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Quartodecimanism

An early church practice, especially in Asia Minor, celebrating Easter on 14 Nisan (die quarta decima), the day of the Jewish Passover. About 155, Polycarp,* bishop of Smyrna, tried unsuccessfully to persuade Pope Anicetus to adopt Quartodeciman practice. Pope Victor* was determined that Quartodecimans should join the rest of Christendom in observing Sunday as the day of resurrection. There seemed legitimate objection to observing the chief Christian feast on the same day as the Jewish Passover. Irenaeus* of Lyons protested against Victor's efforts, and the Quartodecimans later separated and continued as a sect into the fifth century. It has been argued that the two traditions were not concerned to commemorate the same event, but rather were complementary festivals, both rooted in the Israelite calendar. Quartodecimans did not mourn Christ's death; only with the Franciscans* did Western Christians begin to dwell on the Passion. Ultimately the debate turned on differing theological interpretation; the Sunday Pasch triumphed, subsuming all that was commemorated on 14 Nisan.

See also Paschal Controversies.

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