The Pope has expressed hope that in 2025, the Roman Catholic Church will celebrate Easter together with representatives of the Malankara Church, as reported by vaticannews.va.
During a meeting with the head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India, Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, Pope Francis expressed the desire to "jointly celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea."
"I want us all to celebrate this event together," said the Pontiff, adding that "the divisions that have occurred throughout our history among us Christians are painful wounds inflicted on the Body of Christ, which is the Church."
He noted that "if, together, like the Apostle Thomas, we proclaim that Jesus is our Lord and our God, if with humble hearts and reverence we entrust ourselves to His grace, we will be able to hasten the long-awaited day when, with His help, we will celebrate the Mystery of Easter at one altar," emphasized the Pope.
In 2025, the Church will celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. On this day, the date of Easter should coincide for both the Orthodox and Catholics. Currently, among Christian churches, there are three calendar systems: Julian, Gregorian, and New Julian. The Catholic Church follows the Gregorian calendar, while the Orthodox use the Julian and New Julian calendars.
At the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, it was established that Christians should celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The equinox date in the church calendar is calculated, not astronomical. The First Council of Nicaea decided that for Easter to be celebrated simultaneously throughout the empire, the Patriarch of Alexandria would determine the date of the holiday and communicate it to other communities. Starting in the 8th century, the Alexandrian paschal cycle became universal and was used in Western Europe until the Gregorian calendar reform. The difference in dates between the Gregorian and Julian calendars gradually increased, and discussions have been ongoing in the Church for a hundred years on how to overcome this division. In 1923, Patriarch Meletius IV of Constantinople convened an Ecumenical Council, where the new Julian calendar was introduced, aligning some Orthodox holidays with Catholic ones, and which is now followed by some Orthodox Churches.