Discover Orthodox Christianity

 Each link below will take you to a series of articles pertaining to the selected topic.  These are authored by various people .  This series is hosted on the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese website.

  • Feasts and Fasts
    The Cycle of the Christian Year
    (Contains Information about
    Fasting and the Season of Lent)

The Lenten Season

Fr. Joseph Longofono, Lent, 2013, Ss. Peter and Paul, Topeka, KS.

Once again, we continue our journey through Great Lent, on the Road to the heavenly gates of the Kingdom, in the Feast of Feasts: PASCHA! It is a journey that only you can take for yourself, for the reward you receive is based solely on the effort you put into it. Therefore, we encourage you to make the following a part of your daily and weekly experience as we continue through this Lenten season:

  1. DAILY PRAYER: Please remember your morning and evening prayers, including prayers for our bishops, our clergy and their families, your Parish Council and all parishioners, the sick and suffering, those who hate us and those who love us, those who are kind to us and minister to us, and all those in need of God’s mercy, and especially St. Ephraim’s Prayer.

  2. THE WORD OF GOD: When you come to pray, take 10 minutes and read the Word of the Lord. You can start with a few chapters each day from the Psalms, the Proverbs, the Book of Job, or the Gospel according to St. Luke. But whatever it is, READ IT, and ask questions on those areas you find difficult.

  3. THE WEEKDAY SERVICES: GOD’S GIFT OF LIFE TO YOU! 

- Presanctified Liturgy, Wednesday evening at 5:30 pm, a uniquely peaceful time of prayers, followed by a potluck Lenten meal in the church basement.

- Akathist (Madayeh) Service, Friday evening at 6:00pm, a prayer service of supplication to the Virgin Mary.

- Ninth Hour and Great Vespers, Saturday evening, 5:45 pm, in preparation for:

- Orthros and Divine Liturgy, Sunday morning 9:00 am

- Holy Week Services (Please see Weekly Bulletins and Web Site Calendar Page for the lastest information) 

The First Sunday of Lent - Sunday Of Orthodoxy

From the "Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion", HDM Press.

Saints Peter and Paul Bulletin, March 16, 2003

On this day, the first Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate the restoration of the holy and venerable icons by the ever-memorable rulers of Constantinople, the Emperor Michael and his mother, the Empress Theodora, during the patriarchate of St. Methodius the Confessor.

It was with God’s permission that when St. Germanos (comm. May 12) had taken up the rudder of the Church, Leo the Isaurian (717-41) seized the scepter of the empire after having been a mule driver and manual laborer.  The Patriarch was summoned immediately to hear the Emperor say, “In my opinion, Bishop, the holy images [icons] are no different from idols; therefore, I command that they be removed from among us as soon as possible.  If it should be the case that they are the true forms of the saints, however, then at least see that they be hung up high so that we, who are stained by sin, may not soil them with our kisses.”

The Second Sunday of Lent - St. Gregory Palamas

From the "Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion", HDM Press.

Saints Peter and Paul Bulletin, March 23, 2003

On this Sunday...we celebrate the memory of our Father among the saints, Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica and Wonder-worker. Our holy father Gregory was born in the imperial city of Constantinople. Gregory’s father reposed while the saint was of a tender age; but his mother continued to rear him and his brothers and sisters in the law of the Lord, instructing them in the divine Scriptures and in the rules of good conduct. She arranged for them to be taught by learned teachers….

Gregory disdained everything worldly as a deceptive dream - and wishing to cleave to God, the well-spring of all wisdom - at the age of twelve resolved to take up the monastic life….In time, she came to rejoice in the Lord over Gregory’s desire and decided to follow him in embracing the monastic life; moreover, with God’s help, she persuaded all her other children to do likewise….After leaving his mother and sisters in a convent, he went with his brothers to the holy mountain of Athos where they took up their dwelling in one of the monasteries. He gave himself over in complete obedience to a wondrous and perfect holy man named Nicodemus...Under his guidance, Gregory advanced in the virtues, and because of this, the Virgin Theotokos deigned to appear to him, receiving him under her protection and promising to be his mediatress.

The Third Sunday of Lent - Sunday Of Orthodoxy

From the "Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion", HDM Press.

Saints Peter and Paul Bulletin, March 30, 2003

 

As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness, resentment, and depression. The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted. In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion - being humiliated in a shameful manner. The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.

As they who walk on a long and hard way and are bowed down by fatigue find great relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a leafy tree, so do we find comfort, refreshment, and rejuvenation under the Life-giving Cross, which our Fathers “planted” on this Sunday. Thus, we are fortified and enabled to continue our Lenten journey with a light step, rested and encouraged.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent - St. John Climacus

From the "Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion", HDM Press.

Saints Peter and Paul Bulletin, April 6, 2003

On this day, the fourth Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate our venerable Father among the saints, St. John of Sinai, the author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

No one knows the birthplace or parentage of our venerable Father John of Sinai. In his youth, at the age of sixteen, he came to the wilderness of Sinai and dwelt under the guidance of Abba Martyrius. When Abba Martyrius tonsured our venerable Father John at the age of twenty, he took him and went to that pillar of the wilderness, Abba John the Sabbaite in the wilderness of Gouda where he had with him his disciple Stephen the Cappadocian. When the Sabbaite elder saw them, he arose and took water, poured it into a small basin, washed the feet of the disciple (the young John) and kissed his hand; but did not wash the feet of Abba Martyrius his superior. Abba Stephen was scandalized by the situation. After the departure of Abba Martyrius and his disciple, Abba John noticed that his own disciple was greatly perplexed and said to him, “Why are you so troubled? Believe me, I do not know who the boy is, but today I received the abbot of Sinai and washed his feet.” After forty years, he did indeed become the abbot according to the prophecy of the elder.

2014 Lenten Fasting Guidelines

Here are the fasting guidelines for the coming 2014 Lenten season.  The Church Calendar has also been updated with the following dates:

  • Prodigal Son Sunday - February 16:  We observe the usual fasting discipline during the week following.
  • Judgment (or Meatfare) - February 23:  We fast from flesh-meats during the week following, but dairy, fish, wine and oil are permitted on all days.
  • Forgiveness (or Cheesefare) Sunday - March 2:  The last day for dairy fish, wine and oil -- except as permitted by the Typikon.
  • Pure Monday (Start of the Great Fast) - March 3:  We observe the usual fasting discipline during this fast -- wine and oil are permitted on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Thursday of the Great Canon - April 3: Thursday of the 5th Week of the Great Fast -- wine and oil are permitted.
  • Feast of the Annunciation - March 25:  Thursday of the 4th Week of the Great Fast -- fish, wine and oil are permitted.
  • Lazarus Saturday - April 12:  Wine and oil are permitted.
  • Palm Sunday - April 13:  Fish, wine and oil are permitted.
  • Great and Holy Saturday - April 19:  We fast from oil on this Saturday, but wine is permitted.
  • Holy Pascha - April 20:  Tthe week following known as "Bright" or "New Week" is fast-free.

Have a blessed Lenten season and a glorious Pascha!!

Let Us Joyfully Begin Our Salvation

Let us joyfully begin the all-hallowed season of abstinence; and let us shine with the bright radiance of the holy commandments of Chist our God, with the brightness of love and the splendour of prayer, with the purity of holiness and the strength of good courage.  So, clothed in raiment of light, let us hasten to the Holy Resurrection on the third day, that shines upon the world with the glory of eternal life ...

----

Come, O you people, and today let us accept the Grace of the Fast as a gift from God and as a time for repentance, in which we may find mercy with the Savior.  The time for combat is at hand and has begun already; let all of us set forth eagerly upon the course of the Fast, offering our virtues as gifts to the Lord.

By Theodore.  Lenten Triodion.  Matins for Monday of the First Week of Lent.  B#16, p. 190.

Prayer Knocks, Fasting Obtains, Mercy Receives

St. Peter Chrysologus, Archbishop of Ravenna (+450)

Saints Peter and Paul Bulletin, March 30, 2003

There are three things, my brethren, by which Faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting, and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy, and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.

Fasting is the soul of prayer; mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself....Therefore, let prayer, mercy, and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor.

...Fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to the earth….When you fast, if your mercy is thin your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn….Give to the poor and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others.

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