Voices from Russia

Sunday, 18 February 2018

18 February 2018. It’s Forgiveness Sunday… Lent Starts Tomorrow

Forgiveness Sunday

Sebastyan Likan

undated

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Forgive Me!

God Forgives!

Today is Forgiveness Sunday… all Orthodox Christians ask forgiveness of those about them for their offences of the past year.  For us, Lent begins on Clean Monday… then, we’re on the Lenten road to Easter. Lent isn’t an end in itself… it’s a preparation for the Easter Feast of the Resurrection… the central moment of the Church Year, as we Orthodox Christians see it. This year, Easter is on 8 April, my birthday. It’s a double feast for me! To all my friends, “Forgive Me!” for all that I’ve done and not done… may the Good Lord give you a most profitable Lent, leading to a most glorious and joyous Radiant Easter!

BMD

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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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tomorrow, Christmas Lent Begins

Silent Night

Viggo Johansen

1891

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We’ve said much about the Lenten periods, yet, once one begins, we hear the same question:

What are we not supposed to do?

The brief answer to that is:

Food is in last place. It isn’t an end-all and be-all; it’s only a means.

The Lenten effort requires five things.

LEARN TO PRAY

Try to add something extra to your routine. If you don’t normally pray, make a brief but regular prayer. If you have a morning and evening rule, read the Psalms, or the daily Gospel reading. If you go to services only on Sunday, try to make it for one of the weekday services.

LEARN TO FIGHT SIN

Look at your repetitive sins… choose the smallest and try to overcome it. For example, do you complain about everything you see or hear? Do you talk about others behind their back? Do you hold an old grudge against a relative (boss, teacher, neighbour, etc)? Overcome this through daily prayer.

LEARN TO REPENT

Choose your most secret sin… the one most hidden from the eyes of others and one for which you’re particularly ashamed. Go to confession and ask how to fight it. Choose an experienced priest to help you with what you need.

LEARN TO DO GOOD

For I was hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.

Gospel according to St Matthew 25.35-36

At the end of each day, search your conscience and ask yourself, “What good deed did I do today? Who did I comfort, who did I help, and who did I devote time to?” If you didn’t do that, you wasted the day.

LEARN TO BE JOYFUL

Open up to the beauty of God’s world. Meditate on God’s gifts and on the talents that He endows us with. Show manifestations of love, compassion, and mercy, along with reflecting on logic, harmony, and truth. In short, focus on everything that brings us closer to God.

I wish you a salvific and joyful Christmas Lent, my friends!

24 November 2017

Archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

22 March 2017. The Three Pillars of Lent

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