What is the Orthodox Lent?The Orthodox branch of Christianity has several periods of fasting, or lents, during the year. The strictest and longest lent of the year is the Great Lent, which is held for 40 days, ending on Easter. During this lent, people take the time to get ready for the feast of the Resurrection of Christ, which is held on Easter. Even though this is the strictest lent in Orthodox Christianity, it is not perceived as a time of self-sacrifice. Instead, people try to take joy in purifying themselves through fasting.
When is Orthodox Lent, when does Orthodox Lent start?Since the date when Easter is celebrated changes every year, the dates of the Great Lent also change every year so the Lent can start 40 days before Easter.
What are the limitations of the Great Orthodox Lent?We’ve mentioned previously that this lent is strict, but what are the limitations that people are expected to follow? The most prominent part of the lent is the fasting part - people are expected to give up all animal products, including meat, eggs and dairy. There are certain other limitations on different days of the fast and on some days, in turn, certain animal products are allowed.
During the Great Lent in Orthodox Christianity, the Eucharistic feast is not presented on weekdays to remind those who obey the feast about the separation of man from God. On the other hand, Holy Communion is presented each Friday and Wednesday evening during the 40 days of the Great Lent. The Communion is presented in the form of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which means that Host and wine served during this Communion have to have been blessed during a Eucharistic Liturgy held on previous days. As mentioned above, the Eucharistic feast is omitted on weekdays, but it is still held on Saturday and Sunday as a part of the Divine Liturgy.
Sundays of the Russian Orthodox Easter LentEach Sunday of the forty-day Great Lent has its own name and meaning. The first Sunday of the feast is called the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. On this day people celebrate the victory over the heresy of iconoclasm, which believed icons were graven images and, therefore, sinful. The second Sunday of the Great Orthodox Lent commemorates St. Gregory Palamas, who preached a way for humans to become divine by obeying lent, playing and through the grace of God. The next Sunday of the Russian Great Lent is all about Jesus Christ’s ordeal on the Cross and his suffering for our sins. The fourth Sunday of Lent celebrates St, John of the Ladder, an abbot who lived during the 6th century and the author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent, a work that discusses the problems a Christian faces in life and teaches to face them with hope. The last Sunday of Lent before Easter is dedicated to St. Mary, the repentant harlot. Her story teaches believers that they can become one with God through repentance no matter how terrible their past actions are.
|4Your guide to Russian Orthodox Lent|