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The term "Quartodecimans" refers to those Christian communities in the early Church which celebrated Easter on the 14th of Nisan (die quarta decima ), the day of the Jewish Passover (Ex 12.6). Prevalent in Asia Minor and Syria in the second century, Quartodecimans emphasized the death of Christ, the true Paschal victim (Jn 18.28, 19.42), while Roman practice emphasized the observance of Sunday as the day of the Resurrection. Implicit in these two positions is the disputed chronology of Holy Week.

Roman efforts to induce the Quartodecimans to abandon their practice were unsuccessful. On a visit to Rome (c. 155), St. polycarp of smyrna amicably discussed the question with Pope anicetus without, however, reaching agreement. Pope victor (189198) sought unity through a series of synods held in both East and West; all accepted the Roman practice except the Asiatic bishops. When Victor attempted coercion by excommunication, St. irenaeus of lyons intervened to restore peace (eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.2325). During the third century Quartodecimanism waned; it persisted in some Asiatic communities down to the fifth century.

See Also: easter controversy.

Bibliography: w. h. cadman, "The Christian Pascha and the Day of the Crucifixion: Nisan 14 or 15," Studia Patristica 5 (1962) 816. c. w. dugmore, "A Note on the Quartodecimans," Studia Patristica 4 (1961) 411421. m. richard, "La lettre de saint Irénée au pape Victor," Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der Älteren Kirche 56 no 34 (1966) 260282. c. c. richardson, "New Solution to the Quartodeciman Riddle," Journal of Theological Studies ns 24 (1973) 7484. l. sabourin, "Easter in the Early Church," Religious Studies Bulletin 2 No. 1 (1982) 2332. s.g. hall, "The origins of Easter," Studia Patristica 15:1 (1984) 554567.

[j. ford/eds.]

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