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Patristic Testimony on Nicea concerning Pascha

Discussion in 'St. Athanasius Chapel and Reference Library' started by buzuxi02, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    This is a post to list patristic quotes and primary sources concerning Pascha in order to attempt to piece together what Nicea decreed whether in law or in spirit. I'll limit the quotes to Fathers living before Chalcedon. I'll provide where on the net the patristic work can be located. Its a work in progress.


    Eusebius of Caesaria 330 a.d. He attended Nicea:




    St. Constantine circular letter about Nicea as recorded by Eusebius:




    St Athanasios the Great, writing later in life after some looked to overturn nicea, post 360 a.d.:







    Canon 1 of Antioch held in 341 a.d.:

     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
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  2. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    The previous post are quotes from primary sources, those people that attended Nicea. Even the antiochan canon was passed by bishops present at Nicea while others were contemporaries of the council.


    St. John Chrysostom as a young presbyter in Antioch approx 381 a.d.writes against those christians observing the fast early according to the jewish calendar as Pascha fell late that year:





    The following epistle is the most important and most detailed we have concerning what Nicea decreed about Pascha, St Ambrose of Milan writing in 386 a.d.:


     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  3. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    Continuing with secondary sources, many of these Fathers were born at the time of Nicea or even before and know the decrees firsthand.


    St Epiphanios of Salamis 390 a.d. in his treatise the Panarion (Against the heresies).







    Canon 7 of the Holy Apostles 395 a.d.




    Annianus of Alexandria who wrote during Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria's rule at about 400 a,d,. He wrote a chronology dating back to 5492 BC, the year Adam and Eve were created. What we know is he dated it using 532 year paschal cycles back. Thus making him the first known writer to speak of the Great Indiction and 532 year Paschal cycle. Here is some info on him from wiki:



    Just to point out the dating system known as the era of martyrs (a.m.) was introduced shortly after Emperor Diocletian's death within the Alexandrian Church. This is the dating system St Ambrose is using in the previous post when he dates Easter using the 'era of diocletian'.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  4. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    Continuing, I will also post quotes from the Fathers from writings which quote them, as many of these arent available online or havent been translated in their entirety.

    St Cyril of Alexandria to Pope Leo in 434 a.d.:



     
  5. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    A few odds and ends. Dionysius Exiguus established the paschal tables for the roman church in 525 a.d.



    tertullian.org



    The recent argument that Pascha coincided with the jewish passover certain times in the 4th century seems to be a weak argument. As there was anomalies that sprang up. In 333 ad, it seems pascha was pushed back a week so Holy Saturday wont coincide with April 21 which was a major pagan holiday and also the secular festival of the anniversary date of the founding of Rome. That year the full moon fell on the same Sunday which Pascha was celebrated. Athanasius festal epistle for that year compares the various groups simultaneously celebrating with Easter, that is the jews and the heathens(whose festivities actually culminated 6 days later which should have been Holy Saturday).

    In 346 A.d. due to the roman council of Sardica, Athanasius in his festal epistle 18 agreed to move up Pascha one week because according to roman tradition it cannot fall before march 25. The council of Sardica which Athanasius attended while in exile drew up a 50 year table, but was never accepted. In 346 only Athanasius staunchest supporters would have accepted the revised date, the tables devised at Sardica fell out of memory just as fast as they were introduced.

    By the time of Pope Leo the Great, Rome accepted the Alexandrian method utilizing Theophilus of Alexandria's table. The last controversy on the dating of Pascha between Rome and Alexandria occured in 501 a.d. This was purely political. Pope Symmachius was embroiled in a schism which saw Laurentius elected pope by a smaller but influential opposition party in Rome. Laurentius was the emperor's favored choice for supporting the Henotikon. The laity, clergy and, government officials were divided between the two, creating a schism within the church of Rome. Symmachius decided to celebrate Pascha in 501 AD according to the roman cycle as that year Pascha fell late. This allowed Pope Symmachius to draw a distinction between his supporters and his opponents. This caused a stir and charges were brought up against him for tampering with the date of Pascha, and a schism of 4 years ensued.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  6. snowpumpkin

    snowpumpkin Newbie

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    I just wanted to note that they use the word "Easter" several times... I'm glad to see that. So many times I hear Orthodox looking down on that word.
     
  7. Dewi Sant

    Dewi Sant Do the little things

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    I say 'Eastern Easter' :p

    It would be a bit silly to avoid western terminology.
    Lent is pretty accepted in the Orthodox church even though it is an English word: "from Old English lencten "springtime, spring,"
     
  8. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I did some research a few years back and found that "Easter" was derived from the Old Teutonic German word meaning "resurrection". In many languages the word for "rise" is synonymous with the direction the sun rises every day, that is the sun "easts" in the morning.
    I still prefer to use the name "Pascha", notwithstanding the fact that this is the term used in almost every language in the world apart from a few Germanic languages, but there is absolutely nothing pagan connected with the term "Easter". It is perfectly orthodox.

    Arab christians call God "Allah", because that is the Arabic word for "God". It doesn't then follow that they're influenced by Islam. Same thing with Easter. :)
     
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