At Rorate Caeli, there is a very lengthy, very interesting piece about the probability of a unified date for Easter. The author’s assessment: nil. In short, the Church of Rome has long insisted upon the Gregorian calendar for the date for Easter, and the Orthodox churches have long insisted on the Julian calendar. While there have been favorable noises from both the Holy Father and the Ecumenical Patriarch about a unified date for Easter, the Moscow Patriarchate, which does not take orders from the Ecumenical Patriarch, to put it mildly, prefers the retention of the status quo. And if Moscow doesn’t go along, the proposal will be dead in the water in Constantinople—dead in the Bosphorus, as it were. Read the whole thing there.
We add briefly that the talk of a unified Easter seemed to come out of nowhere, and that the mentions we saw were awfully enthusiastic. While ecumenical dialogue is one of the great loves of the Church after Vatican II, it should be noted that very few results are actually achieved. Certainly, enthusiastic joint statements, lengthy joint declarations about shared beliefs and stumbling blocks to full communion, and the like are regularly produced, but, as far as results in the ut unum sint sense, well, that’s another story. And the Rorate Caeli piece shows why: ecumenical dialogue involves not only the Church and her doctrine but also the other institution and its doctrine. In this case, the Orthodox have a long, complex history about their calendar preferences. And a surge of ecumenical enthusiasm is not likely to overcome those preferences.