On Fri, 28 Apr 2000, Raymond Brown wrote:

> I wouldn't know.  The impression I got from Irina's mail, however, was that
> even in Holland there were some Orthodox celebrating Easter according to
> the New Style, but I may well have misunderstood her.

If they do so, they do so without Hierarchical authorization.  The
Finnish Orthodox were granted Paschal economy due to their isolated
condition within Finland.

> system is still being used.  They often point out to me that the
> (conventional) date for celebrating Christ's birth is fixed, so why not his
> death & resurrection?  I point out the age-long tradition of the Church(es)

Because his birth has no relation to Passover.

> of commemorating Christ's death on a Friday & his resurrection on Sunday
> and I find no objection to perpetuating that.  But the question I'm
> continually asked, is why can't the Sunday be fixed?

It could--if one were to convene a full Ecumenical Council AND if the
Church as a whole afterwards were to accept it.  (The trickier bit among
the Orthodox is the latter).

> <sigh> Aren't Church leaders there to _lead_?  Couldn't any leader worth
> his salt put it across as the Orthodox reforming what Gregory XIII only

Here's the problem.  From ca. 1920 to the 1990s, Russia's Church was under
Bolshevism, and after the "Living Church" fiasco, any change was too
suspicious to try, not to mention the fact that clergy raised up under
Communism have been raised mostly to keep their heads down.  Other
formerly and still Communist countries have similar difficulties.  In
other words, leadership was discouraged. Constantinople is still under the
Turkokratia, which makes calling a general Council very difficult (the
Turks don't like it).  Likewise, the insulation of the Phanar means that
recent Patriarchs aren't used to actually dealing with their larger
congregations (as unfortunate events in the Greek Archdiocese of the USA
revealed quite starkly).  Finally, Orthodoxy does not adhere to the
doctrine of "clericalism"--that is, the clergy are not automatically

> Indeed, if the laity have no knowledge of the actual calculation methods
> (and, as I wrote above, this has been my experience also with regard to the
> western Churches), why should the laity even know there's a change to
> oppose?

Because tables have been calculated and printed, and they are studied.
The imposition of the "New" calendar upon Greece for fixed feasts was
enough to cause all manner of civil disobedience at the time.  Russia
still adheres completely to the Julian calendar, and getting Russia to
change the calender completely (which would be required if Pascha were
re-dated) would take someone who was trained and grew up under a
different ethic than the "keep your head down" necessary under the USSR.