The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England and the nominal leader of the worldwide Anglican Community, is working to set a unified date for Easter, eliminating the confusion that often surrounds Christianity’s holiest day so that Christians around the world observe it on the same day.
Rev. Justin Welby, the archbishop, said that he hopes to announce a change within the next five to 10 years -- after he consults with other Christian authorities like Pope Francis and Patriarch Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Typically, the Roman Catholic, along with Protestant churches, and Orthodox churches observe Easter on different Sundays, because one uses the Julian calendar while the other employs the Gregorian calendar.
Pope Francis called for one common date for Easter in 2015, saying “we have to come to an agreement” because it’s important for Christians throughout the world to celebrate the holiday on the same day.
Francis joked about the differing Sundays at a gathering of priests last year, saying that Christians could say, “When did Christ rise from the dead? My Christ rose today, and yours next week.”
The date for Easter, which depends on the phases of the moon, has been a point of contention for Christians. Welby himself said churches have been trying since the 10th century to set a fixed date, implying that making a final change would not be easy.