Patriarchal Encyclical Concerning the Date of Easter (English)

No. EN 406/21

ܒܫܡ ܐܝܬܝܐ ܡܬܘܡܝܐ ܐܠܨܝ ܐܝܬܘܬܐ ܕܟܠ ܐܚܝܕ

ܐܝܓܢܛܝܘܣ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܐ ܕܟܘܪܣܝܐ ܫܠܝܚܝܐ ܕܐܢܛܝܘܟܝܐ ܘܕܟܠܗ̇ ܡܕܢܚܐ

ܘܪܝܫܐ ܓܘܢܝܐ ܕܥܕܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ ܐܪܬܕܘܟܣܝܬܐ ܕܒܟܠܗ̇ ܬܒܝܠ

ܕܗܘ ܐܦܪܝܡ ܬܪܝܢܐ ܡ̄

  We extend our apostolic benediction, benevolent prayers and greetings to our brethren their Eminences the Metropolitans; our spiritual children: Very Reverend Corepiscopoi, Reverend priests, monks, nuns and deacons and the entire blessed Syriac Orthodox people throughout the world. May the divine providence embrace them through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and St. Peter, Chief of the Apostles, and the rest of the Martyrs and Saints. Amen.

During the sessions of the Holy Synod convened from 22 to 26 June 2021 at our Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon, we studied various matters related to the pastoral, liturgical, social and spiritual aspects of the lives of the faithful of our Syriac Orthodox Church.

Having repeatedly received many requests from our spiritual children from the Syriac Orthodox Archdioceses throughout the world, asking us to work on uniting the date of the celebration of Easter, we considered this issue once again during the Holy Synod. The Fathers studied this topic from different perspectives, especially that the matter is not doctrinal; rather it is astronomical and related to the adoption of the corrected calendar. On several occasions, we had expressed our church’s readiness, since the Holy Synod in 1981, to celebrate Easter on any date agreed upon by all churches. We have announced this fact repeatedly during our meetings with the heads of the sister churches around the world.

In this regard, the Fathers of the Holy Synod have studied two proposals: the first proposal is about adopting the corrected (Gregorian) calendar in our church and to follow it in all liturgical celebrations, i.e. to celebrate Easter with most of the churches worldwide and with our church in India and Latin America. The second proposal is to allow the faithful of our church in the west to celebrate Easter according to the corrected Gregorian calendar while our spiritual children in the East continue to celebrate it according to the Julian calendar.

After long deliberations in the Holy Synod, in accordance with our pastoral and fatherly duty, based on the spirit of openness and to seek to know them ind of our people, it was decided to revert to the opinion of the faithful members of the church concerning this matter. Hence, we asked their Eminences the Archbishops to convey to us the opinions of the faithful and to prepare a report on this matter, to be submitted to the next Holy Synod.

Therefore, we are writing to you to inform you and encourage you to cooperate with their Eminences. We hope to be able to make the suitable decision during the next Holy Synod.

We ask the Lord to bless our efforts to realize the will of our Lord Jesus Christ to “be one” (John 17: 21). We beseech the Lord to bless you with good health, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, St. Peter the Chief of the Apostles, and all the martyrs and saints.  ܘܐܒܘܢ ܕܒܫܡܝܐ ܘܫܪܟܐ


Issued at our Patriarchate in Damascus, Syria

On the 27th of July 2021,

Which is the Eighth Year of our Patriarchate

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