A Guide to the Triodion and Lent

For our Holy Father, the purpose of the entire Triodion was to remind us in brief of God's benefaction to us from the beginning and to instill in the memory of all how we were fashioned by Him, and how we violated the commandment which He gave us for the sake of our nakedness; how we were banished from the delight of Paradise and expelled through the envy of our enemy the serpent, the Author of evil, who was brought down on account of his pride, and how we remained outcasts from the good things of Paradise and were led around by the Devil; how the Son of the Logos/Word of God, moved by compassion, bowed the Heavens and came down, dwelt in the Virgin and became man for our sake, and through His own way of life showed us how to ascend back to Heaven through humility, fasting, and refraining from evil deeds, and through His actions; how He suffered, arose, and ascended to the Heavens, and sent forth the Holy Spirit upon His Holy Disciples and Apostles;

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Daily Cycles of Divine Services and Prayer

Our Great and Divine Benefactor Jesus Christ commands His followers and says, "Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with 'carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the fact of the whole earth. 'Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man'. And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. Then early in the morning, all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him" (St. Luke 21:34-38).

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The Beginning of the Triodion

On this and the following two Sundays, the theme is repentance. Repentance is the door through which we enter Lent, the starting-point of our journey to Pascha. And to repent signifies far more than self-pity or futile regret over things done in the past. The Greek word metanoia means 'change of mind': to repent is to be renewed, to be transformed in our inward viewpoint, to attain a fresh way of looking at our relationship to God and to others.

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The Mystery (Sacrament) of Marriage

The family, as is well known, comprises the fundamental cell of the organism of society, being the nucleus and foundation of society. Thus also in the Militant (the Church on earth) of Christ, it is a basic unity of the Church body. Therefore the Christian family in itself is called in the writings of the holy Apostles a "church": "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus... and the church that is in their house" (Romans 16:3, 5); Salute...Nymphas and the church which is in his house" (Col. 4:15). From this, it is understandable what great attention should be given to the family from the point of view of the Church so that the family might fulfill its purpose of being a small "church."

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Orthodox Byzantine Music (Part II)

The effect that this concept had on Church music was threefold: first, it bred a highly conservative attitude to musical composition; secondly, it stabilized the melodic tradition of certain hymns; and thirdly, it continued, for a time, the anonymity of the composer. For if a chant is of heavenly origin then the acknowledgment received by man in transmitting it to posterity ought to be minimal. This is especially true when he deals with hymns which were known to have been first sung by angelic choirs - such as the Amen, Alleluia, Trisagion, Sanctus and Doxology. Consequently, until Palaeologan times, was inconceivable for a composer to place his name beside a noted text in the manuscripts.

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Suffering as an Unavoidable Aspect of the Life in Christ (Part II)

Suffering and the spiritual struggle that come with it must be viewed in a positive light since they offer such a wide variety of virtues and rewards. Biblical and Patristic reference to the benefits of suffering is numerous. Let it suffice to cite just a few isolated examples. The Apostle Paul teaches, "...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint..." (Romans 5:3-5).

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Suffering as an Unavoidable Aspect of the Life in Christ

Suffering is seen as a sign of God's love for man. Saint Silouan also considered suffering as a sort of 'measuring stick' of man's love for God. In his characteristic simplicity, he sums up this particular point using the example of Panayia. Referring to her limitless love for her Son and her inconceivable grief as she stood at the foot of the Cross, Saint Silouan states succinctly, "The greater the love, the greater the suffering".

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