The Holy Season of Great Lent:Not by Bread Alone: Fasting Today in the Orthodox Christian Way (Part V)

At one point, the disciples of Saint John the Baptist posed a question to Jesus about fasting: "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?" (St. Matthew 9:14-15; St. Mark 2: 18-20; St. Luke 5:33-35). Jesus answered like this: "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast" (St. Matthew 9:15). Here again, Jesus not only accepts fasting as a proper religious discipline, but He also proclaims its future necessity for His own Disciples.

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The Holy Season of Great Lent: Not by Bread Alone: Fasting Today in the Orthodox Christian Way (Part IV)

When the Prophets of Israel referred to fasting in their preaching, they were invariably critical in their remarks. However, they did not condemn fasting itself as a religious practice, but rather the religious hypocrisy of the people in keeping the fast only externally and superficially, without the benefit of real mourning and true repentance over their sins, and, moreover, without the benefit of any works of mercy, righteousness and prayer that should have always accompanied their proper observance of the discipline of fasting.

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The Second Sunday of Great and Holy Lent: Sunday of Saint Gregory of Palamas

The gospel for the first Sunday of Holy and Great Lent ended with an allusion to the ministry of Angels. And Angels are also called to mind by the Epistle (Letter) of Saint Paul (Hebrews 1: 10-2. 3). The sacred text compares the ministry of Angels with that, which is so much greater, of the Savior Himself. If disobedience to the messages transmitted to us by the Angels is justly punished, how much greater will be the punishment of the man who neglects the salvation that is announced and brought by Christ? For 'to which of the Angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool'?

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The Holy Season of Great Lent: Not by Bread Alone: Fasting Today in the Orthodox Christian Way (Part II)

o begin with, some definitions are in order. The Orthodox Church has two types of fasting: a) the total fast from all food and drink that is by its very nature short in duration, and b) the ascetical fast that is extended over longer but specific periods of time throughout the liturgical year of the Church. The total fast is also known as the Eucharistic fast and will normally be about twelve (12) hours, or, in other words, from the evening meal (or even from midnight) to the time of holy communion is received at the end of the divine liturgy on the next day.

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First Sunday of Lent: The Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodox Christianity

This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this is the Faith which has supported the whole world.'

On this Sunday of Great Lent, our Church celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy, of the True faith, which has overcome all heresies and has been established once and for all. This is why it's called the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

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Clean Thursday: Holy and Great Lent

Canticle Eight

Let us abstain from every pleasure; through fasting let us enrich our powers of perception, and gladly let us drink the cup of compunction, as we sing: O ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.

Cleansed by the Fast, let us go up into the chariot of the divine virtues, and let us make our mind ascend on wings to the height of heaven, as we sing: O ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.

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Liturgy of the PreSanctified Gifts and the Reception of Holy Communion on Wednesdays and Fridays

Holy and Great Lent is a season of repentance, fasting, and intensified prayer, and therefore the Orthodox Christian Church encourages its believers to receive Holy Communion more frequently. However, the Divine Liturgy has a joyful character not keeping with the season. Therefore, the Presanctified Liturgy is celebrated instead; the Divine Liturgy is only performed on Saturdays and Sundays. Although it is possible to celebrate this divine service on any weekday of Great Lent, the service is prescribed to be celebrated only on Wednesdays and Fridays of Holy Lent.

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