II. The Paschal Controversies

While Jewish Christians for a time celebrated the Jewish Pass over, the practise of the Church was not uniform either in the day or in the ideas and customs at taching to what eventually became the Easter festival. The Christians of Asia Minor celebrated the Jewish Passover on the 14th of

1. The Nisan, sting with it, according to Quarto. some, the commemoration of the de- deoimans of Asia pure of Jesus from his disciples Minor. and the institution of the Lord's Sup per. According to others, the day was celebrated in strict obedience to Jewish law, without any allusion to Gospel history. A third view maintains that the Christians of Asia Minor celebrated on the 14th of Nisan the memory of the death of Jesus. But the grounds of the contro veiey must be nought elsewhere. If the sources are examined without prejudice and without re gard to criticism of the Gospels, a different result must necessarily be reached concerning the sig nificance and import of the celebration. Euse bius says that it was decided on the basis of numer ous conferences of bishops that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord from the dead should be celebrated on no other day than on the Lord's day and on that day the Easter fast should be broken (Hist. eccl., V. xxiii. 2, NPNF

2. Documentary Bases and Harmonistic Calculations

The Syriac Didascalia makes an attempt to harmonize the tradition of the canonical Gospels and that of the Christians of Asia Minor. On the morning of Friday Jesus was led before Pilate and crucified on the same day. He suffered six hours, and those are counted as one day. Then there was a darkness, lasting three hours; and that is counted as a night, and further, from the ninth hour till evening three hours,-another day, and then followed the night of the Sab- bath. In the Gospel of Matthew we read, « Now late on the eabbath day as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene," etc. (Matt. xxviii. 1, R. V.). The calculation is strange, but rte purpose is easily seen. The author believed that Jesus rose on the evening of the Friday on which he suffered death. In order to reconcile this tradition with the other which assumed a resurrection on the third day, he calculated (as above) in such a way that Jesus really rose after two days and two nights although only one day had passed. It is not known whether Friday of every week was celebrated by fasts and the mysteries of resurrection or the 14th of each month or the 14th of Nisan in each year. In the Orient, Sunday was not known as the day of resurrection, and hence there was no weekly celebration of this. day, but in the Occident Wednesday and Friday were regular fast-days, and .Sunday was celebrated as the day of resurrection. It is doubtful whether the Occident possessed in addition a special day in the year for the commemoration of the death and the resurrection of the Lord.

When Polycarp visited Anicetus in Rome (c. 154), the celebration of Passover was discussed, but no agreement was arrived at. Polycarp appealed to the old age of the tradition in Asia Minor,

Anicetua to the Roman tradition. S. Con- Neither made concessions, but there troversy was no rupture. At the beginning of is the c the paschal controversies, there arose Ceatnry. also he heresy of the Montaniats who by means of the Egyptian calen dar designated the seventh of April as the day of the death of Christ on which they annually celebrated Passover without regard to the day of the week and the phase of the moon. This revolu tionary spirit was opposed by the representatives of the Church of Asia Minor, especially by Melito of Sardis and Apollinsris of Hierapolis, but, owing to his disagreement with the Church of Asia Minor, Victor of Rome was favorably inclined toward the Montanists. He attempted to exclude the churches of the province of Asia from the ortho dox Church, but Polycarp of Smyrna defended the old custom so that the measures of Rome could not be carried out. Most of the bishops took the part of Polycarp. Even Irenaeue wrote to Victor in the name of the Gallican bishops, exhorting him to be moderate. The leaders of the Church of Palestine, such as Narcissus of Jerusalem, The ophilus of Cæsarea, also the bishops of Pontua and Gaul, and the Church of Alexandria stood on the aide of Victor, appealing to the tradition of the Apostles, while Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia


took the part of Asia Minor. Victor was not successful in subjecting the Asiatics to his views; on the other hand the Church of Asia Minor was not able to influence the Western Church to abandon the celebration of Sunday in favor of an account of the resurrection which was in evident contradiction to the prophecies of the Old Testament, to the tradition of Paul and the acknowledged Gospels, and in favor of a custom that was based merely upon the appeal to traditions which could not claim equal authority with the Gospels and apostles. Clement of Alexandria, as the representative of the view of the churches in Palestine and Alexandria, seems to have influenced the final result of the controversy.

For the following period the more important problem was the calculation of the term of Passover and Easter. In Asia Minor this question was not raised. The Jews strictly insisted that their festival should take place at the time of full moon, but beyond this they attempted no accurate calculation. It was probably in Egypt that the vernal equinox and the next full moon were first taken into consideration as fixed points in the calculation of Easter.

4. The Nicene Decision as to the Date of Celebration.

In Rome there developed in the mean time a different calculation of the festival of Easter which, beside the celebration of Sunday as the day of resurrection, formed an object of dispute between the two parties. According to a statement of Tertullian, Easter was celebrated annually in the first month, i.e., March. But if Easter is calculated after the full moon which follows the spring equinox, it does not always take place in the month of March. Consequently at the time when Tertullian made this statement (in the beginning of the third century), Easter must have been celebrated in Car thage and in the Occident on an immovable day in the month of March. As Tertullian in another place designates the twenty-fifth of March as the day of the death of Christ, and as this tradition is very frequently in evidence in the whole Occident, it is to be assumed that in the Occident there began a fast on that date which was broken on the following Sunday in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. At the Council of NICfEa an attempt was made to abolish the differences between the various churches and to introduce the Egyptian ealculation into all provinces. Easter was to be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. But by this decision a uniform regulation of the question was not guaranteed, as is evident from the necessity of reaffirming the decision at the Synod of Antioch in 341. An anti-Judaistic polemic which is noticeable in the regulation of the question since the third century has undoubtedly influenced to a great extent the final victory of the custom of Palestine and Egypt. In spite of the decision of the councils, the churches of Mesopotamia, Antioch, and Syria adhered to the old custom.

(Erwin Preuschen.)

III. The Easter Cycle: This is a determinate series, of years such that in each series Easter

Sunday always recurs in the same sequence on the same day of the month. Such a cycle exists for the Julian calendar and comprises 532 years. Besides this cycle there is another, consisting of eightyfour years, which is mentioned at the close of the third century but which was later superseded by the cycle of 532 years because it was found that the computation was wrong. A lanes cycle of nineteen years is also named and only in this sense can an Easter cycle be connected with the Gregorian calendar.

Carl Bertheau.

Bibliography: On I.: Bingham, Origines, XX. v.; J. C. W. Augusti, DenkuHirdapkeiten, v ol. ii., Leipsic, 1818: F. Piper, Geschichte des Oaterfeatea, Berlin, 1845; H. Alt, Der christliche Callus, part ii., Berlin, 1850; W. I. Zip, Hist., Object and Proper Observance of the Holy Season of Lent, New York, 1875; E. Reran, L't'pliae clirbtienne, pp. 445-451, Paris, 1879; idem, M. Aurlls, pp. 194-208, ib. 1882, Eng. transl. of both vols., London, n. d.; F. X. Kraus, Realeneykloplidie der christlichen Alterthfimer, i. 486-502, Freiburg, 1881; J. H. Hobart, Festivals and Feasts, London, 1887; L. Duchesne, Origines du cults ehrltien, pp. 228 sqq., Paris, 1889, Eng. transl., Christian Worship, pp. 238-239 et passim, London, 1904; T. Zahn, Geadsiclrte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, i . 180 sqq., Leipsic, 1889; idem, Skizurs one dens Le6en der alter Kirche, chap. vi., ib. 1894; Neander, Christian Church, i. 149, 297-300 et passim, ii.-iv, passim; Hefele, Concilisngeschichte, vol. i. pasaiLi, Eng. transl., vol. i.; Schaff, Christian Church, ii. ZO6-209; DCB, i. bSB-595: DCG, i. 265: E. C. Achelis. LtArbuch der yraktiecAers Theoiooie, i. 292 sqq., Leipsic, 1898; G. Rietschel, Lahrbuch der Liduvik, i. 172 sqq., Berlin, 1900.

On II.: C. L. Weitael, Die chrirUiche Paaaa/eier der drei crater Jalirlsunderten, Pforzheim, 1848; A. Hilgenfeld, Dar Paachaatreit der alter Kirche, Halle, 1860; W. F. Hook, Archbishops of Canterbury, i. chap i., London, 1880; F. C. Baur. Do* Christenthurn der drei crater Jahrhunderfen, pp. 156-189. Tübingen, 1883; W. Milligan. The Easter Controversies of Me Second Century in their Relation to as Gospel of St. John, is Contemporary Review, Sept., 1887; J. F. 8. Gordon, Scotichronicon, i. 80-6b, Glasgow, 1867; E. Scharer, Do controveraiis pascJsal%bua, Leipsic, 1869; idem, in ZHT, 1870, pp. 182 sqq.; L. Duchesne, La Question de la Pdque, in Revue des questions historiques, July, 1880; G. Salmon, Historical Introduction to the N. T., lest. xv., London, 1894; McGiffert in NPNF, Zd eer., i. 241; Neander, ut cup., i. 297300, ii. 337-338, iii. 347, 685; Schaff, ut nap.. ii., 209-220.

On III.: Van der Hagen, Diaasrtationea de cyclic paschalibua, Amsterdam, 1738; L. Ideler, Handbuch der . . . Chronologie, ii. 191-298, Berlin, 1826; idem, Lehrbuch der Chronologie, pp. 345-379, ib. 1831; B. Krusch, Studien our christLichen mitlelaiterlichers Chronologie, Leipsic, 1880; H. Grotefend, Zeibsehnung des deutschen Mittsh alters und der Nsuseit, p. 144, Hanover, 1891.


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