Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

3 February 2015. Lent is Creepin’ Up on Us, Kids…

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics.  Replacement Ingredients in Lenten Periods. 2012


This year, Catholic Easter is 5 April and Orthodox Easter is 12 April (that is, Catholic Easter is Orthodox Palm Sunday). So, Catholic Lent begins on 18 February, Ash Wednesday… Orthodox Lent starts on 16 February, on Pure Monday. That is, Maslenitsa is next week, and some of the Catholic Carnival seasons have begun. The Orthodox rule for Lent is abstinence from meat, eggs, and dairy products… anything beyond that is really monastic, not for layfolk. Any road, the late Patriarch Pimen Izvekov blessed laypeople and clergy in the world (including seminarians) to eat fish during the Great Lent. It appears that some loud rigourists were causing trouble… well, Vladyki Pimen ended that… tout suite. Remember what Lent is FOR… to bring us to Holy Easter prepared for the Feast of Feasts, the Holyday of Holydays, the utmost festival and holiday of Christendom. It’s NOT an end in itself. It’s a road with a destination, not a prideful calculus of comparing what one eats and doesn’t eat. Sadly, some compare what others do to their own Lenten effort and do nothing but excoriate them for lack of zeal. That’s not why the Church gives us this season. The Forty Days DO have a reason… to allow us to meet the Resurrection as Christians ought. Anything else is demonic pride and prelest. Christ is risen from the dead, trampling on death by death… THAT’S the “reason for the season”.



Sunday, 17 March 2013

Forgiveness Sunday: The Last Day Before the Beginning of the Easter Lent

prosti menya forgive me


Sunday, 17 March, is Forgiveness Sunday, which Orthodox Christians all over the world observe on the last day before Lent. Lent will continue for 49 days until Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the Glorious Resurrection of Christ, which falls on 5 May this year. The term “Forgiveness Sunday” traces its origin to the first centuries of Christianity. Then, to prepare spiritually for Easter, Egyptian monks would retire into the desert for 40 days before the feast. Before doing so, they’d call on their friends and ask their forgiveness, and they’d gladly forgive all those who’d offended them. After all, no one could possibly tell whether any of them would survive that self-imposed solitary trial. As it was then, so it is now… right before Lent starts, people say “Forgive me”, expecting in return the reply, “God forgives”.

Archpriest Maksim Kozlov {also a professor at the MDA: editor} of the Church of St Seraphim of Sarov on the Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment in Moscow told VOR, “Before a Christian enters Lent, which is a period of repentance, one must realise that it’s impossible without reconciliation with God, but this is unachievable without reconciliation with our neighbours. Besides, we must follow the direct command of the Saviour, who said that if we forgive people their sins, then, our Heavenly Father would also forgive us”. Archbishop Mark Golovkov of Yegoryevsk said, “There’s a special Orthodox liturgy for this day. It mentions the Biblical story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. It reminds us, on the eve of the Lenten season, of the fall of our foreparents Adam and Eve, and prompts us to feel our own lapses of virtue, over which we should pray to God to ask Him to accept our repentance”.

In pre-revolutionary Russia, Forgiveness Sunday was one of the most revered and cherished days in the Church Year. Even the tsar asked forgiveness of his subjects, irrespective of their social standing. Forgiveness Sunday is the last day of the Maslenitsa folk-festival. In Old Russia, people burnt a straw effigy symbolising winter, engaging in all sorts of fun and merrymaking. However, the Church has a sceptical attitude to all that. Archpriest Maksim explained, “Today, it’s nothing more than folklore, it doesn’t exist as living tradition. In modern Russia, people revived this tradition for the purely commercial purpose of attracting people to public amusements. What used to be, in previous centuries, a form of dual-belief, the remnants of paganism in the minds of common people, now, is transformed into a commercial amusement”.

According to a VTsIOM poll, more than 80 percent of the respondents… both Orthodox believers (about 94%) and non-believers (82%)… observed Maslenitsa week by eating traditional pancakes, went out to see their relatives, or invited them to a merry home party. Today is the last time until Easter that you can eat food made from animal products; however, the Church doesn’t allow the eating of meat during Maslenitsa week {Patriarch Pimen Izvekov DID explicitly allow seminarians and church workers to eat fish during Lent… bear in mind, that Lenten abstinence isn’t a end in itself… remember, you’re not allowed to follow strict monastic rules, in any case: editor}. At least one-third of Russians intend to observe Forgiveness Sunday as the climax of Maslenitsa. Nevertheless, priests advise that the best way to spend this day is to spend it in prayerful preparation for the coming Lent.

Milena Faustova17 March 2013

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service



17 March 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Traditions of Celebrating Maslenitsa

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Traditions of Celebrating Maslenitsa. 2013


On 11 March, Maslenitsa began in Russia… the last seven days before the onset of Lent. Maslenitsa is one of the most exciting, colourful, and lively folk holidays, which, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with paganism, but rather has a direct relationship to Orthodox Easter. Archpriest Maksim Kozlov, a professor at the Moscow Theological Academy (MDA), told RIA-Novosti, “The time to celebrate Maslenitsa is tied to Easter, for Maslenitsa, the last week before Lent, begins exactly eight weeks before Easter. In terms of church canons, Maslenitsa is a half-holiday. During Maslenitsa, we don’t eat meat, but you can eat every other non-Lenten food, including dairy products… abstinence on Wednesdays and Fridays is cancelled. During Maslenitsa, services on Wednesday and Friday are particularly long, just like in Lent, with many prostrations. The idea behind the canons is to gradually bring Christians into Lent”. Meanwhile, pancakes, once perceived as a pagan symbol of the sun, with the Christianisation of Rus, became the traditional festive meal in “Cheese Week“, just as kulich and paskha cheese (click here and here for recipes) celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Christ.

11 March 2013




Friday, 1 March 2013

Gorky Park in Moscow will have Maslenitsa Events Featuring Blini, Contests, and Prizes

01f Maslenitsa 2011. Rostov


The Moscow Department of Culture announced that the city’s parks of culture and rest would hold traditional festivities and celebrations during Maslenitsa, from 11 to 17 March. Most of the events are due on 16 and March 17. In particular, Gorky Park of Culture plans two days of festivities with blini, contests, and prizes. At 18.00 on both days, popular artists will present a concert. Sokolniki Park will have a Maslenitsa Alley all week long, and blini, rides, and traditional amusements will be available in Fonntanoi Square. On Forgiveness Sunday, the parks will host a burning of the effigy of Marena. Maslenitsa events shall occur in Izmailovo, Krasnaya Presnya, Hermitage Garden, Taganka, Kuzminki Forest, Perovo, Lianozovo, Babushkinsky, Svernoe Tushino, Fili, Bauman Garden, and Muzeon Parks.

1 March 2013



Editor’s Note:

The old pre-revolutionary Maslenitsa is back… by popular demand! That tells you that the revival of Orthodoxy is on track better than the perusal of church attendance figures does. I’ll tell ya a secret… the contemporary commies are 100 percent behind it all… they’re believers (as are Zyuganov and Simonenko, their leaders), after all (the rightwing pro-American Free Marketers are godless… reflect on that one, kids). We should keep this tradition… and revive it where it’s fallen into disuse (often, due to modernist clergy). In any case, it’s FUN… and God does want you to enjoy the good life that He gave you. One of the questions He’s going to ask you is, “Why didn’t you enjoy the legit pleasures that I made for you?” Now, that’s something to mull over…


« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.