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Eastern Orthodox Easter coincides with Western observance this year

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    http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2010/03/25/life/doc4baa3a56c0da8712097959.txt Eastern Orthodox Easter coincides with Western observance this year
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2010
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      http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2010/03/25/life/doc4baa3a56c0da8712097959.txt

      Eastern Orthodox Easter coincides with Western observance this year
      Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010

      Due to a difference in the Gregorian and Julian calendars, Eastern Orthodox Christians around the world celebrate Easter on a date which varies somewhat from the date celebrated by Western Christians of Catholic or Protestant origin.

      However, in 2010 and 2011, these calendars are aligned and Eastern and Western Easter will be celebrated together for two consecutive years.

      Although the next incidence of a common date will occur in 2014, not since 1942-1943 has there been a consecutive coincident date of Easter between the two churches.

      Another two-year coincidence will not occur until 2071-2072.

      During Holy Week (March 28-April 4) the Eastern Orthodox Church holds daily worship services, often two or more services per day, each of which has a spiritual purpose and theological basis. The historical context of these services and their roots in Byzantine culture "make them unique in a modern American setting and are highly recommended for spiritual seekers," notes information from St. Philip's Orthodox Church in Souderton.

      The Eastern and Western branches of Christianity have been separate since the Great Schism of 1054 A.D.

      Today, the total number of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide is estimated at approximately 300 million. Orthodox Christians in the United States, however, comprise only about 2 percent of the population due to trends in immigration which helped to establish the religious and cultural majority.

      As such, Orthodox churches in the United States tend to retain the cultural identity and origin of the immigrants who established the parish, i.e. Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, etc. and oftentimes, services in those churches are held in those native languages (with varying degrees of English).

      Southeastern Pennsylvania, however, is home to a few parishes which are "pan-Orthodox" in nature, including St. Philip Orthodox Church, located at 1970 Clearview Road in Souderton.

      As with other pan-Orthodox congregations, the St. Philip's membership is comprised of Eastern Christians from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and approximately 50 percent are Americans previously from non-Orthodox Christian heritage. All services are conducted in English.

      For information on special Orthodox worship services during Holy Week, visit the church's Web site at http://www.st-philip.net or contact the St. Philip's church office at 215-721-4947.

      Regular Sunday worship begins at 9 a.m. with a Matins prayer service, followed by Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. Regular weekly prayer services are also held on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. and on Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. (known as "Vespers"). All are welcome.
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