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THE GREA T FAST: THE FORTY DAY FAST Forgiveness Vespers Begins the Great Fast proper –(Byzantine Church equivalent of Ash Wed) The Great Prokimen: Do.

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Presentation on theme: "THE GREA T FAST: THE FORTY DAY FAST Forgiveness Vespers Begins the Great Fast proper –(Byzantine Church equivalent of Ash Wed) The Great Prokimen: Do."— Presentation transcript:



3 Forgiveness Vespers Begins the Great Fast proper –(Byzantine Church equivalent of Ash Wed) The Great Prokimen: Do not turn Your face Away from your son For I am afflicted Hear me quickly Be attentive to my soul And deliver it

4 Forgiveness Vespers Stichera: 1 Let us humble the flesh by abstinence, As we follow the divine path of pure fasting. With prayers and tears let us seek the Lord Who saves us. Let us put an end to anger, crying out: Save us who have sinned against You! Save us, O Christ our King, As You have saved the men of Nineveh, /// And make us partakers of Your heavenly kingdom, O Compassionate One!

5 Forgiveness Vespers Stichera: 2 When I think of my deeds, O Lord, I am filled with despair And know that I am worthy of every torment. I have despised Your commandments, O Saviour. I have spent my life as a prodigal. I pray to You, O only merciful One: Cleanse me by repentance, Enlighten me through prayers and fasting, /// And despise me not, O most gracious benefactor of all!

6 Forgiveness Vespers Stichera: 3 Let us begin the fast with joy! Let us prepare ourselves for spiritual efforts! Let us cleanse our soul and cleanse our flesh! Let us abstain from every passion as we abstain from food! Let us rejoice in virtues of the spirit and fulfill them in love! That we all may see the passion of Christ our God, /// And rejoice in spirit at the holy Pascha!

7 The Rite of Forgiveness: 1 At the end of Forgiveness Vespers: The Priest ask forgiveness of the people From the ambo he makes a prostration and asks forgiveness: Bless me, brothers and sisters, And forgive me the sinner All the sins which I have committed this day and every day of my life Iin thought, and word, and deed The Laity rx: May God forgive you, reverend Father. The People make a prostration to the Priest & asks forgiveness of the priest Bless me, reverend Father And forgive us sinners All the sins which we have committed this day and every day of our life Iin thought, and word, and deed The Presbyter rx: May God forgive you and have mercy on you. As the Paschal Canon & Stichera are being sung (omitting the Paschal Exclamations) Clergy & Laity come to venerate the Icon of Forgiveness Sunday then they ask each other for forgiveness making prostrations

8 The Rite of Forgiveness: 2 As the Paschal Canon and Stichera are sung (omitting the Paschal Exclamations) Beginning with the Clergy, the Faithful: venerate the Icon of Forgiveness Sunday ask each other for forgiveness individually “Forgive me” Rx: “God forgives” making prostrations All around the church

9 Sundays of the Forty Day Fast 1.Orthodoxy Sunday 2.St. Gregory Palamas 3.Holy Cross 4.St. John of the Ladder 5.St. Mary of Egypt

10 1. Orthodoxy Sunday Commemorates the 7 th Ecumenical Council Approving the use of Icons Interesting that “orthodoxy” refers to icons (as opposed to doctrine or liturgy) Shows the centrality of the use of Icons in the Byzantine Churches

11 St Gregory Palamas Sunday Divinization: St Athanasius: "God became human so that humans might become divine.“ St Irenaeus: God "became what we are in order to make us what he is himself Bible: II Peter 1:4 – “enable you to share his divine nature” Hesychasm: Direct Experience of God (immediate, not mediated or symbolized) Experience of monks on Mt Athos: 4 practicing Hesychasm & the Jesus Prayer --seeing the Divine light of the Transfiguration Divine Energies not Divine Essence - beyond human experience

12 St. Seraphim: I replied, "Nevertheless I do not understand how I can be firmly assured that I am in the Spirit of God. How can I myself recognize His true manifestation?" Then Father Seraphim took me very firmly by the shoulders and said, "We are both together, son, in the Spirit of God! Why lookest thou not on me?" I replied, "I cannot look, father, because lightning flashes from your eyes. Your face is brighter than the sun and my eyes ache in pain!" Father Seraphim said, "Fear not, my son; you too have become as bright as I. You too are now in the fullness of God's Spirit; otherwise you would not be able to look on me as I am." Then, bending his head towards me, he whispered softly in my ear, "Give thanks to the Lord God for His ineffable mercy! You have seen that I did not even cross myself; and only in my heart I prayed mentally to the Lord God and said within myself; Lord, vouchsafe to him to see clearly with bodily eyes that descent of Thy Spirit which Thou vouchsafes" to Thy servants, when Thou art pleased to appear in the light of Thy marvellous glory. And see, my son, the Lord has fulfilled in a trice the humble prayer of poor Seraphim. Surely we must give thanks to Him for this ineffable gift to us both! Not always, my son, even to the great hermits, does the Lord God show His mercy.... Come, son, why do you not look me in the eyes? Just look and fear not! The Lord is with us!" After these words I looked in his face and there came over me an even greater reverential awe. Imagine in the center of the sun, in the dazzling brilliance of his midday rays, the face of the man who talks with you. You see the movement of his lips and the changing expression of his eyes, you hear his voice, you feel someone grasp your shoulders; yet you do not see the hands, you do not even see yourself or his figure, but only a blinding light spreading several yards around and throwing a sparkling radiance across the snow blanket on the glade and into the snowflakes which besprinkled the great elder and me. Can one imagine the state in which I then found myself?

13 3: Holy Cross Sunday Only Sunday of the year: –Dark Vestments –Prostrations and Kneeling –With this focus shifts to our Com-Passion with the Christ Before Thy Cross We bow down in worship, O Master And thy holy Resurrection, we glorify!

14 5. St. Mary of Egypt Sunday Symbol of Repentance lived a very profligate life Found herself on pilgrimage to Israel Conversion experience at the Sepulchre Lived in the Desert –Miraculous (objective point of view) –Struggling against her demons (subjective) Vita told by St Zosimas in his conversion

15 5. St. Mary & the Great Canon Because her vita is read during, she is Liturgically associated with The Great Kanon of St. Andrew of Crete Many many wonderful prostrations –The wonderful dialectic between –Our begging for Mercy from God –God bestowing his merciful love –In each prostration, almost physical sense

16 Souls Saturday: 7 Souls Saturdays during the Year 4 during the Great Fast –1 of which is on Meatfare Saturday 2 during the greater Paschal Season 1 Saturday before St Demetrius 10/26

17 Souls Saturday: most Saturdays of the Gt. Fast except the 1 st & last 1 st is St Theodore the Recruit –Hagiography: struggle with Fasting –Blessing of Koliva: boiled wheat –Theme: conversion and purity from idols the Laudation of the Theotokos –Sing the Akathist to the Theotokos

18 Souls Saturday: The Parastas is served –Shorted form of the Funeral Service –Ends with a Panakhyda A memorial Service praying for the Reposed Koliva may be served –(symbol of Fasting, but esp. Death/Resurrection

19 The Gospels in Colour Healing the Soul


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