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II. The celebration of the feast. For the origins which are difficult to trace and the various forms of the celebration of Easter, during the first centuries, see the section below on the Easter controversy. In the 4th c., the organization and celebration of the Paschal cycle began to become uniform in various ecclesiastical regions. 1. The date. The ecumenical Council of Nicaea 325 required all the churches to celebrate Easter in accordance with the Roman and Alexandrian practice, that is, the first Sunday after the first full moon following the equinox of spring; each year the bishop of Alexandria would send an encyclical letter to the other churches announcing the date of Easter.

But differences of calendar between the East and West made this desire to celebrate Easter everywhere on the same day to be nothing more than wishful thinking, even up to our own times see the recent ecumenical meetings that have attempted to set Easter day for the Sunday following the second Saturday of April. 2. The liturgy. Lent is mentioned for the first time in 334 by Athanasius Ep. fest. 6,13; cf. 13,8; then Itin. Egeriae 27-29. Winston-Salem city Metro Map a. Holy Week seems to be an institution that reflects the devotion of the first Christian pilgrims who traveled to the Holy Land to live out the various moments of Christ’s passion. The first detailed report of the events scheduled for this week has been preserved in the Itinerarium Egereiae The Travels of Egeria from the end of the 4th c. 3038. Egeria left the following information about Holy Week: Palm Sunday took place on the Mount of Olives; one was to descend upon the city of Jerusalem in procession with olive and palm branches in hand see Mk 11:1-10 and parallel texts; Jn 12:1, 12-19; it seems that on the same day the redditio symboli recitation of the Creed took place 46 by the catechumens, as in the West. On Tuesday, texts were read from Christ’s eschatological discourse Mk 13:5-57 and parallel texts on the Mount of Olives; on Wednesday the story of Judas’s betrayal was read at the Holy Sepulcher Mk 14:10-11 and parallel texts. b. The Easter triduum began Thursday evening.

At Jerusalem, the faithful spent the night from Thursday through Friday in vigil on the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane Mk 14:32-52 and parallel texts; in Syria, during this vigil, the institution of the Eucharist was commemorated see Aphraates, Demonstr. 12. Holy Friday likewise from Egeria’s account Christians spent the time reflecting upon Jesus’ morning appearance before Pilate Mk 15:2-15 and parallel texts and the flagellation Mk 15:16-20 and parallel texts. At noon, the wood of the cross found by Helena was shown to the faithful; then, for three hours, the people read the account of the passion, along with OT prophecies about Christ. Holy Saturday had no official services; in all the churches a fast was observed in memory of the absence of the bridegroom Mk 2:20 and parallel texts and Christ’s rest Apos. Con. VII, 23,4; VIII, 47,67, but his descent into hell was recalled, which, for the Byzantine tradition, would become the first sign of his victory over the kingdom of death see Amphil. of Iconium, Or. in diem sabbatis.

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