Sunday, April 23, 2006

From Fast to Feast

Today is Pascha. We went to church last night for the midnight service. It was very nice. Ive been dieting for the past few months, and last night we enjoyed a meal of soup, lamb, salad, greek style potatoes and wine.

I was excited to see my godson there too, I wasnt sure if they would bring him very late with small children. Anyway, last week was his 5th birthday. He wanted some water guns, so thats what he got. I also brought him an easter basket - it was Elmo with bunny ears, and lots of treats inside. He has discovered money recently, so I hid some dollar bills in his eggs.

Today we are going to enjoy a family meal at home, mom is baking pastitsio, a greek style lasagna with beef, big noodles, and a mixture of egg and parmesan cheese on top. It is very rich, and reserved for holidays.

Tomorrow it is back to work for another long week. It should go by fast though. I have final exams next weekend too, and then my courses will be over for the semester. Im planning to get a head start on my thesis proposal this summer. It will be due in December for the graduate college to review. I have 18 hours left, I can envision graduation now, but I know I still have my final four semesters to get through. At least I can see the light now at the end of the tunnel.


I was informed today regarding some incorrect information posted here:


Between AD326 and AD1582, Christianity determined Easter using an algorithm approved by a Church Council in AD325, with the equinox defined as March 21. From AD1054 (when the Orthodox and Catholic Churches split) through AD1582 both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches celebrated Easter on the same date, still using the algorithm from AD325. The Julian Calendar was used by the European (and Christan) communities until the Gregorian reform of 1582.

Since AD1582 October (when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted by much of Catholic Europe), the Orthodox Easter usually falls on dates different than the Western Christian Easter, although apparently the Churches are discussing using the same formula to determine Easter - probably a formula different than that currently used by either Church.

The Orthodox Easter is determined in the Julian Calendar. It has been claimed that Orthodox Easter does not fall on the date of Passover (15 Nisan in the Hebrew Calendar), or before it; this is true recently, but using the modern formulae for determining the date of Passover (rules which go back to the fourth century A.D.), one finds that, in fact, Easter occurred on the first day of Passover several times before the year A.D. 1000. From 1900 until 2099 the Eastern Easter will fall one (45.5%), four (4.5%), or five (21.5%) weeks after the Western Easter - and on the same date in 57 (28.5%) of those years. (I've compiled some Tables showing the offsets between Orthodox and Western Easters from 1583 through 3000 that shows this information.)


Alex Kochergin has sent the following information about the Eastern Easter: It has a cycle that (in the Julian Calendar) repeats itself every 532 (19x28) years (since the Julian Solar calendar repeats every 28 years and the Metonic Lunar cycle is 19 years). Eastern Easter tends to occur only after Passover, but only since about A.D 1000. The Gregorian Easter (on the other hand) does not track Passover. For example: in 1997, Passover is 22 April; Western Easter is three weeks EARLIER (30 March) and the Eastern Easter is the Sunday following Passover (27 April). While there are obviously different algorithms used, it is also the case the Julian, Gregorian, and Jewish calendars are slipping relative to each other. The Julian Calendar (and the feasts tied to it) are occuring later in the year (compared to the Gregorian calendar). The Jewish calendar is also moving to later dates in the Gregorian calendar, but at a significantly slower rate than the Julian calendar.

The Date of Orthodox Easter: A variation of Gauss' algorithmAlex also provided the following algorithm that is based on the algorithm derived by the German mathematician Gauss, the principal simplification is that substitutions have been made for the case of Julian calendars and Orthodox Easters. This algorithm calculates the number of days AFTER March 21 (Julian) that Easter occurs (Note: It is a much simpler calculation than the Western Easter).

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