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Question 339

At the first council of Nicaea in 325AD, the council failed to agree a date for that of easter that could unify the church, as was Emperor Constantine intention, my question is when was this date/formula set and at which council?  

   

 

Answer to Question 339

 

But the First Ecumenical Council didn't fail to agree on the Paschalion, the method for the calculation of the celebration of Pascha. Up to this point there had been a number of different methods for determining the date for Pascha, but at Nicaea the bishops chose to accept the Alexandrian practice of making a calculation independent of the Jewish Passover, stipulating also that the Paschal celebration had to follow the vernal equinox. They thus rejected the Antiochian practice of making reference to Jewish reckoning when choosing the day for Pascha.  

 

Same member

However if I am not mistaking this was not a canon, set at the council of that time and merely a letter from the then Emperor Constantine who confirmed this agreement in a letter to the bishops that had not attended the council, announcing two things the most holy festival of Easter should be everywhere celebrated on one and the same day so cheerfully accept what is observed with such general unanimity of sentiment in the city of Rome, throughout Italy, Africa, all Egypt, Spain, France, Britain, Libya, the whole of Greece, and the dioceses of Asia, Pontus and Cilicia and we have cast aside the Jewish way of calculating the date of the festival because we should never allow easter to be kept twice in one and the same solar year but there was still confusion as to when the spring equinox was and this continued for centuries with the 12th century canonist Joannes Zonaras writing that Pascha should always follow Jewish Passover, so the principle is called the “Zonaras Proviso” after him. Zonaras is thought to have derived his new principle from his reading of Apostolic Canon 7, which states, If any Bishop, Presbyter or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed. Zonaras, commenting on this Canon, wrote some say the Spring equinox is the 25th day of March others, the 25th day of April. I deem that the canon refers to neither the one nor the other. For Pascha is often celebrated before the 25th of April; and there are times when it is celebrated before the 25th of March; so that if Pascha is being celebrated in violation of this canon. Whence it appears that the wise apostles call something else the "Spring equinox." So the whole thrust of the canon is this, that Christians should not celebrate Pascha with the Jews. For it is fitting that their feast which is no feast is done first and thus we do our Pascha. If one consecrated to God does this even once, he is removed from orders. The synod in Antioch also ordered this, in their first canon, where they stated that this was decreed concerning the feast of Pascha by the synod of Nicea, although no such canon is found in the canons of the Nicene synod.