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Popes to go for a date

Aproposal to unite the Christian churches on the date of Easter is currently under discussion.

The new date would still be movable since it always falls on a Sunday, but the plan is to make it the third Sunday in April every year. The Eastern and Western Easters usually fall on different dates because the churches use different calendars, the Julian and Gregorian.

Patriarch Tawadros II, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, discussed the plans on a visit to the Coptic Cultural Centre in Amsterdam. He said the date of Easter is an 'historical problem', albeit one that in itself does not have implications of faith and doctrine. Pope Tawadros had already urged a unified Easter in a letter sent in May 2014 to Pope Francis.

Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, declared that the matter had also been discussed during the recent visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to Egypt.

'In principle it is a good idea at least to show a visible solidarity, but even if it does not happen immediately at least the process shows a fellowship and intention to come closer and bring members of our Churches closer,' he said. 'It is something that everyone thinks is a very good idea. We are trying to see how we might make it happen. The initial steps are just reaching out and trying to get some agreement on the principle. It is not going to be a simple process but at least if the conversation is happening, it brings us one step closer.'

Archbishop Welby's office has said only that he does not comment on private conversations. In all nominally Christian countries a moveable Easter makes life more difficult for governments, education and businesses. Hot cross bun bakers were unavailable for comment.