord subverts the Church under Judaism, which is unacceptable since it is our faith that brings us salvation. Moreover, the date of Passover changes every year because it is based on the lunar calendar, which is less accurate than the solar Julian calendar. The changing date of Passover makes it so that the date of Easter is more difficult to remember. Setting a fixed date based on a solar calendar would have established continuity and unity for centuries to come. Furthermore, a fixed date would have ensured that Easter would always fall near the actual date of Jesus’ resurrection and would fall near the vernal equinox, the age old symbol of rebirth, which would have opened many more pagans to the possibility of conversion to Christianity.

Meletius, Theclus and I tried to compromise with rest of the council by proposing that Easter should fall on the same Sunday each year. I believe that this was the happy medium between the three sides—it maintained the theological underpinnings of having Easter on a Sunday but was not based on the dates of either Passover or the vernal equinox. I am sorely disappointed that members of the council were not more willing to compromise for the establishment of a uniquely Christian holy day.

Brightest blessings,