"Be like Living Stones" –
Patriarchal Encyclical of the Great Lent 2017
May we renew our commitment to the Church, "the temple of God" which
makes us "spiritual temples" of Him, by the power of His gospel and
the grace of the mysteries of salvation and the dwelling of the Holy
Spirit in us. ...
'I was a stranger and you
took me in' – Patriarchal Encyclical for the Great Lent 2016
During this great lent, we call upon our spiritual children to open
their hearts and homes to receive strangers and immigrants, and to
help the brethren who have been forced to leave their houses due to
harsh living conditions and miseries in their homeland.
Where Do You Want to
Spend Your Eternity? Holy Great Lent Apostolic Encyclical 2014 by HH
Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East
The Holy Gospel unveils what will happen in the heavens on the
terrible Day of Judgment, when time comes and the general
resurrection becomes real. Divine revelation draws a clear image
where we see the righteous judge surrounded by all the peoples of
the world separated into two categories, the category of the
righteous who have stood to the right of the judge, and the category
of the evil ones who have stood to his left. ...
Apostolic Holy Lent Encyclical 2013: Charity
by HH Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East
The central component of our words here is charity. Charity with our
neighbor is commended by natural law and recommended by divine law
as well; people are all children of Adam and Eve, brothers sharing
the goods of this earth. They have to love each others. After
receiving the sufficient needs from their wealth, the rich shall
fill the needs of the poor with their abundant goods; this is what
natural law dictates. ...
Message of Pope Francis
For Lent 2015
Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities
and every believer. Above all it is a "time of grace" (2 Cor 6:2).
God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given
us. "We love because he first has loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). He is not
aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. ...
Get Into Character This
Character is a very important aspect of an individual and helps in the
spiritual life of an individual. A person with integrity and character shows
good leadership skills and can always be an inspiration to others.
But one cannot say that one is born with good character...
Is A Time to Return to Our Lord With All Our Heart
Ashes are sprinkled on our heads, but Lent is lived in the heart.
God wants pierced hearts. God looks for the broken heart. "Even
now," says the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with
fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and
not your garments" (Joel 2:12-13). Paradoxically, in order to give
God one's whole heart, it must first be pierced and broken. This is
what we mean when we speak of compunction and contrition....
You are Going to Die - An
After Ash Wednesday Reflection
REMEMBER … you are dust; you are going to die. Get ready. Now is the
time; be earnest about it. Be thoughtful; reflect, considering
carefully what your decisions amount to, where you are headed, and
what your life means. Too many people live unreflected lives, never
thinking much on these things. ...
Pierce Thou My
Heart, Love Crucified by Fr. Mark
This excellent article by Fr. Mark
dwells on the meaning of lent. He explains the various facets of the
lent - fasting, meditation, scripture reading and reflection,
Lent - Freedom from
When the tendency to hyper-focus on imperfections and sins takes over, we need
to remember that Lent is the journey towards Easter. It is meant to help us grow
in our relationship with God, not lead us into clinical depression...
Fasting Out of Love
God doesn't want a fulfilled obligation; he wants our hearts.
While Moses (Exodus 34:28) fasted to prepare for God's revelation, Jesus took it
a step further by doing the practice out of love. ...
The Key to True Fasting
If you want to have the capacity to fast spiritually and truly you
have to experience the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. In this
great wedding feast, which we are to experience through prayer,
scripture and especially the Liturgy, we are to be filled with
Christ. We are to encounter him and feast abundantly on his Word,
his Body and Blood and to rejoice with him exceedingly. And when
this happens we are authentically equipped to fast. ...
Deprive Yourself of Love! Lenten Thoughts by Fr. Jerry Kurian
To love means to sacrifice and let go of many things which we
consider valuable to us. But love also means doing something good
for the sake of others. There are a lot of people who ask whether it
is imperative that we have diet restrictions during lent and whether
we need to fast during lent? ...
Abstinence: Similarities and Differences in Development between the
Byzantine East and West and some Pastoral Considerations by Father
An excellent analysis of the differences in the
Byzantine and western churches as to how the Great Lent is conducted.
Thoughts For The
Lenten Season Deepam Bible Study by EVP
Women in the Bible - in Malayalam (pdf)
A message for the Great
Lent by His Eminence Issac Mor Osthatheos Metropolitan
Lent as a
Way of Healing Ourselves of Prejudices and Wrong Notions by Fr.
Lent is a time to understand the presence of God inside us. God's
love for us is unconditional and not based on the fulfilling of
certain parameters. Let this lent be a time of realization and not
self actualization and self praise. Let it rather be a celebration
of life where those around us will be blessed and happy by our
presence and intervention. ...
The Great Lent in
the View of Bar Ebroyo by Fr. Dr. Biji Chirathilattu
The famous thirteenth century Syrian Orthodox Maphrian Yuhanon
Gregorios Aboul Faraj Bar Ebroyo, who dominates the Syrian Orthodox
Church History and who is rightly called the Thomas of Aquinas of
the Syrian Orthodox Christianity, was the last Syrian Father to do
an extensive codification of the different patristic directions
towards the spiritual exercises in his Church. ...
Lent - A Time
for Repentance and Forgiveness by Rev. J. Curtis Goforth
Sin is one of those things that we do not like to exhibit. Sin is
something that modern people think is a private matter - something
just between me and God. However, in the Church, sin is something
that is very public and private. ...
Great Lent Bible Planner based
on the Gospel of John (2014)
by George Aramath, Dallas, TX
If you are interested in making this Great Lent more meaningful,
please take part in the Great Lent Planner. Each day you will read a
portion from John’s Gospel, taking only 10-15 minutes...
Great Lent Bible Planner by George Aramath (2013)
Walking with God -
Apostolic Bull on the Great Lent from Holy Father (2012)
The fact that Enoch was taken alive to
the heavens in soul and body is a solid proof that confirms the
doctrines of the immortality of the human being and that of eternal
life. It is also a calling for man to walk with God in order to win
Life in Christ
- Message of Great Lent from Holy Father (2011)
for Great Lent -2011
The holy gospel is a reliable record of the teachings of our Lord
Jesus Christ in words and deeds during His divine economy in the
flesh. It does not impose on us orders. It does not give us
commandments to blindly hold to. It does not list prohibitions.
Rather, it presents to us Jesus Christ as a living paradigm to
longue for and a model to pursue carrying His cross. We shall follow
Him so that we obtain eternal life through Him.
Lenten Reflection for
Lent is a time of self discipline. A faithful person may look to the
end of his travails, as an athlete, and visualize the prize before
him. How wonderful the rewards of God! Though we may face
tribulation, like a good Father God knows how to reward His
Mid Lent and
Erection of Golgotha
The Golgotha and erection of cross in the of the church
also signifies that God came down from heaven and dwelt
among us in this world. This is why the Golgotha is in
the middle of the church with us, the common folks, and
not in the Madbaha as we normally expect to find it.
Mid-Lent and the Holy
On the 25th day of the great Lent of 50 days we place
the Holy Cross, which we revere as Golgotha in the exact
center of the Church. By this act we commemorate the
placement of the brazen serpent in the exact center of
the tents of Israelites...
Pathi Nombu (Mid Lent)
The 25th day of the lent which is always a Wednesday is
known as mid lent. This is one of the very few days
during the great lent when the Holy Qurbana is
celebrated on a weekday other than Sunday or Saturday.
Lent is a wonderful time to celebrate the reconciling love and the
healing graces our Lord offers us. Like all religious experience, it
takes preparation. ...
Preparing for The Sacrament of Reconciliation
Celebrating and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be
among the most blessed of human experiences. Yet, there are a number
of reasons why we don't take advantage of this Sacrament or we don't
celebrate it well. Fear, shame, bad experiences of the past, a long
time since the last reception of the Sacrament or bad habits in
celebrating it now are all possible reasons for struggles with this
Invitation To Us
Lent is a season of being invited by God in a deeply personal way.
"Come back to me, with all of your heart," our Lord beckons. "We
will," we respond, but we aren’t quite ready yet, our hearts are not
prepared. We want to squirm, evade, avoid. Our souls not yet
perfect. We are not ready for God to love us..
Great Lent - Deepam Bible Study
A great meditation in Malayalam.
God Alone Satisfies
The voice of God came through the
figure of the Crucified Christ, saying to St. Thomas
Aquinas: "You have written well of me, Thomas. What
would you have?" St. Thomas Aquinas could choose
whatever he wanted, whatever he desired. Would he ask
for wealth or fame or power? Would he ask for love or
athletic skill or simple pleasures? He could ask for
anything; what would he ask of the Lord? He answered the
Savior with these words: "Nil nisi te, Domine, nil nisi
te." Only you, Lord, only you. ....
by HH LL Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Universal Syrian Orthodox
Church and All The East
Fasting is a voluntary act of abandoning worldly life.
It is a sign of man’s obedience to, and respect of God’s
laws and his observance of God’s offices by his
voluntary abstinence from food or drink for a specific
period of time.
Outline of Great Lent
(According to Malankara Syriac Orthodox Tradition) by
Great Lent in the Syriac Orthodox Church starts with
evening prayer on the 1st Sunday (Wedding of Cana) and
concludes with the Holy Kurbana/Mass on 8th Sunday
Lent? What's the purpose? How do I take part? by George
Is it possible to observe the Great Fast/Lent in our
current culture? What's the point of it anyway? It seems
like an ancient practice irrelevant today.
Lent for Dummies by
Christopher S. Wendell
Our scripture lesson gives us clues about what might be
good things to be doing during lent. Jesus suggests
generosity (giving alms), prayer, and self-denial
(fasting). Jesus doesn't tell us what to do or even why
but simply how – how to give alms, how to pray, and how
to fast. In this way we avoid the motivation of the
hypocrite and discover the deeper meaning of these
about Lent for Busy People by E.F. Pemberton
Do not let us forget the real object of our fast. We
deny ourselves to subdue our bodies, so that our
spiritual life may increase. We fast that we may be
stronger to fight against our besetting sin, our bad
habits, and faults. If you do not know, find out at once
what is your besetting sin, i.e., the sin you most
frequently commit; fight hard against it, and pray for
the opposite virtue every day.
Reflections: LENT as FEAST and FAST
Lent is more than just a
giving up. It is giving… developing a greater love
self and others. LENT can be a FEAST AND A FAST.
The Mystery of Lent
by Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
A season so sacred as this of Lent is rich in mysteries.
The Church has made it a time of recollection and
penance, in preparation for the greatest of all her
feasts; she would, therefore, bring into it everything
that could excite the faith of her children, and
encourage them to go through the arduous work of
atonement for their sins. ...
Lent by Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
Penance consists in contrition of the soul, and
mortification of the body; these two parts are essential
to it. The soul has willed the sin; the body has
frequently co-operated in its commission. Moreover, man
is composed of both soul and body; both, then, should
pay homage to their Creator.
Some Hints for Lent by
the Rt. Rev. A.C.A. Hall
The chief duties of Lent are Retirement, Prayer,
Fasting, Repentance, and Almsgiving.
Great Fast (50-day Fast)
by Rev. Fr. Johnson Punchakonam
During the Weeks of Great Fast (Valiya Nompu), Mar Thoma
Nazranis (St. Thomas Christians of India) meditate on
the Passion and Death of 'Iso-Msiha'. The fasting starts
immediately after the Petratha Sunday.
A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Bath and Wells to
his Clergy concerning their Behavior during Lent. By
Thomas Ken, D.D. London, 1688
Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well - A Lenten Reflection
A Lenten reflection based on St. John 4: 6
Are You Condemned?
My religion is Christianity. There are a set of
practices that are associated with the Christian
religion, but I think my Christian belief encompasses
much more than a set of practices or rules of behavior.
The Lent is meant to cleanse the whole being, both the
inner and chemical by being with God. How to clean the
physical man? The abstinence from food for hours and
days allow the body to consume all the toxins
accumulated by our day to day inherent infirmities.
Significance of Fasting in the Struggle against Fallen
Fasting is acceptable to God when it is preceded by the
great virtue of mercy; fasting prepares a reward in
heaven when it is foreign to hypocrisy and vainglory;
fasting works when it is joined with another great
virtue – prayer.
Conversion Through Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving
Lenten conversion is not a superficial renewal. What the
Lord wants is not just the change of bad habits and
worldly vices; He wants a clean soul and no
half-measures will do.
Fasting Enlightens the Soul
Fasting helps to have serenity of the soul because the
one, who hungers in his stomach, enlightens his
intellect. Therefore, the hunger is a key, which opens
the door of wisdom.
The General Canons of Fasting
Bar Ebroyo depends upon the decision of the Synod of
Laodicea and Patriarch Timotheos and Patriarch John III
of Antioch to describe the dos and don'ts in the great
Prostration/ Kneeling (Kumbideel)
'Namaskaram' means PRAYING ON KNEES. While praying, we
kneel or bend down before Almighty God. The whole
participation of human mind, soul and body in prayer
/worship is the peculiarity of orthodox worship.
Daily Time Alone with God
For many people this time of year brings more activities
and personal obligations. When this occurs, a
person's devotional times get squeezed out of their
daily schedule, and soon their relationship with the
Lord becomes distant. Having a daily Time Alone with God
is vital to keeping a strong, vibrant, relationship with
The Beauty of Humility
In a human being, there is nothing more beautiful, more
attractive than humility.
Here is a helpful examination of conscience, based on
the Ten Commandments. Perform a brief examination every
night, but go through a more thorough examination before
confessing your sins to the priest.
Confession - Orthodox Church
In Orthodox Church, the confession guides are typically centered
around the 10 Commandments and The Beatitudes. Here is an excerpt
from the Greek Orthodox Church Guide to Preparing for Confession.
Similar confessionals are used in other Orthodox Churches.
Preparing for Confession -
Guide for Adults
Here is a document prepared by a Catholic Lay member about preparing
for the Confession. It is an excellent article to prepare for a
Lifetime Confession and as a guide for the Examination of
Am I ready to
see the glory of God?
Following is an analysis of my Lenten experience based on the Gospel
readings of the last six Sundays as the guidelines to figure out
whether I am ready to see the glory of God.
Great Lent - A Time for Spiritual Renewal in Jesus
The Church gives us Great Lent to be renewed, to escape
the dreariness and weariness of life, and enter into the
bright joy of life in Jesus Christ.
Great Lent: A Season of Renewal for All
Prophet Isaiah was emphatic in arguing that lent and fasting are not
just pious "obligatory Observances" for the people of God, but a
tremendous transforming force. Being mortal and feeble, humans need
periodic renewal of body, mind and soul. How is this possible?
The Number and Days of
Fasts - Part 1
There are a number of fasts in the Syrian Orthodox Church and often
many questions are asked from the part of the believers as to the
dos and don'ts in the fasts, the beginning, duration, and ending of
the fasts etc.
The Number and Days of
Fasts - Part 2
Other than the fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays, there are five more
Fasts in a year. The great lent begins on the Monday coming closer,
before or after the full moon between second February and eighth
Benefits of Fasting
In accordance with the fact that Bar Ebroyo himself was a doctor, he
underlines through a quotation from the doctors of his time that
fasting improves the health of the body.
The Efficacy of Fasting and
the Different Categories of Fasting.
According to Bar Ebroyo, the fasting may be defined in terms of
time, of the kind of food or in terms of both time and food, and
they are the three different categories of fasting.
Shut Noah and Family in before the Flooding began
Since Noah walked with God during his life before the Great Flood,
he certainly knew about this key point which made him leave God's
job for God. There, we see an equilibrium between God's will and
Noah's obedience or submission.
Some Thoughts On The Holy Lent In Relation To The Nature
Each rubric of the liturgy is meticulously designed in such a manner
as to go in tune with the episodes of the incarnation of Christ and
in tandem with the tempo of the Nature where we live. It is
surprising that liturgical seasons of the church happen more or less
in the same timing as that of the natural seasons.
The essence of Lent:
Learning and struggling to bend our knees, mend our hearts, and lend
The prayers during lent remind us that there is no use of observing
lent if we do not change inside. No amount of abstinence from food
and other things will help us in any way if we do not bring about a
renewal inside us.
Great Lent in Syriac
Orthodox Church of Antioch
During the period of the Great Lent and other periods of fasting
throughout the year, an individual makes a special attempt or
connection to reach our God, and evaluate his calling as a
Christian, to listen to the voice of the Gospels and heed its
- An Explanation for Children
Fasting, prayer, confession, reconciliation, Holy Communion, charity
and capping with love are the steps to reach and experience the
resurrected Jesus in person.
Lessons from Zacchaeus - Importance of Lent
During this Great Lent, Jesus is asking us to learn from Zacchaeus
to realize our weaknesses and find remedies to them as he did. We
must realize our shortness in spiritual life, the falls we had in
the past and the sins we committed which together made us unable to
see Christ directly.
Friday of Great Lent and Annunciation to St. Mary Devotional
Humility is what we need to become faithful Christians. If we
carefully examine ourselves we may observe that almost always we are
trying to justify, defend, exalt or praise ourselves in our
interactions with others and sometimes even before God, knowingly or
unknowingly. This focus on self - our ego - can often keep us from
hearing God's voice and prevent us from being faithful in our walk
during Great Lent for Orthodox Christians
We Orthodox Christians, in obedience to the words of our Divine
Savior, and in imitation of the saints, set aside a period of
intense fasting and prayer in order to purify our spiritual senses
so we may see the Holy Resurrection.
When we have gone through the labor of
fasting, we forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand
how, and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct this
business; since that Pharisee also fasted, but afterwards went down
empty, and destitute of the fruit of fasting.
The Spirituality of
There are two different ways of looking at this fast because there
are two different versions of these forty days, or forty segments of
time, in the Scriptures. One is the blessing of the revelation of
what it is that we need to do in service to God and to humanity. And
the other is of the purification that needs to happen for God to set
things straight in us and around us.
We Syriac Christians observe 50 days lent in preparation for the
celebration of the resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday.
The Patriarchal Encyclical of
the Holy Great Lent 2010
The time for the Forty Days Holy Great Lent has arrived. It is a
golden opportunity offered by our mother holy church to examine
ourselves, to refrain from vices, uphold virtues, and return to God
with repentance. Like the eagle training his young ones to soar high
in the air, so does the holy church is training the faithful to soar
in spiritual heights, giving them the graceful means to be liberated
from earthly gravity that attracts them.
Study: Monthly fasting may
A study in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints is based, found that people who skipped meals once a month
were about 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with clogged
arteries than those who did not regularly fast.
Fasts and Feasts in Mar
Thoma Church: Fire for the Journey of Faith
There are a growing body of data from the causal conversations with
members of the church indicate that approximately more than fifty
percentage of members are not confident on the place of 'fast and
feasts' in the liturgical life of the church.
Holy Lent (Episcopal Church) by Rev. Frank Logue
A Brief Introduction to Lent for Folks Who Are New to Liturgical
Fasting is a
Great Weapon for Christians
A Lenten 'Weight
Loss' Program by Gary Zimak
Let’s face it, we are all weighed down to some extent by selfishness
and assorted vices. Given a choice, very few of us will choose
suffering over comfort. The Church gives us the season of Lent to
examine our souls and remove the extra "weight" that keeps us apart
from the Lord. Here are five simple steps that you can use during
Lent to identify and eliminate some of this excess "poundage" from
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