Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Christian Quartodeciman Passover Controversy


Early Christians, who followed the Old Testament tradition of celebrating Passover on the 14th of Abib, were called Quartodecimans, which is Latin for English word ‘Fourteeners’.  In England there is another word for this that is still in use today and it is ‘fortnight’. Therefore, Quartodecimans could also be called ‘fortnighters’.  The word originates from the Teutons of Jutland who counted nights and called a grouping of 14 nights ‘fortnight’.  The Teutons were Germanic people that originated from the tribe of Judah.  In German the word for ‘fortnight’ is ‘vierzehntage’ and in Dutch it is ‘veertien dagen’.  It is quite interesting that the word ‘fortnight’ is still in use in places where the Israelites originally migrated to.

The Early Congregations of Jerusalem and Asia Minor were taught directly by Yahshua’s Apostles to follow biblical law and celebrate Passover on the 14th of Abib and they did not want to comply with Rome’s law for celebrating Easter.  Ever since these early congregations, there has always been a remnant of Yahweh’s followers who insist on following his biblical law for celebrating Passover. 

Quartodecimans Brief History

By 117AD, the Roman Empire was in control of most of the white Christian populations, therefore the Romans were able mandate their religious doctrine.

In about 193 AD , Pope Victor I became against bishop Polycarp of Smyra for celebrating Yahshua’s Passover on the fourteenth of Abib.  This pope wanted Polycarp and his followers to celebrate Easter on the Sunday following the new moon after the Spring Equinox.  This was known as the first Quartodecimans Controversy which later started being called the Easter Controversy.   Below is a part of a letter that the bishop of Asia  wrote to Victor and the Church of Rome: 

But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him:
We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate.  He fell asleep at Ephesus.
And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna.
Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead?
All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven.
I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.’”

The attendees of the Church at Alexandria in Egypt, who used the Coptic solar calendar, were also Fourteeners.  According to tradition, the Church of Alexandria was founded by Mark the Evangelist in 42AD and he taught them to celebrate Passover on the 14th of Abib.  This is the same Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark.

After Bishop Polycarp and the Church of Alexandria the Fourteener biblical tradition continued.  Bishop Irenaeus (d. 202AD) of Lugdunum in Gaul (current day Lyon, France) and his followers were Fourteeners.

The Gaelic kingdom of Dal Riata at Iona (present day west Scotland) from 563 to about 715AD, practiced Celtic Christianity and a Gaelic solar calendar, were also Fourteeners. Since they were never part of Rome they were allowed to follow the biblical date for Passover.

The attendees of the St. Helena Church in Austerfield, England were also Fourteeners.  The church was built in 1080AD, however, they have a diagram above the south porch entrance that dates back to 702AD.  According to Revd. Edward Dunnicliffe this diagram relates to the time of the Synod of Austerfield and the calculation of Easter Day.  A Synod was held in Austerfield in order to come to an agreement on when Easter was to be celebrated.  The meeting was actually about the St. Helena church attendees and others in England who were observing Passover on the 14th of Abib and the Church of Rome wanted them to celebrate Easter using their calculation. Easter is actually the celebration of Jesus' resurrection which is 3 days after Passover.   This diagram was created to show their tympanum over the serpent beast or dragon and indicated that they would still be using the solar calendar and observing Passover on the 14th.  To understand how this diagram works, please see this page.

 Unfortunately by about 800AD, the Roman Catholic Church won and Easter started being celebrated on Sunday throughout Europe, Asia Minor and Alexandria. 

William Bradford, who was a Mayflower Pilgrim, was raised at this St. Helena Church and I’m sure he knew that this diagram reflected solar henge showing the date Passover was to be celebrated.  The Mayflower Pilgrims were separatist, meaning they wanted to separate themselves from the Church of England and they wanted to follow the bible instructions on all matters of life.  Plus they did not want to lose their cultural identity; therefore, they ultimately separated themselves by relocating to America in 1620.  In America the Mayflower Pilgrims united with the Puritan movement when they arrived and they did not celebrate Easter.  The Puritans wanted to purify the church from all Roman Catholic practices, like the Roman Easter celebration.  History does prove that the Mayflower Pilgrims celebrated the first two feasts of the Exodus, therefore they were Fourteeners.  They did consider themselves the children of Israel.  The early Puritan colonist did write a prayer about the resurrection of Yahshua.

Originally the Catholics were not allowed into the American colonies, however, later when they were allowed in they brought their Roman Catholic holidays with them.  By the 1800s America started celebrating Easter.

The Biblical Passover Date

The bible reflects that Passover is on the 14th day of Abib and it is to be celebrated on the selfsame day each year.  Selfsame is translated from the Hebrew word 6106 ‘estem’ meaning bone, substance or self.
Lev 23:4 "These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations [assemblies], which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the Lord's Passover.
Deu 16:1 “Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the Lord your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the Lord will choose, to make his name dwell there.
Exodus 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day [H6106 etsem] have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day [H6106 etsem].

Today the Quartodecimans Controversy continues since we now have four different methods for determining when Passover is to be observed, as described below and shown on the table below:

1.       The Catholic Church Easter celebration, in green, is celebrated the Sunday after the first new moon that occurs after the spring equinox.  This is actually the celebration of Jesus' resurrection that should be observed 3 days after Passover since Christ was crucified on Passover.
2.       The Jewish Passover tradition, in blue, is celebrated on the 14th day of Nissan according to their lunar calendar. Nissan starts on the new moon closest to the spring equinox.
3.       The Worlds Last Chance Passover, in purple, is celebrated the 14th day of the first month according to their lunar calendar.   These dates were based on the new moons in Kentucky. 

4.       The Christian or Biblical Quartodecimans Passover observers, in orange, that celebrate on the 14th day of Abib according to the solar calendar of Enoch, Jubilees the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Coptic Solar Calendar, etc .  Abib starts on the spring equinox.  The Passover feast is actually on the same day each year, however, a leap year day is required every four years to keep the calendar in sync with the solar year.  This is the only calendar that celebrates Passover on Abib 14 and on the selfsame day each year.   The word ‘year’ is a solar reference to the exact position of the earth in its rotation around the sun.  Therefore the earth should be in exactly the same place, in its orbit around the sun, each Passover.  


The Roman Empire was brutal towards true Christians including those who celebrated Passover on the 14th of Abib.  There were many Christian persecutions and executions during that time including Polycarp who was a Fourteener.  Due to this many Christians betrayed their faith and began conforming to the Roman Catholic Church doctrine.  This Easter calculation was then allowed to spread, throughout the white Christian nations, to the point now when a Christian states they celebrate Passover on Abib 14 that is seen as foreign by fellow white Christians.  Let’s began to celebrate Passover again like the original Fourteeners did in obedience to Yahweh.  Let’s remember what Yahshua told us:

John 15: 18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

More Information:

Encyclopedia of Catholic History by Bunson 2004 The Quartodecimans Passover and the calendar disagreement (Alexandrian solar calendar).

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