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Great Lent 2008 Resource Center

image O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to your servant. Yes, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sin and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed from all ages to all ages. Amen. + The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

This resource page will be continually updated throughout Great Lent to provide a guide for our collective journey to Holy Pascha on April 27, 2008.

Holy Week

On the saving Passion; and teaching on humility and patient endurance. Catechesis 72 by St. Theodore the Studite. Given on the Wednesday of Holy Week.

Brethren and Fathers, the present day is holy and to be venerated, for from this day the Lord begins to take on himself the sufferings of the Cross for our sake, in accordance with David’s words: Why did the nations rage and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth rose up and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and against his Christ [Psalm 2:1-2]. They assembled together to plot an evil plan against the Master. The deceitful Judas denied him utterly and betrays the teacher with a deceitful kiss. The Lord of all things is led away prisoner, stands before the judgement seat, is interrogated and answers; and when he answers—O fearful report!—he is struck by a slave and bears it with longsuffering, saying: If I have spoken evil, give testimony to the evil; but if well, why do you strike me? [John 18:23] Then he is scoffed at, mocked, jeered at, ridiculed, spat at, buffeted, scourged. He ascends the Cross, and when he has ascended he prays for his murderers: Father, forgive them their sin, for they do not know what they do [Luke 23:33]. Then he is given gall with vinegar to drink, he is pierced by a lance, the immortal is put to death. These in brief are the Master's sufferings, and one who hears them with understanding is not angry, or embittered, or enraged, or puffed up, or arrogant towards his brother; is not envious, or filled with vainglory. Rather he is humbled, crushed, considers himself to be earth and ashes, desires communion in Christ's sufferings, to is eager to be conformed to his death, so that he may have a part in the glory of his resurrection. But you too take courage, because you have shared and are sharing in the Master's sufferings. For you see where you are. Is it not for the sake of his word and his testimony that you are in exile and persecution? [These Catecheses were given when St Theodore and his monks were in exile from Constantinople in the reign of Michael II (820-829).] Have you not previously experienced prison? Have you not shed your blood under tortures? Have not some of our brothers died a martyr's death? Such then is our boast in the Lord, such our gift. But since until the end beatitude is not assured because of the ease of reversal and the impossibility of knowing what the morrow will bring to birth, stand your ground unflinching and unmoving in the Lord striving side by side with one spirit and one soul for the faith of the Gospel, in no way intimidated by your opponents [Phil. 1:27-6], not giving offence in anything, but in everything recommending ourselves as God's ministers [2 Cor. 6:3-4], by obedience, humility, meekness, longsuffering, great endurance. For you need endurance in order to do God's will and obtain the promise. For in a little while he who is coming will come and not delay [Heb 10:36-37]. But if he will come and not delay, why do we hate being in afflictions and do not rather choose to die each day for the Master? For it is written: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are unfaithful, he remains faithful; he cannot disown himself [1 Tim. 2:11-13]. How great joy the saints will have when they see the Lord coming from heaven with the angels of his power [2 Thess. 1:7], inviting them with inexpressible joy, crowning them and becoming their companion for ever and ever? What anguish will they have who have disobeyed the Gospel and transgressed his commandments? They will suffer the penalty, as it is written, of eternal destruction, cut off from his presence and from the glory of his strength, when he comes to be glorified in his saints and marvelled at among all who have believed [2 Thess. 1:9-10]. And so, brethren, as we contemplate and think on these things, again and again let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God [2 Cor, 7:1], zealous for what is better, striving for what is more perfect, hating what is evil, holding fast to what is good, loving one another with brotherly affection, outdoing one another in showing honour, not lagging in zeal, being ardent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in affliction, persevering in prayer [Rom. 12:9-12], that by such sincerity we may worthily celebrate the imminent Pascha, and be counted worthy to enjoy the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Passion Week: An Explanation

The Historical Development of Holy Week Services In the Orthodox/Byzantine Rite

The Passion Week And Holy Saturday

New Multimedia Resources For Holy Week From OCN

Great Friday Vigil Resources

Repentance and Confession, by John Chryssavgis

April 27: Great and Holy Pascha

Christ is risen from the dead! Trampling down death by death! And upon those in the tombs, bestowing Life! Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal. Thou didst destroy the power of death. In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming "Rejoice" to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Thy Apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

Dynamis! Reflections on Today's Gospel (John 1:1-17)

Icon and Summary of the Resurrection of Christ, Come and See Icons

Illustrated Handout of Today's Gospel for Children

Audio Downloads of Today's Gospel for Children: told | read

Liturgical Guide for this Sunday

A Paschal Sermon by St. John Chrysostom

The Truth of Pascha, by Douglas Cramer

The Date of Pascha

The Date of Pascha in Coming Years

Paschal Troparion in Four Languages (with music)

Patriarchal Proclamation

Paschal Greetings from Bishop THOMAS

Paschal Greetings from Bishop BASIL

Paschal Greetings from Bishop MARK

April 20: Palm Sunday

Dynamis! Reflections on Today's Gospel (John 12:1-18)

Icon and Summary of Palm Sunday, Come and See Icons

Illustrated Handout of Today's Gospel for Children

Audio Downloads of Today's Gospel for Children: told | read

Liturgical Guide for this Sunday

"By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion You confirmed the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with the palms of victory, we cry out to you, O vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!"

April 13: St. Mary of Egypt Sunday

About St. Mary of Egypt

The Life of Our Holy Mother Mary of Egypt

Dynamis! Reflections on Today's Gospel (Mark 10:32-45)

Icon and Summary of the Life of Mary of Egypt, Come and See Icons

Illustrated Handout of Today's Gospel for Children

Audio Downloads of Today's Gospel for Children: told | read

"In thee, O Mother, was exactly preserved what was according to the divine image. for thou didst take the cross and follow Christ, and by thy life, didst teach us to ignore the flesh, since it is transitory, but to care for the soul as an immortal thing. Therefore, thy spirit, St. Mary, rejoices with the Angels."

April 6: St. John of the Ladder Sunday

About St. John and the Ladder of Divine Ascent

St. John Climacus - The Rungs of His Ladder of Divine Ascent

Dynamis! Reflections on Today's Gospel (Mark 9:17-31)

Icon and Summary of the Life of St. John of the Ladder, Come and See Icons

Illustrated Handout of Today's Gospel for Children

Audio Downloads of Today's Gospel for Children: told | read

Liturgical Guide for this Sunday

"Let us honor John, that pride of ascetics, that angel on earth, that man of God in heaven, that adornment of the world, and that bliss of virtues and good deeds; for, planted in the house of God, he flourished with justice; and, like a cedar tree in the wilderness, he caused the flock of Christ to grow, those sheep endowed with speech, in righteousness and justice."

March 30: Adoration of the Holy Cross

March 30th, is the Third Lord's Day of the Great Fast on which we do the Procession and Adoration of the Precious and Life-giving Cross

Dynamis! Reflections on Today's Gospel (Mark 8:34-9:1)

The Cross in Our Life, Bishop JOSEPH

For the Third Lord's Day of the Great Fast, Catechesis 63, by St. Theodore the Studite

Psychological Barriers to the Way of the Cross, Fr. George Morelli

Letter to an Arsonist, Karim Azar

Cross Icons, Come and See Icons

Illustrated Handout of Today's Gospel for Children

Audio Downloads of Today's Gospel for Children: told | read

Liturgical Guide for this Sunday

"Seeing today the precious Cross of Christ laid down, let us adore it in faith, rejoicing, and embrace it with longing, imploring the Lord who on it was willingly crucified, to make us worthy to adore the precious Cross, and to reach the Day of Resurrection free of all condemnation."

March 23: St. Gregory Palamas Sunday

Sunday, March 23, is the Sunday when we remember St. Gregory Palamas.

St. Gregory Palamas on Holy Icons

Light for the World: the Life of St. Gregory Palamas (1296–1359)

Dynamis! Reflections on Today's Gospel (Mark 2:1-12)

Illustrated Handout of Today's Gospel for Children

Audio Downloads of Today's Gospel for Children: told | read

Liturgical Guide for this Sunday

Icon and Summary of the life of St. Gregory of Palamas (courtesy of Come and See Icons)

"O Star of Orthodoxy, support of the Church and its teacher, O comeliness of ascetics, and incontestable champion of those who speak in theology, Gregory the wonder-worker, the pride of Thessalonica and preacher of grace, implore thou constantly for the salvation of our souls."

March 16: Sunday of Orthodoxy

Sunday, March 16 is the Sunday of Orthodoxy, when we celebrate the victory of the Orthodox Christian faith over iconoclasm and recognize our unity as Orthodox Christians who share a single faith regardless of our language, nation or culture.

Encyclical of SCOBA on the Sunday of Orthodoxy

The Historic 1984 Sunday of Orthodoxy Sermon of Metropolitan PHILIP

On Fasting

Fasting and Feasting: Balanced Diets, Balanced Souls

St. John Cassian on Keeping the True Fast

Fasting and Great Lent

Wine, Wheat and Oil Podcasts

Come Receive the Light Study Guide on Fasting and Legalism

Additional Resources

Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW's Address for the Commencement of Great Lent 2008

Lenten and Pascha Music Recordings from St. Romanos Records

An Introduction to Lent, by Metropolitan ANTHONY of Sourozh

First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew, by Frederica Mathewes-Green

Humility and Purity of Heart: A Lenten Reflection, by Fr. George Morelli

The Ethos of Lent, by Fr. George Morelli

Making Lent Great for Your Family, by Dr. Philip Mamalakis

Audio Resources

St. Romanos Akathist hymn to the Theotokos, read by Frederica Mathewes-Green

Need vs. Want: Following the Fast in a Consumer Culture, from the Orthodox Christian Network