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Catholics in the Holy Land change calendar to celebrate Easter with the Orthodox

2012-11-04

Despite the replacement, some in the Orthodox Church still use the Julian calendar. In places like the Holy Land, where Catholics and Orthodox live together, this reality can pose a problem.

FR. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA
Custodian of the Holy Land
"Ecumenism in the Holy Land is not a theological problem, is a pastoral problem. Because all families are mixed families. One part is Orthodox and another Catholic. So we have two different calendars: the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar for families.”

As a gesture in favor of unity, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has decided to modify its liturgical schedule in 2013 to that of the Orthodox. That means Easter in the Holy Land will be celebrated on May 5th next year instead of March 31. There is an exception though.  Both have agreed that  Jerusalem and Bethlehem will not follow the new calendar. 

FR. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA
Custodian of the Holy Land
"For Christian families, it's a problem. They want to celebrate Christmas together and Easter together. So the Catholic Church decided to adopt just for Easter, not for Christmas, the Julian calendar in order to allow and permit our Christian families to celebrated Easter together.”

The intention of the Patriarchate is that from 2015 the Catholic Church in the Holy Land will  adopt the Julian calendar, definitively.  From that point onwards, Christians will celebrate Easter together, the central celebration of the faith.

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