When Is Orthodox Easter? Dates for 2009-2029

When Is Orthodox Easter? Dates for 2009-2029

When Is Orthodox Easter? Dates for 2009-2029

Easter is the most important and sacred day of the Orthodox Church calendar. Believers gather to celebrate the single greatest event in the history of the Christian faith. The Orthodox Easter season consists of several celebrations which are movable feasts commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead following his crucifixion and burial.

When Is Orthodox Easter 2021?

Orthodox Easter falls on Sunday, May 2, 2021.

Orthodox Easter Calendar

2021 – Sunday, May 2
2022 – Sunday, April 24
2023 – Sunday, April 16
2024 – Sunday, May 5
2025 – Sunday, April 20
2026 – Sunday, April 12
2027 – Sunday, May 2
2028 – Sunday, April 16
2029 – Sunday, April 6

Following the practice of early Jewish Christians, Eastern Orthodox churches initially observed Easter on the fourteenth day of Nisan, or the first day of Passover. The Gospels reveal that it was during the Passover season that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead. Easter’s connection with Passover provides the origin of another ancient name for Easter, which is Pascha. This Greek term is derived from the Hebrew name for the festival. 

As a movable feast, the date of Orthodox Easter changes every year. To this day, Eastern Orthodox churches use a different system than Western Churches to calculate the day of the observance, which means Eastern Orthodox churches often celebrate Easter on a different day than Western churches.

Orthodox Easter in Previous Years

  • 2021 – Sunday, April 19
  • 2021 – Sunday, April 28
  • 2021 – Sunday, April 8
  • 2021 – Sunday, April 16
  • 2021 – Sunday, May 1
  • 2021 – Sunday, April 12
  • 2014 – Sunday, April 20
  • 2013 – Sunday, May 5
  • 2012 – Sunday, April 15
  • 2011 – Sunday, April 24
  • 2010 – Sunday, April 4
  • 2009 – Sunday, April 19

How Is Orthodox Easter Celebrated?

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Easter season begins with Great Lent, which consists of a period of 40 days of self-examination and fasting (the 40 days include Sundays). Great Lent starts on Clean Monday and ends on Lazarus Saturday.

“Clean Monday,” which falls seven weeks before Easter Sunday, is a term used to signify a time of cleansing from sinful attitudes. This cleansing will take place in the hearts of believers throughout the Lenten fast. Lazarus Saturday, which falls eight days before Easter Sunday, signals the end of Great Lent.

The day after Lazarus Saturday is the celebration of Palm Sunday. This holiday falls one week before Easter. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday ushers in Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday, or Pascha.

Easter celebrants partake in a fast throughout Holy Week. Many Orthodox churches observe a Paschal Vigil, which ends just before midnight on Holy Saturday (also called Great Saturday), the last day of Holy Week on the evening before Easter. Holy Saturday commemorates the placing of Jesus Christ’s body in the tomb. The vigil typically starts with a candlelight procession outside the church. As worshippers enter the church in procession, the pealing of bells marks the beginning of the Easter morning prayers.

Immediately following the vigil, Easter services begin with Paschal Matins, Paschal Hours, and the Paschal Divine Liturgy. Paschal Matins may consist of either an early morning prayer service or an all-night prayer vigil. Paschal Hours is a brief, chanted prayer service reflecting the joy of Easter. And Paschal Divine Liturgy is a communion or Eucharist service. These solemn celebrations of Jesus Christ’s resurrection are considered the most holy and significant services of the ecclesiastical year in Orthodox Christianity.

After the Eucharist service, the fast ends, and the feasting of Easter begins.

In the Orthodox tradition, worshippers greet one another on Easter with these words: “Christ is risen!” (“Christos Anesti!”). The traditional response is, “He is risen indeed!” (“Alithos Anesti!”). This greeting echoes the words of the angel to the women who found the tomb of Jesus Christ empty on the first Easter morning:

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead.’ ” (Matthew 28:5–7, NIV)

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