This idea is back in the news — and it may come as early as 2025:
The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, has supported a suggestion that Catholics and Orthodox work to agree on a common date to celebrate Easter.
A representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the World Council of Churches (WCC) said a common Easter date could be a sign of “encouragement” for the ecumenical movement.
Orthodox Archbishop Job Getcha of Telmessos suggested that the year 2025, which will be the 1,700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, would be a good year to introduce this reform of the calendar.
Speaking with the Swiss news agency Kath.ch, Cardinal Kurt Koch welcomed the proposal, saying the anniversary of the Council of Nicea was “a good opportunity” for this change.
This proposal isn’t exactly new. The pope himself floated this idea several years ago:
Speaking to a global gathering of priests, Pope Francis signaled an openness to changing the date of Easter in the West so that all Christians around the world could celebrate the feast on the same day.
The Pope on June 12 said “we have to come to an agreement” for a common date on Easter.
His comments came in remarks to the World Retreat of Priests at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome. The event drew priests from five continents.
The Orthodox churches normally celebrate Easter a week after the Catholics. Some Orthodox leaders have also reflected on the dating of the Christian holy day. In May, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II wrote to the papal nuncio in Egypt suggesting a common date for Easter.
Historian Lucetta Scaraffia, writing in the Vatican daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, said the Pope is offering this initiative to change the date of Easter “as a gift of unity with the other Christian churches.”
Will anything come of it this time? Stay tuned.