Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter today (while Catholics celebrated it on March 27). The difference is due to the use of two methods for calculating the date of Easter. Orthodox churches use the Julian Calendar, while Catholic and Protestant Churches use the Gregorian Calendar. There have been various attempts to reach a common date for Easter. In 1997, a meeting in Aleppo sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches and attended by various representatives of Eastern and Western Churches, issued what has been known as "The Aleppo Statement" which urged all churches to start celebrating Easter on a common date beginning in 2001. However, the suggestion was never implemented and the issue is still a matter of great concern, especially for Middle Eastern Christians, who believe it should be addressed seriously and urgently.
The picture above shows a new Church in a suburb of Damascus that stands as a wonderful symbol of unity among Syrian Christians. The Church of Saint Paul and Saint Peter in the suburb of Dummar is the first church to serve both Orthodox and Catholic communities. It was inaugurated last February by Beatitude Ignatius IV, Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Gregorius III, the Melkite Catholic Patriarch. Will the event inspire church leaders to reach a common date of Easter?