Open to me the doors of repentance O Lifegiver; for my spirit rises early to pray towards Thy Holy Temple, bearing the temple of my body all defiled. But in Thy Compassion purify me by the loving kindness of Thy Mercy…
Great Lent is almost upon us. Please join us as we begin this season with the Rite of Forgiveness this Sunday, March 10, immediately following the Divine Liturgy. Lent begins with forgiveness. Our forgiveness begins with forgiveness. (If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses – Gospel of St. Matthew 6:14). During this time the choir will be singing hymns from the Paschal Canon, reminding us and pointing us toward the goal of Lent, repentance, and fasting – the Resurrection of Our Lord and our communion with and in Him.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week (Clean week) we will pray the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, a canon of repentance prayerfully sung during the first week and then again during the fifth week of Lent. Please don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to start Lent “in the right direction”, so to speak.
Regarding the Great Canon, Fr. Alexander Schmemann in his wonderful book Great Lent: Journey to Pascha says the following:
At the commencement of Lent, as its inauguration, as the “pitch” which is to begin the entire “melody,” we find the great penitential Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. Divided into four parts, it is read at Great Compline on the evenings of the first four days of Lent. It can best be described as a penitential lamentation conveying to us the scope and depth of sin, shaking the soul with despair, repentance, and hope. With a unique art, St. Andrew interwove the great biblical themes – Adam and Eve, Paradise and Fall, the Patriarchs, Noah and the Flood, David, the Promised Land, and ultimately Christ and the Church – with confession of sin and repentance. The events of sacred history are revealed as events of my life, God’s acts in the past as acts aimed at me and my salvation, the tragedy of sin and betrayal as my personal tragedy. My life is shown to me as part of the great and all-embracing fight between God and the powers of darkness which rebel against Him.
On Wednesday and on the following Wednesdays until Holy Week, we will celebrate the Liturgy of the Presancrified Gifts. This solemn and ancient service is an evening Liturgy that is held in order to sustain our lenten effort by our participation in Holy Communion. A light Lenten potluck supper will follow.
We hope you can join us.
An updated copy of our schedule of services for Lent, Passion Week, and Pascha can be found here.