This appeared in the mass-market tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda in 2011. “The revival WILL be live…”
An all-Russian survey conducted in late March in 130 localities in 45 RF federal subjects by the Levada Centre found that the majority of Russians (73 percent) didn’t restrict food intake during the Great Lent. For Orthodox believers, Great Lent began on 3 March. It lasts seven weeks and ends on the preeminent Christian feastday… Easter, which is 20 April this year. Only 3 percent of respondents, mostly pensioners, women, those over 55, kept Lent in full strictness. 11 percent of respondents kept the fast partially (giving up meat or alcohol), whilst another 10 percent said that they’d fast during Holy Week.
The Great Lent is one of the oldest Church seasons, along with Holy Week before Easter, when believers relive the suffering and crucifixion of Christ, which preceded His resurrection. Its 40-day length recalls Our Lord Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness. Traditional exemptions from fasting apply to the elderly, the sick, young children, pregnant and nursing women, travellers, soldiers on active service in the field, and prisoners. Before the season began, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias reminded believers that, in its truest sense, the Great Lent is a very special time for Christians. His Holiness thinks that Lent should profoundly change our perceptions and our general outlook on life. He said on Forgiveness Sunday (2 March), “We don’t fast from food to go on a diet to lose weight, nor for reasons of good health, as some believe, although, sometimes, that does happen when we fast physically. Primarily, we fast to change our attitude; our spiritual nature has deep links to the physical”.
In the years since 1985 (the effectual start of the end of the restrictions against the Church), the number of those keeping the Lents (even partially) skyrocketed. It’s gone from less than 1 percent of the population (monastics, clergy, and their families) to 27 percent. Yes, there’s a long way to go… but we’ve also travelled a long way down the road, too. Reflect on this… Lutherans, Catholics, and traditional Baptists (not the American-influenced idiots) in Russia all keep the fast in the same way, too. Holy Rus influences all on its territory. It shapes non-Orthodox and non-Christian (and decent secularist!) behaviour. Russian Orthodox Civilisation is profoundly different from Western Me First Individualism (including “Evangelicalism”… that’s nothing more than a pseudo-religious expression of Western Egotism)… it’s why the West can’t understand the unfolding events in the Ukraine correctly.
“We’ve come a long way, baby!” There’s a LOONG road still ahead, but we’re nowhere near the beginning anymore. Let’s not forget that.
14 April 2014