O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. AmenLenten Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian
Today, along with all Orthodox Christians world-wide, we began the journey of Great Lent with the Rite of Forgiveness at the end of Vespers. (In many parishes it is common to celebrate a portion of “Forgiveness Vespers”, along with the Rite of Forgiveness, after the Sunday Liturgy as opposed to the evening proper).
As the choir sang selected hymns from the Paschal Canon – hymns we won’t hear again until Great and Holy Pascha – the faithful, one-by-one, asked each other for mutual forgiveness (cf. Gospel of St. Matthew 6:14-15) and the altar vestments were changed to purple to reflect the penitential mood of the season.
We wish everyone a fruitful and joyous Lent as we turn anew to seek the Lord.