Friday, March 3, 2023

First Sunday of the Great Fast (Sunday of Orthodoxy)

Lit the first candle on Ash Wednesday in our bi-rite family!

Happy Friday everyone, and it's all Lenty now, isn't it? 😁 I had my very first official Sunday of the Great Fast, and am all excited to tell you about it! 

First of all, the fabulous Legacy Icons has added Lenten candles that will work in the festal wreath I acquired for the 6 week season of Christmas preparation/St. Philip's Fast in the Eastern rites. I was SO EXCITED for this idea, and acquired them forthwith. 😂 There are also candles for Easter and Pentecost seasons, but we'll save that excitement for another time. ;-)

The First Sunday of Great Lent at Divine Liturgy found us focusing on iconography. I love the themed weeks in the Byzantine rite, and the lead up to Lent and then Great Lent itself has some great ones. This particular Sunday is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and I had no idea what that even meant, and come to find out via our handy theme, that it indicates the triumph over the iconoclasts in the ninth century. So our theme for the Sunday of Orthodoxy is the Commemoration of Holy Images. Awesome, right?!

In that same vein on themes, within our Byzantine rite parish, one of the things I'm enjoying is the bigger-picture-at-a-glance monthly bulletin. As a Latin rite Catholic, I was very used to the weekly variety, which included not only information on liturgies for the week, but also parish, Catholic schools and diocesan activities. I *think* this is common in Latin rite parishes, though I'm sure that it can vary. Our Byzantine rite parish is so small (and indeed, the entire regional eparchy, which from what I understand is the Eastern rites version of dioceses), that a monthly bulletin definitely makes much more sense. At first, I missed the weekly influx of new churchy news, but this monthly style has really grown on me. The focus is almost entirely liturgical, unless there is a big parish event coming up, like one of the seasonal bazaars, or a Ukrainian fundraiser, and then that will be printed on the front or back as well. And I like how you can see what is coming up more fully in the liturgical calendar, for instance, in March we have:

  • Second Sunday of the Great Fast: St. Gregory of Palamas
  • Third Sunday of the Great Fast: Veneration of the Holy Cross
  • Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast: St. John Climacus
  • Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast: Our Venerable Mother, Mary of Egypt

St. Mary of Egypt marks the anniversay of the very first Divine Liturgy that I ever attended, and that was with Anne! This all feels so special. 🥰

I'm so happily making my way through Lent. I'm also trying to get to my Liturgy of the Hours every day in the form of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer. I'm not always successful, but I'm definitely praying the hours much more than I usuall do! And this coming Sunday, I'm looking forward to learning about St. Gregory of Palamas and to coffee klatch after Divine Liturgy. We're making cupcakes! 😋

How is your Lent going, friends? 💜

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