Beda Venerabilis' Easter cycle

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In the year 616 an anonymous extended Dionysius Exiguus' Easter table to an Easter table covering the years 532 up to and including 721. Dionysius' table was published in 525 and shortly thereafter was accepted by the church of Rome, which from the third century up till then had given preference to go on using her own, relatively inadequate, Easter tables. From this time all controversy between Alexandria and Rome as to the correct date of Easter ceased, as both churches were now using identical tables. In the year 725 Bede (Latin name Beda Venerabilis) published a new extension of Dionysius’ Easter table to a great Easter cycle, which is periodic in its entirety and in which consequently not only the sequence of (Julian calendar) dates of Alexandrian paschal full moon but also the sequence of (Julian calendar) dates of Alexandrian Easter Sunday is periodic. Bede’s Easter cycle contains lunar cycles (of 19 years) as well as solar cycles (of 28 years), and therefore it has a period of 532 years. In the Byzantine empire thanks to Annianos’ Easter cycle at all times the churches were acquainted with the date of the next Easter Sunday. It is Beda Venerabilis’ Easter cycle by means of which also the churches in the part of Europe outside the Byzantine empire got that possibility.

References[edit]

  • Faith Wallis, Bede: The Reckoning of Time (Liverpool University Press, 2004)
  • Georges Declercq, Anno Domini: The origins of the Christian era (Brepols, Turnhout, Belgium, 2000)