Monday, March 7, 2011

The Great Holy Lent ( Τεσσαράκοντα)

The period of the great Lent before Easter is called by the Orthodox Church, Tessaracoste " Τεσσαράκοντα" which comes from the word forty (the 40 days of "fasting"). This Institute of the 40. days of Lent precedes the Resurrection of Christ.

The celebration of the Resurrection of Christ does not fall on the same date each year, but according to the determination of the position of the moon and spring equinox, which is based on the original setting during the last Events of the life of Christ on earth. This 40-day period of Lent is a period of "abstinence" from foods, but primarily from personal iniquities. Abstinence from foods (fasting) alone is a means of attaining virtue; it is not an end in itself. During the period of fasting one makes a special attempt to evaluate his calling as a Christian; to listen to the voice of the Gospel and heed its commandments; to accept the constant invitation to enter Christ's Kingdom.
 It is an open invitation to everyone willing to enter; who believes in Christ and repents his iniquities; who makes an "about face" directly to Christ. To accomplish this - Which is a year-round concern- the Christian Church, dating back many years, out of experience and according to the nature of man instituted certain days of prayer and fasting as steps in a ladder to help those who need guidance to reach this spiritual plateau. All of these steps must have genuine personal meaning to avoid becoming merely a habit and routine. Fasting encompasses the entire pious life of the Christian, as Christ proclaimed, that symbolizes a deep acceptance of His admonition to "repent".

This can be achieved not so much in terms of time, but in deeds in love of God and one's fellow man.

The Orthodox Liturgical Cycle of the Great Lenten Period:

1- The celebration of the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great every Sunday

2- The singing of the Akathist " Ακάθιστος" every Friday evening.

3- The celebration of the Liturgy of the Presanctified " Προηγιασμένη" Gifts every Wednesday and Friday evening with Vespers.

4- The celebration of Great Compline "Μέγα Απόδειπνο" from Monday to Thursday

Additional Psalter Readings in the liturgy of the Hours.

Editor: υπο-διάκονος. Camill Tannous
Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church