First Week of the Great Fast

February 15-21, 2021

Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise Isaiah 1:15-20 - "When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.

"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (RSV – Excerpt of the Monday Reading for the Sixth Hour)

The Power of Repentance – Let us become as clean as is possible. Let us wash away our sins. And the prophet teaches us how to wash them away, saying, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, put away from my eyes the evil of your souls.” ... See that we must first cleanse ourselves, and then God cleanses us. He first said, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean,” and then said, “I will make you white.” … The power of repentance is then tremendous as it makes us white as snow and wool, even though sin had stained our souls. (St. John Chrysostom)

The icon is a detail of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. The Holy Forty Days Fast in preparation for Holy Week and Pascha began Sunday night (February 14th) after Forgiveness Vespers. The beginning of the Fast is a time when we seek out those whom we have offended and ask their forgiveness, and offer our forgiveness to those who have offended us (whether they seek it or not). It is in this way that we might approach the coming Fast worthily.


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Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

March
6 - Third All Souls Saturday
7 - Third Sunday of the Great Fast (Veneration of the Cross)
13 - Fourth All-Souls Saturday
14 - Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. John of the Ladder)
18 - Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
20 - Akathistos Saturday
21 - Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Mary of Egypt)
25 - Annunciation to the Mother of God
27 - April 4 - Great and Holy Week

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Entry into Jerusalem

As we were buried with You through Baptism, O Christ our God, * we were made worthy of immortal life by Your Resurrection, * and we praise You in song, crying out: * “Hosanna in the highest! * Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord.” (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

As you were carried upon a throne in heaven and upon a colt on earth, * O Christ God, you accepted the praise of angels and the songs of children who cry out to You: * “Blessed are You Who has come to to call back Adam!” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

Random Proverb

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

A brother asked Abba Isidore the priest, "Why are the demons so frightened of you?" The old man said to him, "Because, ever since the day I began practicing ascesis, I have striven to prevent anger from reaching my lips."

The Desert Fathers