The variations, though baffling, are not completely irregular and unpredictable.
Apparently, the whole cycle of dates repeats itself exactly every 5,700,000 years.
So, on the surface Archbishop Welby seems justified in his apparent confidence that a deal is in sight whereby secular authorities and the various churches will settle on the second Sunday in April.
I don’t want to spoil anybody’s party, but I am more than sceptical that this will occur any time soon enough to concern anybody now old enough to read this.
Many western Christians fail to understand the weight and authority of tradition, nor the strength of anti-ecumenical feeling within Orthodoxy.
The fact that the proposals for change come from the “heterodox” West is enough to rule them out for many Orthodox.
Coptic Pope Tawadros II is also favourable to it – and this is significant since the computus adopted at Nicaea was elaborated originally at Alexandria.
The Copts and other Oriental Orthodox are not of course in communion with Byzantine Orthodoxy, but Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has also expressed acceptance in principle.
This fixed Easter as the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.Easter can fall as early as the March 22 – it last did so in 1818 and will not do so again until 2285.The latest possible date is April 25 (last time 1944, next occurrence 2038).In 1923, when the Greek state adopted the Gregorian Calendar and made the Church follow suit for the fixed feasts, a chaotic schism ensued.The notoriously fissiparous Greek old calendarists (at the last count at least five competing, and mutually anathematising synods claimed to represent the “Genuine Orthodox Christians” of Greece) are relatively few in number, but they represent an ominous sign of trouble to come if the mainstream Orthodox leaders attempt change.