Saturday, June 20, 2015


Popes since the Second Vatican Council have wanted to find either a fixed date for Easter or a common way to determine the date of Easter that would unite the East and West. Eastern Orthodoxy uses the Julian Calendar (older than  the Gregorian Calendar) to determine the date of Easter. Usually it causes Easter to be a week later or earlier, maybe even longer, for the Orthodox compared to the rest of Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant.

This is what Pope Francis is recommending:

Speaking to a global gathering of priests, Pope Francis signaled an openness to changing the date of Easter in the West so that all Christians around the world could celebrate the feast on the same day.

The Pope on June 12 said “we have to come to an agreement” for a common date on Easter.  

His comments came in remarks to the World Retreat of Priests at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome. The event drew priests from five continents.

Noting jokingly that Christians could say to one another: “When did Christ rise from the dead? My Christ rose today, and yours next week,” he said that this disunity is a scandal.

The Orthodox churches normally celebrate Easter a week after the Catholics. Some Orthodox leaders have also reflected on the dating of the Christian holy day. In May, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II wrote to the papal nuncio in Egypt suggesting a common date for Easter.

Historian Lucetta Scaraffia, writing in the Vatican daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, said the Pope is offering this initiative to change the date of Easter “as a gift of unity with the other Christian churches.”
I think the date of Easter is more ideological for Eastern Orthodoxy and thus the West would have to follow their date for it and the means to calculate it. It would be easy for the pope, any pope, to simply say we're following the Eastern Orthodox way to calculate Easter and from hence forth we will celebrate it on the same day.

But then what about the Protestants who glory in denominational differences? We might get some Episcopalians to join us with the Orthodox, but other groups of Episcopalians will say NO!

Can you imagine "Mary, Weeping Over the Catholic Church Very Unreformed  Primitive Baptist Church" going along with the anti-Christ pope in Rome (the reason Mary is weeping) and changing the way Easter is calculated (although they accept, oddly enough, the Gregorian Calendar!)?

So when the Pope goes along with the Orthodox on Easter's date, what will happen in Macon, Georgia? The small Catholic minority will be in sync with the even smaller, miniscule Orthodox community here in Macon. We'll celebrate Easter together (but have no real ecumenical partnership because they don't want it) and the rest of the Christians in Macon, forming about 99% of the Christian population will celebrate it using the Catholic Gregorian Calendar. How weird will that be?


Angry Augustinian said...

It does not matter when Christ rose, only that he did so. Perhaps we should be more concerned about getting that message across than about changing a holiday.

Unknown said...

The Coptic Pope isn't Orthodox—he's Miaphysite. Well... I am too... a little.

Anyway, as I understand it, the Gregorian date is actually calculated correctly. The whole impetus behind the reform of the Julian calendar was because Easter kept being moved later and later into the year. Right now, with the exception of Easter, we use a weird so-called 'Revised Julian Calendar'... it's a stupid calendar (the Russians use the old Julian calendar, as do a couple other jurisdictions).

Which, actually, an Orthdox-Catholic celebration of the Paschal service wouldn't work all too well. We start with Mesonyktikon (the midnight office), and then have a procession, and then have the Divine Liturgy. The whole affair begins before midnight and finishes sometime around 4 AM. And then we get and go back to the church for Vespers at 10 AM. And then we pig out lol.

Rood Screen said...

The Primitive Baptists, who are non-liturgical, do not observe a liturgical calendar of any kind.

As for Protestant communities, none of them have the Holy Mass, and this absence limits their ability to celebrate Easter. It's just easier to celebrate the Resurrection when you have the Resurrected Body of Christ in your midst.

That said, I suspect that some of the mainline Protestant communities will go along with the proposed new date, because they like change.

Anonymous said...

Again I have to ask. Why does the Roman Church always have to modify, change, alter, discard, compromise with everybody all the time. Why don't the Orthodox change their date? Because they wouldn't ever consider changing or altering one thing that they teach, believe or practice. Yet we have to give up everything. And the majority of the Protestants aren't going to change anyway. They could care less what the pope says.

And aren't there more important things for Francis to focus on? The liturgy is in shambles. Catholic education is a disaster. The priesthood needs major major attention. Religious life has crumbled. But Francis has time to worry about the date of Easter. See this is why I believe the Church is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit because it is plain to see that the shepherds of the Church don't live in reality and aren't really the brightest and the best. God I can't wait for either the Muslims to take over or the Second Coming. I'm ready for either. Prison or death, I'm ready that would be better than enduring this nonsense.

Supertradmum said...

Those who live in the East and in Eastern Europe need our attention. Americans get so self-absorbed in their own local evils, which could be solved if Catholics here actually lived their Faith, that they forget that there is a huge world outside our boundaries which observes Easter a week later than we do.

The Russian Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox, and all the other groups are our own brothers and sisters in Christ and indeed, like any family should act, deserve great attention.

This is very important-go travel a bit and see. I am sure the Holy Spirit wants more unity and honestly, as calendars are man-made, I do not care which date we choose. Unity among Christian who believe in the same Christ and have many of the same beliefs could be very well moved. And, in my mind, what a sign to the world of unity in the face of the Moslems, who are killing many Orthodox and other separated brethren in Africa and the Middle East.

Angry Augustinian said...

Um…Dialogue, Catholics criticizing prots because they like change is like a tree accusing a mountain of having altitude.

Rood Screen said...


Couldn't you be spreading the Gospel or feeding the hungry right now, instead of commenting on a blog?

The Holy Father is acting in accordance with the possibility proposed by Vatican II: "The Sacred Council would not object if the feast of Easter were assigned to a particular Sunday of the Gregorian Calendar, provided that those whom it may concern, especially the brethren who are not in communion with the Apostolic See, give their assent".

Angry Augustinian said...

Anonymous, what if in prison or after death you have to endure this nonsense?

Anonymous said...


Couldn't you be spreading the Gospel or feeding the hungry right now, instead of commenting on a blog? "

Couldn't you be spreading the Gospel or feeding the hungry right now, instead of commenting on a blog yourself?

And the entire reason Pope John called the council was so that the Church could better proclaim and teach the Faith? How is that going? We have an entire country just turn it's back on Christ in Ireland and Francis has said NOTHING. Forget about what a council said for a moment. Our Lord said to Peter "you are to strengthen your brethren in the Faith". How did Francis strengthen the faith of Catholics in Ireland. I guess moving the date of Easter is more important than upholding the sacrament of marriage.

Now back to the Vatican Council. Who are you kidding. The first document of that council was on the liturgy. It stated that Gregorion Chant is to hold pride of place as a treasure of the Church. When is the last time you heard chant at a parish? Forget that. When was the last time you heard a catholic hymn at Mass? It also said the laity is to be able to respond in Latin to all the parts of the mass that pertain to them. How is that one going. It also says that " no one, not even a priest may add, remove or change anything on the liturgy of their own accord". Is Francis upholding that one. And the list goes on for the liturgy.

But I digress. We now have entire bishops conferences calling for recognition of sodomite unions. But I guess changing the date of Easter is more important than upholding the sacrament of marriage. We are having a synod to discuss whether sacraligeous communions should be permitted. As if they aren't happening all the time in every regular novus ordo parish. Empty confession lines but lots of people in flip flops holding out their hands every Sunday. But I guess changing Easter is more important than helping people to save their souls by telling adultrey is bad and so is receiving communion in mortal sin and you are going to hell because of it. But no. We have to have mercy. Oh well time to go feed some poor people. Not that we should be obcessive about the poor. I mean the trees need attention too.

George said...

Here are two ways to determine Easter which are simple (without considering calendar differences)

West - the first Sunday after the first Full moon following the Vernal Equinox.

East - the first Sunday after the first Full moon following the Vernal Equinox and additionally, following Passover.

Andrew said...

I agree the lack of unity is often a scandal especially in certain countries and I think it would be an act of mercy and humility to change the date for the sake of unity with the East who are closer to us in apostolic succession and faith perhaps if much more often further from us geographically than protestants.
Christ is pretty clear about the importance of unity in the scriptures and it is serious. Christ sacrificed for unity with us, and as a married couple my wife and I both sacrifice for unity with each other.
It is often a temptation for me to envy the Orthodox much more firm and steadfast traditions in many areas in this age of the Latin rite where too often tradition is seen as some kind of enemy, but overall I think the organic development within the Catholic Church is a strength over rigidity when done properly. Yes we must hold on to what is true with all strength, but many of the man made things are made to serve us and not us them and shouldn't be stumbling blocks and scandals, the same way Jesus tells us the Sabbath is made for us and not the other way around.
However, according to Eusebius the debate about Easter seems to have been present almost at the beginning, with St. Polycarp the disciple of St. John traveling to Rome to debate the Pope. The pope seems not to have been able to persuade him to change the tradition that St. John had handed on to Polycarp and they parted in unity and peace although different in practice.
I like the idea of unity of Easter, but in my neck of the woods in Eastern Canada there is too much focus on us all doing the same things at Mass to the point where intentionally or unintentionally I feel like the focus is more on Christ being important or somehow present because of our community rather than our community being at Mass because of Christ being true and present. I think the physical signs of unity should serve and promote unity in the heart and soul, not be our cruel master to the detriment of everyone. So however we go about unity with any of our brothers or sisters separated or not we need to make sure the focus is on unity in the heart of Christ with Christ and then with each other.
Unity of Easter really would be a great way to be true disciples of Christ in deed and reach out to the East and could very well promote that unity of heart in Christ. It really mirrors Christ sacrifice on the cross for our own good. However even if we can't have Easter together, there is a 2000 year tradition of being able to be united and different too that we need to get back to recognizing and living.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, what if in prison or after death you have to endure this nonsense?"

That's a stupid comment. And it's not the least bit clever. If you can't say something serious at least it should be clever. Try harder next time. Good feed some poor people.

Angry Augustinian said...


Rood Screen said...


Please calm down and don't get hysterical. There's plenty of room in the Church for all of us. As a woman, you should understand that.

Angry Augustinian said...

Is Anonymous a woman? I thought it was a guy acting like a woman. Dang...

Anonymous said...

"Is Anonymous a woman? I thought it was a guy acting like a woman. Dang..."

That's rich coming from an Augustinian. And still not clever just crude.

Angry Augustinian said...

If they change the date of Easter, will the Easter Bunny still come?

Angry Augustinian said...

Yep, its a woman…LOL!

Unknown said...

Don't you know the Easter Bunny is a Nestorian?

John Nolan said...

The Julian calendar is 13 days out of sync. astronomically and will be 14 days out next century because 2100 will be counted as a leap year. It makes no sense to revert to it regarding Easter. Are you going to have 7 January as Christmas Day? The Ukrainian Church has not adopted the Gregorian calendar despite having been reunited with Rome for over 400 years. Britain didn't switch until 1752 and had to lose 11 days. This is why the financial year begins on 5 April, 11 days after Lady Day which used to be the start of the new year.

Vatican II toyed with the idea of making Easter a fixed rather than a moveable feast (well, as fixed as it can be given that it must be a Sunday). There was, and still is, pressure from secular governments to do this, but the Orthodox would never run with it. The calculation of the date of Easter (the Celtic Church came into line with Rome and Alexandria at the Synod of Whitby in AD 664) is not the problem; the problem is that many in the East cling, for liturgical purposes, to a hopelessly inaccurate calendar. Originally this was to show their contempt for the pope; nowadays it is simply custom.

Anonymous said...

He has time to worry about the rain forest and changing Easter. He has time to destroy the Franciscans of the Immaculate. But he has no time to reform Catholic education or the clergy.

Unknown said...

John Nolan,

That's why the 'Revised Julian Calendar' was adopted: it dropped those days and it essentially matches the Gregorian Calendar (until like 2700 or something), with the exception of Easter; however, because the date of Easter affects a large part of the Church calendar, it makes a complicated headache.

I personally hope for the Church calendar to revert to the Julian. The Orthodox Council next year is supposed to deal with it (hopefully once and for all).

Angry Augustinian said...

Flavius, Well, I knew the Easter Bunny had a "nest." He used to bring me those big chocolate eggs with fruit and nuts in them. Man, those were good!

Unknown said...

Well, if you prefer your dual-natured eggs, I guess I can't stop you. I prefer mine to be of a unified poached/hollandaised nature.

Angry Augustinian said...

Poached/Hollandaise is very good…like Eggs Benedict….Then, there are Eggs Francis…of undetermined firmness and scrambled.

John Nolan said...

Flavius, why can't the Eastern Churches simply adopt the Gregorian calendar? What is so special and meaningful about Julius Caesar's calendar? It was certainly an improvement on the existing Roman calendar but has in turn been superseded. The fact is that Protestants took some time to accept a calendar authorized by a pope of Rome, and the Orthodox (who are more hostile to Catholics than Protestants are) still can't accept it on account of its provenance despite the fact that it is astronomically correct.

I regret the schism and think there were faults on both sides. But the Caesaro-Papalism of the Greek Church, whether Caesar was the Byzantine Emperor or the Czar of all the Russias is its Achilles heel. The Iconoclasm of the eighth and ninth centuries was imposed on the Church by the secular state. Rome remained orthodox while the Greek Church was severely compromised. The Orthodox are very reticent on this issue, and need to come to terms with their own history.

Unknown said...

Mr. Nolan[I apologise for the length, I've had to split it into 2 posts], I'm not sure it really matters which calendar is used—which is exactly the point. Even if the secular world is on 7 January, the Church is still on 25 December. The fact is, the daily cycle of services isn't affected by whether or not the calendar is astronomically correct*.

To be honest, the 'why don't you simply adopt the Gregorian calendar' sounds a little like the question liberals in the Latin Church asked 50 years ago: 'why don't we simply adopt the vernacular?'**. You and I both know that 'why not' isn't always the best reason haha.

On a practical level, however, the growth of the Orthodox Church in the West will likely mean the re-adoption of the Julian Calendar, if only because it essentially separates feasts like Nativity and Pascha from their secular counterparts of 'Christmas' and 'Easter' (yes, I know they're synonymous, but we tend to use the former names for the religious celebration, and the latter for secular observations). With the current calendar, it forces us to choose between being with family or going to church. The services are too long to accommodate both reasonably. For those of us who are the only Orthodox in our families, it puts us in a difficult situation. On the one hand, God should come first, but in an age where the family is under attack, the Church is cautious to encourage its member to forgo the family. Plus, Orthodox ecclesial culture is different—the parish (which are generally small, even in Eastern Europe) is seen as a family of sorts, and the Julian calendar helps facilitate this.

For example, after Paschal Vespers this year (Divine Liturgy having been celebrated at midnight), my parish had a large picnic at one of the parishioner's home.

*I'll note: if one proceeds to an extreme time into the future on the Julian calendar (like thiry thousand years) one finds Pascha as being celebrated in the Winter. That, quite possibly, is the only potential drawback.

**The comparison isn't totally perfect, I know. Latin has a range of subtlety English doesn't have. The Latin sentences occidi feles ac filios and occidi feles et filios both translate the same in English, but are not directly equal in Latin.

Unknown said...

Part 2:

I'll be flippant for minute: I didn't know Greece was ruled by a Russian Tsar. Now, more seriously, if Caesaro-Papalism invalidates Orthodox claims, then does it also invalidate the Papacy of Gregory the Great who asked the Roman Emperor to not approve his election? Clearly he thought the Emperor had some authority in the matter, or he wouldn't have asked. If the Roman Emperor had zero authority in regards to Church matters... why did were first four ecumenical councils convoked by Emperors? Are they also invalid?

I'm fairly certain Iconoclasm died out a long time ago. And, shouldn't the Church have disappeared when the monarchs did, if Caesaro-papalism were such an integral part of Orthodoxy? I'll grant that modern nations in Eastern Europe attach a certain privileged legal status to the Church, but so do some nations with the Catholic Church, and in any event it's hardly comparable to Byzantine control of the see of Constantinople.

Look, I freely admit that there is the smallest possibility when I die I will discover myself to be wrong. Until such a time, however, it is my duty to prepare myself by repentance and following Christ's examples and teachings to the best of my ability, so that at my judgement I may not be found wanting. Orthodoxy provides a simple, child-like faith that, beyond his words and the Creed, require no other knowledge or belief. Post-V2 Catholicism has, despite it's dumbed down liturgy—both Mass and Office—made it extremely difficult for someone like me, someone who spent years stuck in a nihilistic atheism, to simply believe without worrying about particulars.

An example? Take the Catechism: it takes Christ's words 'Give unto Caesar' and then extends it to mean one must vote and participate in the political arena, in order to advance the Church's place and teachings in a public manner. Pater Ignotus responded in the affirmative that not voting is a sin. Naturally, the Catechism is silent on one important thing: what if the political system of a nation is not good (or worse, evil)? Do I continue to support such a system? Or, do I avoid implicitly enabling an evil system?

This isn't the only thing. The recent encyclical is another. The Orthodox Church, however, has no catechism demanding this and that with the subtle warning of sin. Yes, our leaders give guidance about voting and such, but never do they extend an example in the Gospels—which was written in a world where Caesar was not elected—to mean one commits a sin by not voting. They do not attach mortal-status to social issues like the environment.

Here, I do note that many Catholics are not happy about this either, but, as comments on this blog show, this matter is not cut and dry. Both sides have their arguments proving either 'prudential judgement' or 'Papal condemnation=sin'. This is what I mean by 'particulars'. I've just spent years in the desert. I want to rest and drink water, not chase the water bottle in the hope I might get something.

Anonymous said...

So I gather, Father, from your comments about the local Orthodox Church not wanting an ecumenical partnership, that relations between their parish and yours are not warm and fuzzy? Well, up here in Atlanta, since 2008, Atlanta's Catholic bishop and the local Green Orthodox bishop (or metropolis/metropolitan) have met twice a year for an "ecumenical gathering", the last one about two months ago at our Cathedral of Christ the King. "Gathering", not "service" as they called it---of course the creed could not be said at the "gathering" because of the Filioque, and both bishops were in "choir dress", no miter, no cope.

Exactly what would be your terms for reunion of the two churches, if you were in such negotiations?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Re: "...the creed could not be said at the "gathering" because of the Filioque..."

From: "The Filioque: A Church Dividing Issue?: An Agreed Statement" 25 October 2003

"Several other events in recent decades point to a greater willingness on the part of Rome to recognize the normative character of the original creed of Constantinople. When Patriarch Dimitrios I visited Rome on December 7, 1987, and again during the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew I to Rome in June 1995, both patriarchs attended a Eucharist celebrated by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica. On both occasions the Pope and Patriarch proclaimed the Creed in Greek (i.e., without the Filioque). Pope John Paul II and Romanian Patriarch Teoctist did the same in Romanian at a papal Mass in Rome on October 13, 2002. The document Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on August 6, 2000, begins its theological considerations on the Church’s central teaching with the text of the creed of 381, again without the addition of the Filioque. While no interpretation of these uses of the Creed was offered, these developments suggest a new awareness on the Catholic side of the unique character of the original Greek text of the Creed as the most authentic formulation of the faith that unifies Eastern and Western Christianity."

Lefebvrian said...

For the Orthodox, to believe the filioque is heretical.

For Roman Catholics, not to believe the filioque is heretical.

Seems like a rather major issue to me. But, I agree this is not "a Church dividing issue." There is only One Church -- the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church -- which the Orthodox are outside of due to their schism and heresy.

John Nolan said...

Flavius, Caesaro-Papalism does not invalidate Greek claims. However, when the Byzantine emperors ordered the Greek Church to embrace the iconoclastic heresy the bishops meekly complied. The western emperor (Charles the Great or St Charlemagne) did not dictate to the pope on religious matters, in fact he did his utmost to ensure that the liturgy at Aachen conformed to what obtained in Rome.

Gregory VII's claims of jurisdiction over temporal rulers was over-ambitious; in fact the Catholic Church maintained a symbiotic relationship with the temporal power which was extraordinarily successful.

I don't think the filioque is that important. The Ukrainian Church (which re-united with Rome in 1598) puts it in parentheses. Anglicans sometimes leave it out, but although they claim to be part of the Latin Church they are a law unto themselves.

The fact remains that the greatest obstacle to unity is the Orthodox contention that the Catholic Church is not that of Christ, that her sacraments (including Baptism) are invalid, and that she is not only schismatic but heretical. Mahometans are less intransigent.

Unknown said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure which parish he's talking about (if one at at all). There's two here in Macon.

Angry Augustinian said...

Anonymous…you said "Green Orthodox Church." I cannot think of a more wonderful Freudian slip given the recent encyclical. Maybe we should start one. I'll count the dolphins, you hug the trees.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

If the Orthodox are "outside" the Church (they are not, but for purposes of discussion...) then the Body of Christ, which is the Church, is divided.

The One Church includes those Catholic who are not "Roman" or Latin. The Eastern Rites are as Catholic as we Romans.

Lefebvrian said...

The Orthodox reject the filioque, papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, and Purgatory, among other things. Therefore, they are heretics, and they are outside the Church.

Anyway, the Orthodox don't want to be part of the Roman Catholic Church. They detest the "sister Churches" idea of Pope John Paul II. So, to act as if they're part of the Church is to reject what they believe about ecclesiology. Since you're such a great ecumenist, you should respect their wish not to be lumped into our Church unilaterally.

As for the unity of the Church, in the Creed, we say that the Church is "One." If it were divided, it would not be one, which means it wouldn't be the Church. In other words, unity is a Mark of the Church. If the Church is not united, it's not the Church, in the same way that if it weren't "apostolic" or "holy" or "catholic," it wouldn't be the Church.

... the more you know ...

The Eastern Catholics are "Roman" in the sense that they are subordinate to the Roman Pontiff. Every Catholic is Roman, as the Church has always taught.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The desire for organic unity is not based on what one denomination wants or prefers. It is based on the nature of the Church; the Church is one because of her founder (CCC 813).

The Church is one, but not organically, visibly so.

The Orthodox are not outside the Church - they are sister Churches, as the Church teaches. Our union with them is real, but imperfect.

The Eastern Rites are not "subordinate" to the Roman Pontiff, they are subject to him. They are Eastern Catholics, not Roman Catholics, as the Church teaches.

Unknown said...

Mr Nolan,

I would agree if it were still happening. But it isn't. No Orthodox monarch (I don't think any exist anymore) currently claims any authority over the Church. Which is the point. The Church isn't going to retroactively condemn something that no longer holds any relevance.

Will the Vatican be condemning Donatism? It never has; it was only condemned as heresy by a secular authority (who wasn't even an emperor). Of course the Vatican won't, as the issue is no longer relevant... yet. [As an aside, I've noticed a very, very light shade of donatism amongst certain so-called traditionalists, so the issue may well surface in the future].

I agree, we are intransigent. But so is Rome whenever Protestant groups seek communion with Rome whilst denying the reality of the Eucharist. The Protestant response to rejection is 'Why can't you just let us keep our doctrines?' and, 'Why are you so inflexible?'

You will also find that the Church views schismatic as being heretical—the terms are not separate. Those who believe exactly what the Church teaches are Orthodox, and those who disagree are outside the Church (and will stay there). The distinction between the two is a Latin feature.

Of course, the whole schismatic/heretic being-the-same thing isn't solely ours, as Lefebvrian's lets us know.

Anonymous said...

Well, we see why ecumenical meetings don't get very far. Catholics call Orthodox heretics, and vice versa. Like a modern-day Berlin Wall. or the never-ending debate on the meaning of the Confederate flag, now being played out in South Carolina.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon - Only Catholics of a certain mindset call the Orthodox "heretics." I suspect the same is true in the other direction.

Some people find security in hurling names at those with whom they disagree. At a certain point in the process of maturing, most people come to realize that that behavior isn't exactly helpful to anyone.

Unknown said...

Anon - Only Catholics of a certain mindset call the Orthodox "heretics." I suspect the same is true in the other direction.

Not quite (I swear, I'm not disagreeing just because I want to disagree with you—sometimes I worry it seems like that). The more usual term is 'schismatic', but since the two are equivalent as far as the Church is concerned, there's not much of a difference. Mainstream Orthodox publications have no problem calling any non-Orthodox heretics, although they tend to originate from publishers affiliated with the Russians. Others (Greek) tend to treat it more gingerly. However, except for a few books, the issue never really comes up; aside from texts like Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, most Orthodox books are more concerned with Orthodoxy, and not the beliefs and attitudes of Catholics, Protestants, or Miaphysites.

There is a difference, one supposes, between a Catholic ('of a certain mindset') using the word 'heretic' and an Orthodox using the same word. The word in Orthodox writings is a more neutral word than when used in Catholic contexts. To us, it merely means 'not Orthodox', but for a certain mindset within Catholicism, 'heretic' is synonymous with 'damned'. I suspect this is one reason it's not used, because it has negative connotations in the West that don't exist in the East.