It is a motive of great joy for many Christians that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will celebrate Easter on the same day this year, says Bishop Franghiskos Papamanolis.
The Catholic Church, following the Gregorian calendar, normally celebrates Easter earlier than the Orthodox Church, which follows the Julian calendar. This year the two coincide with the celebration of Easter on April 8.
Bishop Papamanolis, president of the Greek Catholic episcopal conference, told ZENIT that the Catholic community in the country normally celebrates Easter on the same day as the Orthodox Church.
He said: "To celebrate Easter on different days creates social problems, and for us, it also creates pastoral problems.
"For us it is a suffering to celebrate Easter on a different day than Rome."
"The suffering is even greater," the bishop added, "when we can't celebrate Easter together in Greece, as there are many mixed families."
Bishop Papamanolis of Syros and Milos said that the ideal "would be to arrive to an agreement so that all Christians could celebrate Easter together."
Next year, he added, "the Catholic universal Church will celebrate Easter on March 23, while the Orthodox Church -- along with us Catholic Greeks -- will do so on April 27."
The Council of Nicaea established that the day of Easter should fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The difference of dates for the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is due to fact that they follow different calendars.
The next time Easter coincides for the two Churches will be April 4, 2010.