The Great Lent

In the life of the Church of Christ there are many institutes created and maintained to meet the needs of the people of God - the Ecclesia. Among these is the Great Lent which falls within the year-cycle of the life of the Church before Pascha ('Easter'). Great Lent is the period of time for self-examination by the believer; of putting on the spiritual armour of the Militant Church; of applying the riches of prayer and almsgiving; of adopting deeply the meaning of repentance; of atonement and reconciliation with God Almighty.

The 50 days before Pascha, known as a part of the period of the Triodion (meaning three odes) are the period for strengthening faith in the Lord. The means are well-known to people of spiritual experience. They are repentance, which means to change from indifference to full devotion; prayer, which is considered the soul of faith, and through which faith emerges from theory into practise, and self-control, which governs our relationships with our neighbour. These means are practical indicators of our vivid faith in God. With this preparation we are invited to enter the sanctuary of Holy Week, not as spectators, but as participants in the commemoration and enactment of the divine Acts that changed the world. A Christian must always be well-trained and well-armed to fight against those who try to corrupt his spirit and take away his freedom. The Christian must keep his own spiritual kingdom intact and his freedom of religion and uprightness vivid in order to be a part of the Kingdom of God, where the compassions of the Lord and His Resurrection will be experienced. There is no other place where the Kingdom of God can be expanded except the heart of man; and there is no other gate whereby we can enter the Kingdom but that of "repentance". This was the proclamation of the new era of Jesus Christ, who said:

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mat 3:2).

from the Orthodox Christian Fellowship electronic newsletter.

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