Archive for the ‘Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare)’ Category

How to learn to forgive. Sunday of Forgiveness, 2012

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Bliny Stack

Forgiveness Sunday is not all about this!

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Synopsis: On Forgiveness Sunday, on the precipice of Great Lent, we hear in the Gospel the last important piece of essential information for preparation for Great Lent and salvation in general. Forgiveness is the most important topic here, after we have been taught about in the preceding Sundays about the Judgment, the process of sin and repentance, and the deadly sin of judging others. The first and last Sundays of preparation are like bookends, because the man who judges will not forgive, and the man who forgives will not judge. We talk about, mainly, how we can learn to forgive others. This is mostly from us knowing ourselves. This skill is not optional, because our Lord said "if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses".

A personal note: I get very little feedback about my homilies, but this one "felt good", and later I was told by someone whose opinion I trust that this was one of my best homilies

More homilies on the Sunday of Forgiveness are HERE

MANY homilies on the Sundays of Great Lent are HERE

Homilies on the First Sunday of Great Lent are HERE

Matthew 6:14-21 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


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Now it is high time to awake out of sleep; exegesis of the Epistle for the Sunday of Forgiveness.

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

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Synopsis: The Epistle for the Sunday of Forgiveness is a perfect introduction into the purpose and aim of Great Lent.

Homilies on Forgiveness Sunday (Cheesefare) are HERE

Homilies on the first Sundday of great Lent are HERE

Romans 13:11-14:4 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.


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Forgiveness Sunday And Cheesefare Sunday. Instructions For Great Lent. Romans 13:11-14 Matthew 6:14-21

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

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Synopsis: The Epistle and Gospel for today provide excellent instructions for the beginning of Great Lent, as a thorough exegesis of these readings shows. Let us understand what the purpose of Great Lent is and understand how we can "make no provision for the flesh" in order to learn to forgive completely.

More homilies on Forgiveness Sunday are HERE

Romans 13:11-14:4 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Matthew 6:14-21 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


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Forgiveness Sunday And Cheesefare Sunday. The Triodion teaches us how to think.

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

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Synopsis:An exposition of two hymns from the Triodion for Forgiveness Sunday, after Vespers. It is important to know how to think about ourselves and God, and how to approach God in prayer. More than any other season, the Triodion teaches this in almost every hymn. We look in detail at the hymns:

"Adam was cast out of Paradise through eating from the tree. / Seated before the gates he wept, / lamenting with a pitiful voice and saying: / 'Woe is me, what have I suffered in my misery! / I transgressed one commandment of the Master, / and now I am deprived of every blessing. / O most holy Paradise, / planted for my sake and shut because of Eve, / pray to Him that made thee and fashioned me, / that once more I may take pleasure in thy flowers.' / Then the Savior said to him: " and

"O Master, Guide to wisdom, / Giver of prudent counsel, / Instructor of the foolish and Champion of the poor, / make firm my heart and grant it understanding. / O Word of the Father, give me words, / for see, I shall not stop my lips from crying out to Thee: / I am fallen, // in Thy compassion have mercy on me."

More homilies on the Sunday of Forgiveness are HERE


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The Sunday of Forgiveness We are going to do violence now.

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.[1]

Today is the Sunday of Forgiveness, and it is also the day we enter Great Lent.  After we pray the Vespers service of Forgiveness early this afternoon, we will then be in the Holy Fast.  Why is it that we fast?  We have a blueprint for our life, and why we fast, in the Gospel today. 

Today is also interesting, because we are also commemorating the Finding of the Head of the Forerunner, and so we have this additional Gospel reading that has much richness in it. I want to quickly focus on one thing that it said:

 

"… the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."[2]

 

We are going to do violence now.  We are setting out on a path of doing violence to the violent one.  We are casting that which is corrupt within us, and the Church has given us a path to do so. 

 

Our Lord said, first of all, "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you."[3]

 

First and foremost in the Christian life is to forgive.   To forgive is to be like God – because God forgives all.  God loves all, without any respect for persons.  So when we forgive, we are participating in the energy of God.  We are acting like God!  And indeed, that is what we are to do.  In the scripture it says, "Ye are gods"[4].  We are to act like gods.  We are to acquire virtue, compassion, holiness, yea, even perfection, because the scriptures also say, "Be ye perfect, as my heavenly Father is perfect"[5].

 

So one must become like unto God, and the first step is to forgive.

 

And He says, "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."[6]

 

This is actually a promise and a threat, but the promise is so much more powerful than the threat.  Oh, yes, if you do not forgive, you won't be saved.  If you hold grudges, even though someone has harmed you greatly in this life, you won’t be saved, because, over and over, the Church says, the Holy Scripture says, the saints say, the Holy Spirit says: forgive, forgive, forgive.

 

And if you do forgive, what will happen?   You will see Christ.  You won’t be corrupt anymore.  You'll have peace, you'll have rest.  The promise is greater than the threat.  Absolutely.

 

And then He gives us some counsel about fasting. 

 

"Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."[7]

 

These are among the most terrible words in all of scripture: "They have their reward."  This life, this life of corruption, and foul odors, and difficulties, and sadness and strife, and tempests – that is where they have their reward.  These are terrible words.  So if you want your reward now, God will give it to you.  You can be as a hypocrite, you can make it appear that you are holy, and some people will say, "Isn't that remarkable what he is doing.  I could not do that.  He must be filled with the Holy Spirit."  But if you have the reward only now, your life is a total waste.

 

Then He tells us, in a figure through the glass darkly, as it were, what our reward will be.  He says,

 

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."[8] 

 

Do you know what we have been promised?  The entire world tells us a story of death, dying, difficulties, passions and sadness – all the world.  No matter how rich a man becomes, the world is a difficult place because within, there is a pitched battle.  And a man with a conscience is not at peace with who he is.  He wants to become better.  The whole world is corrupt, all we ever see. 

 

But what does He say?  "If you lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven, they do not corrupt.  They will last forever."  These are amazing thoughts here: Forever.  No corruption. Full of satisfaction, peace, rest. 

 

I do not have a day that I am at rest.  There is not a day that I do not endure sadness.  There is not a day that I do not sin.  But there will be a day, in the eighth day, if I struggle now, and also, if you struggle, that we will be in the presence of God.  The mind cannot conceive and understand what this means, because all we see is corruption, and everything changes.  It is so hard to stay good.  Things change all the time, and so often, it seems, for the worse.  But our Lord and Savior is telling us, If we lay up treasures for ourselves now, in heaven they will not corrupt.  We won't corrupt!"

 

In the other reading, John, a great man, greatest born of woman, could not understand.  It was so incomprehensible to him that the Messiah had actually come.  He believed, but he was full of wonderment, so he sent his disciples to Christ, and our Lord said, "Look at the evidence.  The blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them."[9]  That is the greatest miracle. It gives people hope.  It makes people know what they are alive for.  We know what our Lord can do.

 

The evidence is all there, even though the world constantly countermands and slanders that evidence, every single day of our life, but we know the truth!  And this is why we are entering upon the Fast.  Because we want to lay up treasures in heaven, and we want to win the kingdom of Heaven by violence – violence against our passions, violence against that which saddens us – that part of us which is incomplete.  We want to cast it out, so that we can be filled.  That's why we fast.

 

The reason one must forgive is because the task in our life is to become like God, to be filled with Him, and to become like Him morally – to share in the energies of God.  His love for us will transfigure us and make us incorrupt.  And a man cannot become incorrupt, he cannot become like God, if fundamentally he disavows himself from that most fundamental aspect of God: God is love.  Love forgives.  Love forgives seventy times seven times; love forgives infinite times.  No matter how great the transgression, the forgiveness is greater.

 

This is why we begin Great Fast with Forgiveness ceremony.  No, it is not just a ceremony.  Every man who looks into his heart sees that he falls short with every breath he takes, and that he wrongs every man.  If you see one of your brothers or sisters, and they have a difficulty, some conflict in their marriage, or with their children or with some substance or some other such thing – we all fall into difficulties – you should berate yourself and say, "Have I prayed for my brother?  Have I done something to help my brother?  Is it possible that he or she is in peril because of my incompetence?"  That's why we ask forgiveness of one another, even if we have not exactly offended everyone specifically.  But then again there might be grudges that need to be settled today, too, and we must do this if we wish to enter into the Fast.

 

The Apostle says,

"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. "[10]

 

This is the time.  The church sets aside this time, this tithe, or tenth, of the year, so that we would be able to intensify and remember who we are, and who God is, and change.  The first step is to forgive, and then we proceed with the Fast.  And I tell you it will be difficult.  I have been through seventeen of them, and all of them were difficult.

 

 

We all have our different temptations.  One is tempted to eat meat.  Another is tempted to be angry.  Another is tempted to fall into despondency.  Another is tempted in another way.  As many souls as there are, so many temptations are there.  But we struggle together as a community praying for one another and fasting and believing that there is a reward and that it is permanent. 

 

Nothing in this life – nothing – is permanent, and we are living for permanence.  And when I think of these thoughts, it makes it a bit easier to abstain from this food or that, or to make more prostrations, or to forgive my brother, even when he has harmed me, even when he has hurt me purposefully, because everything in this life is going away, except for how we have lived.  The way we have lived, if it is holy, is going to endure

 

There is something else during this great fast all of you should do.  It is very important for us to pray for one another, and also to pray for Paul, Susan and Seth.  They are going to be made catechumens next week.  We are going to have the service to make them catechumens, and the exorcism part of the service, just before Liturgy next Sunday. I would ask you and admonish you, as ones who love, because He loved us, that you will be here to support them in prayer, and not just on Sunday, but during the whole time of their catechuminate, that they would learn of sweetness, learn about faith, about the sweetness you can never have enough of.  And yet indeed there will come a time when we will have enough, but not in this life; in the next life.  We will be completely filled with Him if we live now according to Who He is.  Amen

 

 

 

Romans 13:11-14 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. {12} The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. {13} Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. {14} But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. {41:1} Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. {2} For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. {3} Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. {4} Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

 

Matthew 6:14-21 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: {15}But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. {16} Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. {17}But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; {18} That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. {19} Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 1999.    

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[1] This homily was transcribed from one given in 1999, on the Sunday of Forgiveness, the last Sunday before Great Lent.  There are some stylistic changes and minor corrections made and several footnotes have been added, but otherwise, it is essentially in a colloquial, “spoken” style.

 

It is hoped that something in these words will help and edify the reader, but a sermon read from a page cannot enlighten a soul as much as attendance and reverent worship at the Vigil service, which prepares the soul for the Holy Liturgy, and the hearing of the scriptures and the preaching of them in the context of the Holy Divine Liturgy.  In such circumstances the soul is enlightened much more than when words are read on a page.

[2] Mat 11:12, partial

[3] Mat 6:14

[4] Psalm 82:6, Isaiah 41:23, John 10:34

[5] (Mat 5:48)  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

[6] Mat 6:15

[7] Mat 6:16

[8] Mat 6:19-21

[9] (Mat 11:5)  "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

[10] Romans 13:11

 

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The Liturgical Theme of the Sunday of Forgiveness, The Casting out of Adam from Paradise. The prerequisite for true forgiveness.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011


The Liturgical Theme of the Sunday of Forgiveness, The Casting out of Adam from Paradise

The prerequisite for true forgiveness.

 

Adam and Eve Lamenting. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/adam-and-eve-lamenting.jpg (Source: http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Collections/Genesis/CX4K2306_l.html)

(http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Collections/Genesis/CX4K2306_l.html)

Adam and Eve Lamenting

 

What is the dominant liturgical theme of Forgiveness Sunday? This is not a trick question. It is NOT that we would forgive our brethren. The theme is concerning the absolute prerequisite for us to be able to forgive others. Without this virtue, we are lost, having darkened understanding, and blindly stumbling through life.

 

The services for Forgiveness Sunday, also known as the “Casting out of Adam from Paradise. are full references about our *personal* sinfulness. The overall theme is contemplating the Garden of Eden and OUR fall. Although Adam and Eve were the only ones who sinned in the garden of Eden, in our services, their sin is personalized as our own. The services are full of *personal*, *first person* confessions and lamentations, and often in the same hymn, self-exhortations and confident pleas for mercy.

 

Here are some examples, truly few among many from Vespers and Matins:

 

Come, my wretched soul, and weep today over thine acts, remembering how once thou wast stripped naked in Eden, and cast out from delight and unending joy. (Matins Canon, Ode I)

 

In my wretchedness, O Lord, I have disobeyed Thy command­ment. / Woe is me! I have been stripped of glory, / filled with shame, and cast out from the joy of Paradise. / I have been justly deprived of Thy blessings: // but in Thy mercy and compassion take pity on me. (The expostilarion,  Glory…, from the Triodion)

 

 

Casting out of Adam and Eve from Paradise http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/casting-out-of-adam-and-eve-from-paradise.jpg (source:http://saintsilouan.org/calendar/pre-lenten-sundays/casting-out-from-paradise/)

The casting out of Adam and Eve from Paradise.

 

We will not forgive others; neither will we be able to forgive others unless we have a realistic view of ourselves. If we know ourselves, we will be softened with humility, and will not judge others. If we are lightened of the burden of judging others, we will freely forgive them, and according to the Gospel dogma, we will be forgiven of all of our sins.

 

This is why, on the day in which we ask forgiveness of all our brethren, we prepare ourselves by contemplating our sinfulness and the great tragedy of The Fall – Our fall.

 

The world and worldly Christianity (to make an oxymoronic association) does not spend much (or any!) time with personal introspection and admission of faults. The church is not worldly, and is brutally honest regarding human nature. We should listen carefully to the services because we need to find a cure for our spiritual blindness. The best time to apply a healing plaster to our pride, vainglory and blindness to self is when we stand and pray the whole of Matins and especially the Matins canon. Any pastor who serves the vigil knows this and has the fervent hope that his flock will attend the vigil with expectation and zeal.

 

From recent reading:

 

44. He who is afraid of being cast out of the bridal chamber as an interloper[1] should either carry out all of God’s commandments, or else he should strive to fulfill just one of them – humility (Ilias the presbyter, Gnomic Anthology I, from the Philolakia, The complete text, Volume 3, pg39.)

 

Careful prayer in the services and in our daily prayers will help produce the humility that St Ilias is speaking of. Of course, he is not advocating that we “only” be humble – as such a feat is IMPOSSIBLE. The truly humble man will forgive all, and fulfill the two great commandments[2] with exactitude. Without humility, we have no chance to recognize our own sins, and with a darkened mind, will judge our brother, and condemn ourselves. It is important that we meditate upon our human condition.

 

The church gives the perfect example of how to do this – a balance of lamentation and hope in God’s mercy. Without both these actions, we will never fully forgive our brother.

 

I beg all my flock to change their usual patterns and attend the entire Saturday vigil with expectation. The themes of repentance and hope in God will be particularly rich this season. “Come and see” whether there are changes that occur in your soul because of your increased attention to prayer.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

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[1] Cf Matthew 22:1-13 and especially: “Mat 22:11: And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:  (12)  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.  (13)  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

[2] Mat 22:36-40 KJV  “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  (37)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  (38)  This is the first and great commandment.  (39)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  (40)  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

 

 

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St Mary of Egypt. Two ways to learn to love. Audio Homily 2010.

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

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Now it is high time to awake out of sleep. Forgiveness Sunday Audio Homily 2010.

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

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Romans 13:11-14:4 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Matthew 6:14-21 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.



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Questions on Forgiveness Sunday

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This coming Sunday is the "Sunday of Forgiveness", the last day before the beginning of Great Lent. Here are a few questions and answers about this day.

QUESTION 1

Why Is Forgiveness Sunday so-called?


St Tikhon answers this question quite well:

"Today is called "Forgiveness Sunday". It received this name from the pious Orthodox Christian custom at Vespers of asking each other’s forgiveness for discourtesy and disrespect. We do so, since in the forthcoming fast we will approach the sacrament of Penance and ask the Lord to forgive our sins, which forgiveness will be granted us only if we ourselves forgive each other. "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matt. 6.14, 15)" (From a sermon by St Patriarch Tikhon, when he was Bishop of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. 1901. Text taken from email posted to an Orthodox mailing list)


QUESTION 2

What event is commemorated on Forgiveness Sunday?


 

On the last Sunday before Great Lent begins, we remember the expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise.

Adam was banished from Paradise through disobedience / and cast out from delight, / beguiled by the words of a woman. / Naked he sat outside the garden, lamenting ‘Woe is me!’ / Therefore let us all make haste to accept the season of the Fast / and hearken to the teaching of the Gospel, / that we may gain Christ’s mercy // and receive once more a dwelling-place in Paradise. (Sticheron from Lord I have cried, 6th tone, Forgiveness Sunday)


QUESTION 3

The last weekend before Great Lent is the last time we do several things. Can you think of three things that are not done again until after Great Lent (or even well after Pascha)?


 

Forgiveness Sunday is the last day in which we eat milk, cheese, eggs and other dairy products until Pascha.

It is also the last Sunday we will serve St. John Chrysostom’s liturgy until Palm Sunday (which, by the way, is not considered to be in Great Lent). During the holy fast, St Basil’s liturgy is served on Sundays.

The matins service for this weekend is the last time the theologically rich and compunctionate singing of "By the Waters of Babylon" psalm until next year. It is only sung in church the three Sundays that precede Great Lent.


QUESTION 4

Fasting is discussed in the services on Forgiveness Sunday, and all the days of Great Lent. What *most important* kind of fasting is stressed over and over?


 

The services of the church and the fathers stress over and over that our physical fast from food is useless if we do not also strive to "fast" from our iniquities. Fasting from food is an important aid to the help purify the soul, and to gain in virtue.

The season of the virtues now has come / and the Judge is at the door. / Let us not hold back with darkened face, / but let us keep the Fast, / offering tears, contrition and almsgiving; / and let us cry: / ‘Our sins are more in number than the sand of the sea; / but, Deliverer of all, forgive each one of us, // that we may receive an incorruptible crown.’ (Sessional Hymns after the 1st Psalter Reading)

The arena of the virtues has been opened. / Let all who wish to struggle for the prize now enter, / girding themselves for the noble contest of the Fast; / for those that strive lawfully are justly crowned. / Taking up the armor of the Cross, / let us make war against the enemy. / Let us have as our invincible rampart the Faith, / prayer as our breastplate, and as our helmet almsgiving; / and as our sword / let us use fasting that cuts away all evil from our heart. / If we do this, we shall receive the true crown // from Christ the King of all at the Day of Judgment. (Praises)

Adam was driven out of Paradise, / because in disobedience he had eaten food; / but Moses was granted the vision of God, / because he had cleansed the eyes of his soul by fasting. / If then we long to dwell in Paradise, / let us abstain from all needless food; / and if we desire to see God, / let us like Moses fast for forty days. / With sincerity let us persevere in prayer and intercession; / let us still the passions of our soul; / let us subdue the rebellious instincts of the flesh. / With light step let us set out upon the path to heaven, / where the choirs of angels with never-silent voice / sing the praises of the undivided Trinity; / and there we shall behold the surpassing beauty of the Master. / O Son of God, Giver of Life, / in Thee we set our hope: / count us worthy of a place there with the angelic hosts, / at the intercessions of the Mother who bore Thee, O Christ, / of the apostles and the martyrs // and of all the saints.’ (Praises)


QUESTION 5

What is commemorated next Sunday (the first Sunday of Great Lent)?


 

On the first Sunday of Great Lent we celebrate the "Triumph of Orthodoxy".


QUESTION 6

What is the fasting typicon for next week, and all the days in the Lenten season?


 

During all of Great Lent, we eat no animal products (with one exception). We abstain from all flesh meat, fish, milk, cheese and other milk products, eggs, olive oil, wine and hard liquor on all weekdays (Monday through and including Friday). On the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), the fast is relaxed a little. We can have olive oil or wine if we wish. On Annunciation, fish is allowed, since this is such a joyful feast of the Mother of God.


QUESTION 7

During Great Lent, we sing the long and rich canon of St Andrew of Crete. When and in which services?


 

The first 4 evening of Great Lent (Clean Monday through Clean Thursday), we serve Great Compline, and a portion of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. During Matins for the 5th Thursday of Great Lent, (usually served Wednesday evening), we read the life of St. Mary of Egypt, and chant the Great Canon in its entirety.


QUESTION 8

Describe the dialogue in the Great canon. Who is speaking? Who is being spoken to?


 

The Great Canon is a one way dialogue of St Andrew speaking to his soul. We would do well to put ourselves in his place when the canon is being chanted.


QUESTION 9

Describe in general terms the content of the Great Canon.


 

The Great canon is a dialogue between St Andrew of Crete and his soul. He brings to bear many examples of the righteous and the unrighteous from the Old and New Testaments in order to show himself good and bad examples, make himself ashamed of his sins, and spur himself to repentance. There is also significant mystical theology and typology that the saint elucidates in the midst of his lamentations.


QUESTION 10

What are the essential virtues that are a necessity for salvation that shine forth brightly in the words of the Great Canon?


 

The Great canon speaks continually of these two virtues:: Humility, and with it, self-knowledge, and with these two, hope in God, because of knowledge of WHO HE IS.

 

This document is at: http://www.orthodox.net/questions/forgiveness_sunday_1.html

 

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Sunday Of Forgiveness 2009. “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

Sunday, March 1st, 2009




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Romans 13:11-14:4 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Matthew 6:14-21 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

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