Since last Wednesday, April 8, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal has been in Jordan to preside the liturgies of Holy Week, that the Latin Catholics of the Hashemite Kingdom are celebrating simultaneously with the Christians of the Eastern Churches. In a letter to Catholic priests, the Assembly of Bishops of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land had suggested to celebrate the Paschal Triduum on the same days in which Eastern Churches who follow the Julian calendar celebrate Easter.
The unification of the dates of the Easter holidays in much of the area had already been ordered in October 2012 by the Assembly of Bishops of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, when it was determined that within two years all the Catholics of the diocese of the Latin Rite and of the various Eastern rites would celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar, coinciding with Easter liturgies celebrated in Orthodox churches.
The day of the Easter date according to the Julian calendar had to be applied throughout the Holy Land, with the exception of the areas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where the Gregorian calendar continues to be followed both to respect the constraints imposed in the Holy City from the system of the "Status Quo" (which regulates the coexistence among the various Christian churches in Holy Places), and to take account of the influx of pilgrims from all over the world who come to celebrate Easter in the places of Jesus' earthly life.
"The Church – says the letter issued by the Catholic Bishops before Lent – listened to the voice of the faithful, to celebrate Easter together, Catholics and Orthodox, according to the Julian calendar".
"Celebrating Easter on the same day has an obvious ecumenical value, but in reality – explains to Agenzia Fides Archbishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Jordan – the application of the provisions for the unification of the Easter date is far from being a reality. Here in Jordan we have been celebrating Easter with the Orthodox brothers and sisters already for forty years. In the Palestinian Territories and also in Cyprus an agreement is found in which Christmas is celebrated together on December 25th, and Easter is celebrated together by following the Gregorian calendar. While problems continue especially in many cities of Israel, such as Haifa: the places where priests and Bishops of different rites do not find a consensus, everyone continues to follow the traditions of their own church".
Source: Fides News