Great Lent (Forty days of fasting)
Great Lent is the time for self-examination, a time for prayer and alms-giving, a time for repentance and a time of abstinence from certain types of food.

Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of laziness,
Meddling, ambition and vain talk.
But give me a spirit of prudence,
Humility, patience, and love.
Yes, Lord and King, grant me
To see my own sins and faults
and not judge my brother.
For You are blessed
forever and ever. Amen.

Why does this short prayer of St. Ephrem is important during the entire Lenten worship?
Because it enumerates in unique way all the negative and positive elements of repentance and constitutes a "check list" for our individual Lenten effort.

Sunday, March 13, 2011
First Sunday of Lent
Sunday of Orthodoxy
  • Troparion of the Resurrection, Tone 1
  • Troparion of the First Sunday in Lent, Tone 2
  • Troparion of St. Michael, Tone 4
  • Kontakion for the Sundays in Lent, Tone 8
Epistle: Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-40
Gospel: John 1:43-51

First Sunday of Great Lent-Sunday of Orthodoxy
The Sunday of Orthodoxy is celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent. On this day, our holy Orthodox Church commemorate the victory of Orthodoxy over heresies and the return of the icons to the churches after hundred years of cruel persecution against the holy icons and the Christian Orthodox faithful who venerated them. Icons were removed, cast into rivers or burned. Also, many bishops, Priests and faithful suffered and put to death for venerating the holy icons. In the year 842, the emperor Theophilus and his wife the Empress Theodora put end to the persecution and the holy icons were restored. On the Sunday of orthodoxy, Orthodox clergies and Faithful from all over the world will have a procession around the Church triumphantly carrying icons to venerate the Holy icons especially, of the Savior, the Mother of God, the Saints and all the martyrs who shed their blood to protect and save our holy icons. In the Orthodox Church, we venerate the icons, but we don’t worship them. We only worship our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Troparion of the First Sunday in Lent, Tone 2 O Christ our God, begging forgiveness of our sins, we venerate Your pure image O Good One. Of Your own will You condescended to ascend upon the Cross in the flesh and delivered those you created from the bondage of the enemy. Wherefore, thankfully we cry out: When You came to save the world, You filled all things with joy, O our Savior.

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Second Sunday of Lent

The Commemoration of St. Gregory Palamas
  • Troparion of the Resurrection, Tone 2
  • Troparion of St Gregory, Tone 8
  • Troparion of St. Michael, Tone 4
  • Kontakion of the Sunday in Lent, Tone 8
Epistle: Hebrews 1:10-2:3
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Third Sunday of Lent

The Veneration of the Cross
  • Troparion of Resurrection, Tone 3
  • Troparion of the Holy Cross, Tone 1
  • Troparion of St. Michael, Tone 4
  • Kontakion of the five Sundays of Great Lent, Tone 8
Mid-Lent: The Veneration of the Cross Now we are in Mid-Lent, we begin to feel our efforts of fasting. We need all kinds of help and encouragement. The best place to find that help and encouragement is through the prayers of Jesus Christ our Lord. We are now at the top of the hill and we’ve reached the half way point as we descend to the bottom of the hill and into the valley of Holy Week and the Passion Week of our Lord. At Mid-Lent we still receive our spiritual energy and revitalizing ourselves to continue our pilgrimage to Holy Week and Holy Pascha. Jesus said “if anybody would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Troparion of the Holy Cross, Tone 1
O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, granting our believing kings victory over the barbarians, and by the power of Cross preserving thy common wealth.

Sunday, April 3, 2011
Fourth Sunday of lent

Commemoration of St John the Ladder

  • Troparion of Resurrection, Tone 4
  • Troparion of St John Climacus, Tone8
  • Troparion of St. Michael, Tone 4
  • Kontakion of the five Sundays of Great Lent, Tone 8
Epistle: Hebrews: 6:13-20
Gospel: Mark 9:17-31

Fourth Sunday of Great Lent -The Ladder of Divine Ascent
St. John Climacus wrote the book bearing the name "The Ladder of Divine Ascent." It talks about our journey to Heaven involving steps. The 30 steps represent the Great Lent. The icon shows how difficult it is to climb to Heaven. It shows monks on the ladder, the demons are trying to pull them off, the mouth of Hades are swallowing up those who have fallen off, the angels are lamenting over those who have fallen, and people on the earth are praying for those on the ladder. Also, the icon depicts Christ at the top of the ladder, waiting for our entrance to His holy Kingdom. St. John Climacus is at the top of the ladder. The one with white robe behind St. John is probably the Archbishop Antonios.
Every step that we make during Great Lent is our own sacrifice that we give to God, thus when we do this it becomes our own ladder to Heaven.

Troparion of St. John Climacus, Tone 8: With the Rivers of your tears, you have made fertile the barren desert. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit of hundred- fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O John, our Holy Father, intercedes to Christ our God to save our souls.

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Fifth Sunday of Great Lent
  • Troparion of Resurrection, Tone 5
  • Troparion of St Mary of Egypt, Tone 8
  • Kontakion of usual Sunday
Epistle: Hebrews: 9:11-14
Gospel: Mark: 10:32-45

Fifth Sunday of Great Lent-St Mary of Egypt
Mary the Egyptian lived in Alexandria as a prostitute. At the age of 29, out of curiosity she joined a group of pilgrims bound for the Holy Land. While sailing with the pilgrims on the ship, Mary did not cease from sinning. When she got to Jerusalem, she joined the pilgrims who were heading for the church of Christ’s Resurrection. People were entering the church in a large throng, but Mary was stopped at the entrance by an invisible hand and could not enter it by any efforts. Here she understood that the Lord was not permitting her to enter into the holy place because of her impurity. Feeling profound repentance, she began to entreat God to forgive her sins, promising to correct her life. She saw an icon of the Theotokos who told her to go to Jordan where she would find rest. She begged the Theotokos to plead for her before God. She poured out abundant tears at the Lord’s tomb, and she went out of the church a different person. In the Jordanian Desert, she lived the rest of her life in repentance, in complete solitude, in fasting and prayer. A monk named Zosima (Zosimus) met her and heard her story. He brought her Holy Communion and she asked him to return the next year. When he returned he found her dead, with instructions for her burial written in the sand next to her. The Elder Zosima, who lived in the Jordanian monastery of the prophet John the Forerunner, was struck by her holiness during her life. He saw her once during prayer as if raised up above the earth, and another time walking over the river Jordan, as if on dry land. Thus, from a great sinner, Venerable Mary became, with God’s help, a very great saint and left such a striking example of repentance.

Troparion of St. Mary of Egypt, Tone 8 God’s image was perfectly preserved in you, O Mother. For taking up the Cross you followed Christ. You taught us by example to disdain the flesh, a passing thing, but to see the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Mary, your spirit rejoices with the angels.

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