BKIRKI, Lebanon: Catholic bishops in the Orient called Thursday for a common Easter holiday across the Christian churches to boost unity within the religion.
The exact date of Easter changes from year-to-year based on the movement of the moon, and is determined using different calendars by the Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian churches.
The call came at the end of a conference of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient which kicked off in Bkirki Monday.
Participants at the conference under Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai discussed means to implement the recommendations of a Synod convened last year that focused on the situation of Christians in the Levant.
Among the recommendations was “a serious attempt to unite the Easter Holiday for all churches and to find ways of guaranteeing the implementation of this urgent request by all Christians, especially in our Eastern countries, just as is the case in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.”
The bishops also called on Christians to “hold onto their land and the sacred places in their historical homelands.”
“Have faith in the future,” the bishops pleaded in the wake of the current regional unrest.
They emphasized the need for national dialogue, respect for human rights and national reconciliation.
In an indirect reference to the uprisings in the Arab world, the Synod called for “cooperation with the moderate forces in our societies to broaden national participation.”
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Bishops called for a solution on the basis of comprehensive and just peace.