On the Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Church honours the memory of a “street-walker”, a woman who led such a dissolute life that the word “prostitute” is more of a euphemism rather than an exact description of the depth of her sinfulness. The figure of Blessed Mary is highlighted on the last Sunday of Great Lent: on the one hand, to strike at our Churchy prissiness, since a common harlot is presented as a model of life; and, on the other, to provide an example and a ray of hope for repentance for all those who are slaves to their passions and continue to struggle to find ways to free themselves of them.
There was a certain elder in one of the monasteries of Palestine, a priest of the holy life and speech, who from childhood had been brought up in monastic ways and customs. This elder’s name was Zosimas. He had been through the whole course of the ascetic life and in everything he adhered to the rule once given to him by his tutors as regard spiritual labors.
This Saturday (Saturday of the fifth week of the Great Lent) we chant the Akathist Hymn during Matins. In our days however this does not happen except in the holy monasteries, since in the parishes it is chanted the evening before, on Friday during the Small Compline.
In the Bishopric of the Holy Metropolis of Kastoria there is an icon of the Master Christ which dates to the 15th century and is known as “The Bethlehemite”.
Great Lent is a period of repentance, during which our stony hearts must become, through God’s grace, softened in the flesh, and move from being callous to being sensitive, from cold and hard to warm and open to others, particularly God Himself.
The Akathistos is the most famous of all surviving Byzantine kontakia. This work, which celebrates the annunciation of the Virgin and the nativity of Christ, consists of two prooemia (introductory hymns) and 24 strophes bound by an alphabetic acrostic.
The central theme of Lent is repentance. This theme is at the heart of one of the best-loved texts of Great Lent, the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete.
Brethren and fathers, because winter has passed and spring has arrived, we see creation flourishing again; the plants are flowering, the earth is growing green, the birds are singing and everything else is being renewed; and we take pleasure in all this and we glorify God the master craftsman who transforms and changes creation year by year, and it is reasonable to do so. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made [Rom. 1:20].
On the first Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy, that is to say the feast of the restitution of the holy icons, as the Church once again, by the grace of God, vanquished the heresy of the iconoclasts and preserved with exactitude the faith and the tradition of the Holy Fathers of […]