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It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year.
The order of Sundays from Septuagesima to the last Sunday after Pentecost, the feast of the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and all other movable feasts, from that of the Prayer of Jesus in the Garden (Tuesday after Septuagesima ) to the feast of the Sacred Heart (Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi ), depend upon the Easter date.
Commemorating the slaying of the true Lamb of God and the Resurrection of Christ, the corner-stone upon which faith is built, it is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, as old as Christianity, the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments.
That the Apostolic Fathers do not mention it and that we first hear of it principally through the controversy of the Quartodecimans are purely accidental.
The respective terms used by the Latins are Pascha resurrectionis and Pascha crucifixionis.
In consequence the first days of the Jewish months and years did not coincide with any fixed days of the Roman solar year.
Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown, even in the Edda (Simrock, Mythol., 362); Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron ; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn ; German, Ostern . The plural eâstron is used, because the feast lasts seven days.
Like the French plural Pâques , it is a translation from the Latin Festa Paschalia , the entire octave of Easter.
The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast.
Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar.