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16 Mar. 2024

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Easter 2024: will the New Julian calendar affect the calculation of Easter in Ukraine?

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Easter 2024: will the New Julian calendar affect the calculation of Easter in Ukraine?

In Ukraine, Orthodox and Catholics will celebrate Easter on completely different dates in 2024, despite the country's transition to a new church calendar. Find out what influences the calculation of the Resurrection Day and why the two denominations still have different dates

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In September 2023, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) switched to the New Julian calendar. The innovation only affected non-transitional holidays, but the main Christian holiday, Easter, will be celebrated in the same way as before.


This year, Orthodox and Greek Catholics will celebrate Easter on 5 May, while Roman Catholics will celebrate it on 31 March. How is it that Ukraine has switched to a new calendar, but the denominations still celebrate Easter in different ways?


Ukrainian churches have actually switched to the updated New Julian calendar, not the Gregorian calendar in its purest form. In this calendar, the so-called movable feasts continue to be determined by the traditional method.


How do Christians determine the day of Easter?


Easter is not tied to a date, but to the spring equinox and the full moon. Orthodox and Catholics have long had different opinions on this issue.


The Julian calendar is tied to the old Paschal calendar, a method of determining the date of Easter, which was approved in 325 by the Council of Nicea, which was still the only church at that time. It was then established that Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.


However, over time, the church and astronomical calendars began to differ. After the 16th century calendar reform, the vernal equinoxes in the west and east began to be calculated differently.




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Catholics decided to switch to calculations that were closer to astronomical ones, while Orthodox Christians continued to calculate the date as before. Therefore, according to the Julian and New Julian calendars (used by Orthodox and Greek Catholics), the possible dates of Easter are from 4 April to 8 May. But the Gregorian calendar (used by Catholics) gives other dates.


For example, according to the "civil calendar", which practically coincides with the Gregorian calendar, the vernal equinox in 2024 will be 20 March (according to the church calendar, it will be 21 March). The first full moon is 25 March, which means that Easter will be on the first Sunday after the full moon - 31 March.


At the same time, Orthodox Easter falls on 5 May, as the Jewish Easter of 23-30 April still plays a role, and Eastern Rite Christians do not celebrate this holiday before the Jewish date. For this reason, the celebration was postponed from 28 April for another week.


When is Lent?


On the eve of Easter, Orthodox believers observe Lent, which lasts 50 days. This period is dedicated to both physical and spiritual purification to prepare for the solemn celebration with awareness and purity of heart.


In 2024, Lent will be held from 18 March to 4 May. During this time, it is prescribed to refrain from eating meat, dairy products and eggs. A particularly strict time is Holy Week, from 29 April to 4 May, when abstinence and focus on the spiritual reach their highest point.


We remind you! Church holidays in 2024 will be celebrated according to the new calendar. Here's a look at which holidays have been shifted by almost two weeks and which will be celebrated on the same days as before.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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