Great Lent – Eastern Orthodox

 

16th century Russian Orthodox icon of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

16th century Russian Orthodox icon of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

 

Great Lent is the period of time in the Eastern Orthodox Churches that leads up to Pascha, or what the western churches know as Lent or Easter. Great Lent begins on the Monday that is seven weeks before Pascha. It lasts for six weeks until the eve of Lazarus Saturday. Palm Sunday follows this, and the following week is Holy Week.

The main feature of the 40 days of Great Lent is the abstinence from many foods as Orthodox Christians prepare themselves for Pascha.

Great Lent is preceded by three weeks encompassing four Sundays of preparation – Pre-Lent.

The three periods below are known as the Lenten Triodion.

  1. Pre-Lent
    1. Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee. Luke 18:9-14
    2. Sunday of the Prodigal Son. Luke 15:11-32
    3. Sunday of the Last Judgment – also called Meatfare Sunday. Matt 25:31-46
    4. Sunday of Forgiveness - also called Cheesefare Sunday. Matt 6:14-21
  2. Great Lent
    1. Monday seven weeks before Pascha – Beginning of a six-week fast that ends on the eve of Lazarus Saturday.
    2. 1st Sunday of Lent – Sunday of Orthodoxy
    3. 2nd Sunday of Lent – Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas
    4. 3rd Sunday of Lent – Sunday of the Holy Cross
    5. 4th Sunday of Lent – Sunday of Saint John Climacus
    6. 5th Sunday of Lent – Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt
      1. then at the end of the week – Lazarus Saturday
      2. followed by – Palm Sunday
  3. Holy Week – starts on Monday after Palm Sunday
    1. Holy Thursday
    2. Holy Friday
    3. Holy Saturday
    4. Pascha

 

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