Orthodox Christians begin Lenten Season on Monday, February 23

On Monday, February 23, 2004, millions of Orthodox Christians around the world will begin the penitential season of Great Lent in preparation for the celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday, April 11.

“Great Lent is often described as a ‘spiritual spring,’” according to the Very Rev. John Matusiak, Communications Director of the Orthodox Church in America. “While the faithful are called to intensify their prayer life, give alms, and fast, Great Lent is seen as a period of spiritual renewal and refreshment, a time of reflection on the ultimate victory of Christ over sin and death—a victory which He shares with all who would receive and participate in it.”

The opening lenten service, the Vespers of Forgiveness, will be celebrated on Sunday evening, February 22, in Orthodox parishes across North America.

“It is during this service that the faithful acknowledge that seeking God’s forgiveness is intimately linked with seeking and offering forgiveness from and to others,” Father Matusiak added. “As one of the hymns sung during Forgiveness Vespers states, ‘now is the time for action, as salvation is at the door.’ Great Lent is not a time to discuss prayer, almsgiving, or fasting; rather, it is a time to pray, to give alms, and to fast, to put one’s faith into action while striving to make a conscious change in one’s vision and spiritual direction.”

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, OCA Primate, will open the lenten season by celebrating Forgiveness Vespers at Saint Tikhon Monastery, South Canaan, PA on Sunday evening, February 22. On Monday, February 23, he will preside at the Rite of Forgiveness at the OCA Chancery in Syosset, NY, before celebrating the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete at Saint Vladimir Seminary, Crestwood, NY in the evening.

On Saturday and Sunday, February 28 and 29, Metropolitan Herman will celebrate the Vigil and Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of Orthodoxy at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Washington, DC, while he will preside along with His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of South Canaan and Auxiliary to His Beatitude, at Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers later the same day at Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

A complete listing of Metropolitan Herman’s lenten visitations is below.

Sunday, March 7 - Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas
Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church - Stroudsburg, PA

Thursday, March 11
Service of Thanksgiving and Akathist before the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God at 7pm at the Protection of the Theotokos Cathedral - New York City, NY

Saturday, March 13
Vespers at 5pm at St. Sergius Chapel - Syosset, NY

Sunday, March 14 - Sunday of the Cross
Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral - New York, NY

March 15 - 18 - Spring Session of the Holy Synod of Bishops
Syosset, NY

Saturday, March 20 - Vespers at 5pm
St. Matthew Church - Columbia, MD

Sunday, March 21 - Sunday of St. John Climacus
Divine Liturgy at 9:30am at St. Matthew Church - Columbia, MD

Saturday, March 27
Vespers - Assumption of the Holy Virgin Church - Clifton, NJ

Sunday, March 28 - Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt
Divine Liturgy - Assumption of the Holy Virgin Church - Clifton, NJ
Unction Service at Three Saints Church - Ansonia, 4:00 pm

Saturday, April 3 - Lazarus Saturday
Divine Liturgy at St. Herman of Alaska Church - Gradyville, PA

Sunday, April 4 - Feast of Our Lord’s Entry in Jerusalem
Divine Liturgy at St. Stephen Cathedral - Philadelphia, PA

Thursday, April 8 - Great and Holy Thursday
Vesperal Liturgy and the Consecration of Holy Chrism - St. Tikhon Monastery - South Canaan, PA

April 8-11 - Great and Holy Thursday through Pascha
St. Nicholas Cathedral - Washington, DC