In the Orthodox Church, the last Sunday before Great Lent – the day on which, at Vespers, Lent is liturgically announced and inaugurated – is called Forgiveness Sunday. On the morning of that Sunday, at the Divine Liturgy, we hear the words of Christ:
"If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses..." (Mark 6:14-15)
The Crucifixion, fragment (Studenica Monastery, Serbia).Great Lent is the 40-day season of spiritual preparation that comes before the most important Feast of the Christian year, Holy Pascha (which means “Passover” and is commonly called “Easter”,). It is the central part of a larger time of preparation called the Triodion season.
The Triodion begins ten weeks before Easter and is divided into three main parts: three Pre-Lenten weeks of preparing our hearts, the six weeks of Lent, and Holy Week. The main theme of the Triodion is repentance—mankind's return to God, our loving Father.
This annual season of repentance is a spiritual journey with our Savior. Our goal is to meet the risen Lord Jesus, Who reunites us with God the Father. The Father is always waiting to greet us with outstretched hands. We must ask ourselves the question, “Are we willing to turn to Him?”
During Great Lent, the Church teaches us how to receive Him by using the two great means of repentance— prayer and fasting.
At the invitation of His Eminence Nicolae, archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary (SVOTS) traveled to Bucharest to sign a cooperative agreement between SVOTS and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, University of Bucharest. His visit, blessed by His Beatitude Daniel, archbishop of Bucharest, metropolitan of Muntenia and Dobrudgea, locum tenens of the throne of Caesarea of Cappadocia, patriarch of Romania, began on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee when he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Constantine and Helen.
During the first phase of the project “Digitalization, revision and expert processing of handwriting fund of the Library of the Serbian Patriarchate – compilation of the inventory of manuscripts”, a manuscript no. 214 was noticed. In its short description we found out that Zechariah Orfelin wrote this manuscript in XVIII century in Slavoserbian, and it has 927 pages. Knowing that in the literature about Orfelin is one monumental and controversial manuscript, known as Against Roman Papacy, which has been lost for a half of a century. We wonder whether this is that manuscript, which is the very significant work, both for theology and the national history of the Serbs in XVIII century?
His Grace Bishop Dr. Jovan of Nis participated in the 19th International Conference on the theme Traditional Values and Democratic Freedoms in Modern World, in Varna beginning on 18 February 2013. After the introductory address, in which he conveyed warm greetings from both Serbian Patriarch Irinej and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Bishop Jovan delivered a lecture on the theme: Saint John Chrysostom: Liturgical Ethos and Modernity.
What a tender scene the Meeting of the Lord shows us! The venerable elder Simeon, holding the infant God in his hands, on either side of him are the righteous Joseph and the Most Holy Mother of God. Not far away is the Prophetess Anna, an eighty-year-old faster and woman of prayer. Their eyes are all directed toward the Savior. Their attention is absorbed by Him and they drink in spiritual sweetness from Him, which feeds their souls. You can judge for yourself how blessed was the state of these souls!
However, brethren, we are called not only to think about this blessedness, but also to taste it in reality, for all are called to have and carry the Lord in themselves, and to disappear in Him with all the powers of their spirit. When we have reached that state, then our blessedness will be no lower than that of those who participated in the Meeting of the Lord. They were blessed who saw it; we shall be blessed who have not seen, but believed. Pay attention. I will show you briefly how to achieve this. Here is what you should do.