Voices from Russia

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Forgiveness Sunday

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It’s no surprise, Orthodox Christians are keen on the Rite of Forgiveness and the service that surrounds it… here’s a little more about this observance. It’s the last Sunday before the start of Lent, so the Rite of Forgiveness occurs during Vespers before the cross and the icons of the Saviour and the Most-Holy Birthgiver. By the way, the rite is very evocative. Firstly, the priest asks for forgiveness. He makes a reverence before the holy things and kisses them; then, he asks forgiveness from the clergy and believers. After that, all present ask forgiveness from one another. On this day, we can bring to those near us our sincere repentance for all our voluntary and involuntary sins so that we can remove the heavy stone of guilt from ourselves. Of course, we heartily forgive everybody else. Because of this, God forgives us and this puts us right with Him. The clergy are in dark vestments to remind us that the Great Lent is beginning… the Holy 40 Days of the Fast. Brothers and sisters, may God help you to carry out this podvig*, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the sake of love to our family, and for the sake of the Holy Image which is hidden in us, but which can shine a light to illuminate the souls of others!

  • Podvig: Should NEVER be “Englished”… one of the most powerful words in the Russian language. There are literally no English equivalents strong enough. Podvig has overtones of “epic”, “heroic”, “bravery”, “self-sacrifice”, “victory”, “effort”, and “triumph”. It’s best to leave it as is, and admit that English lacks the necessary material to give meaning to this word.

Marfa-Mariinskoe House of Mercy

18 February 2018

Youth Department of the Diocese of the City of Moscow

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