Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
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Bishop argues against fixed Easter date

Fri 22 Jan 2016
By Aaron James

A former bishop has urged against a fixed date for Easter, saying it would detract from the celebration's origins in the Passover.

Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali's speaking after the Archbishop of Canterbury Most Revd Justin Welby said he would begin talks with other church groups to put it on the same date every year - either the second or third Sunday in April.

The date of Easter varies each year because its roots come from the Passover - a Jewish festival - the date of which is based on the positioning of the Moon.

Bishop Nazir-Ali has suggested that instead of fixing the date and having Easter lose some of its connection with Passover, it would be better to make the dates for Easter in the Eastern and Western churches the same.

The Eastern and Western churches currently hold celebrations like Christmas and Easter at different times because they use different calendars, but Bishop Michael says they could make their ways of calculating dates the same so they can share celebrations together.

That would mean while Easter has a different date every year, at least the Eastern and Western churches would be celebrating that varying date at the same time.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, he said: "It will further distance the celebration from the Jewish Passover, with which of course it is intrinsically linked because Jesus suffered at the time of the Passover, [and] he's understood as the Passover lamb sacrificed for us.

"If governments and local authorities want to have school holidays for a fixed period then that's up to them, but I would not want Christians to be further distanced from their Jewish roots and Easter's connection with Passover.

"For the Christian Church, to retain the link with the Jewish Passover overrides these considerations."

Listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking to Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali:

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