The Conflict over the Date of Easter
The conflict between the Latin
and Eastern churches over the date of celebrating Easter
Christians in Asian Minor celebrated Easter on the 14th of Nisan, the Jewish festival of Passover, even though it is often on a weekday. They claimed this tradition is from the apostle John. However, Roman and most other Christians celebrated Easter on the Sunday following the 14th of Nisan, to coincide with the day of resurrection. Although Victor, a bishop of Roma, required the churches of Asian Minor to follow the day of Easter with the Latin Church, they refused to abandon their tradition. Then, the conflict of this issue became more and more serious between the Latin and Eastern churches.
In Rome, Christians who came from Asian Minor were celebrating Easter on one date, while others were celebrating it on another date. Some were fasting while others were not. It was very hard to make the non-Christian believe that these two groups people have same faith, and were in union. Moreover, many bishops of Roman also did not want to follow the Jewish tradition. Hence, many bishop of Rome always tried to solve this problem. The Easter dating dispute was an important issue that show different traditions existed in churches and that became one of important reasons for the division of churches.
Burns, Patout, Lectures of “The Formation of Christian Tradition” in Vanderbilt Divinity school, 2004 Fall.