This Sunday: Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy
On the first Sunday of Great Lent we commemorate the decisions of the 7th Ecumenical Council regarding the Holy Icons in 787, as well as the final restoration of the icons, which took place in 843. This latter event became known as "the triumph of Orthodoxy" thereafter, with the first Sunday of the 40-day fasting period being appointed for its annual celebration.
Lenten Greeting from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops:
Pure Monday, March 7
Great and Holy Lent
To the Reverend Priests, the Deacons in Christ, the monastics, and all the pious and Christ-loving Orthodox faithful in our beloved nation:
"Let us set out with joy upon the season of the Fast, and prepare ourselves for spiritual combat. Let us purify our soul and cleanse our flesh; and as we fast from food, let us abstain also from every passion. Rejoicing in the virtues of the Spirit may we persevere with love, and so be counted worthy to see the solemn Passion of Christ our God, and with great spiritual gladness to behold His holy Passover."
Vespers of the Sunday of Forgiveness
Beloved Faithful, Dear to Christ:
The holy days of Lent constitute a spiritual tithe of the year. Our investment in the forty days of the Great Fast sanctifies the entire year, and provides sufficient grace to serve as a foundation for spiritual progress day in and out. These are days of grace, of divine energy made accessible to support our own repentance and transformation. This sacred season of the Fast is honored by our authentic engagement in the spiritual disciplines of fasting, praying, and almsgiving through which, with the powerful assistance of the Man-Loving God, we are enabled to push through clouds of discouragement which obscure our vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to trod down every obstacle and sin that hinders our progress towards God's heavenly Kingdom. By the embrace of self-denial and mortification in Lent, we are enabled to become partakers of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Holy Pascha.
We call all the Orthodox Christian faithful to lay aside earthly cares, and to seek the Lord while He may be found. Jealous for your spiritual advancement, and desiring the joy of hearing of our children walking in the truth (3 John 4), we lift our arms and bless your engagement of the Holy Fast with the sign of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross.
With paternal love in Christ,
The Officers and Members of the Assembly of Bishops