Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti! These Greek words are the same words we used at Easter time, meaning, “Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!” Sunday, May 2nd, our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters celebrate Easter Sunday. Though every once in a while, we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord on the same day more frequently than not they celebrate it after we do. The date of Easter is determined by a particular formula which was prescribed at the Council of Nicaea in the year 325. Easter is the Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox.
The difference in the date of Easter between the Churches of the East and the Church in the West is due mainly to the calendar that is used to determine that date. The Churches of the East still use the Julian calendar, which was designed by Julius Caesar in the year 45 B.C. In 1852, Pope Gregory XIII promulgated a decree implementing a new calendar that was more astronomically precise in measuring the Earth’s journey around the sun. It is the Gregorian calendar that is used by the Church in the West to calculate the date of Easter. In the East and the West, the determination of when the vernal equinox occurs can sometimes differ.
At any rate, be sure you wish your Orthodox friends a happy Easter (with the greeting that this article begins) as we continue to rejoice in the light of the risen Lord for a few more weeks!