The First Week of Great Lent – Clean Monday. An Anthem for Great Lent and all of Life.


Wash yourselves, and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17.learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. 18.Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: and though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they red like crimson, I will make them white as wool. 19.If then ye be willing, and obedient unto Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; 20.but if ye desire not, nor will obey me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.(Is 1:1-20, First Monday of Great Lent, the Sixth Hour)


Everyone needs to frequently wash. The accumulated grime of the day is unsightly, unpleasant and unhealthy. If we wash carefully, and ignore no dirty place, then we will be invigorated, and healthy, but if we ignore some place for a long time, that place will fester and cause us to be ill.


Great Lent is especially a time for careful washing. In us there may be wicked ways: thoughts, feelings, priorities and habits that are not immediately apparent, and are all displeasing to God.


This time is a time to consciously attempt to put away wicked ways from ourselves just as we put away from ourselves certain foods.  How to do this? By listening and seeking, with diligence and proper priorities. This will lead to actions accomplished with a merciful heart, that is:


“learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow”.


Why should we make all this effort? Because some stains are so dark and embedded that we cannot of our own effort wash them out, and their ugliness and stench will always be with us, but if the Lord sees our resolve and or effort, He will wash us so that the scarlet and crimson of our sins, and even of our sinful nature and predilections will be annihilated and forgotten, and will not return to infect us again.


18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”


And those who struggle, with an honest and good heart, will inherit the good of the land, and know the Lord.



SIXTH HOUR – Clean Monday Isaiah 1:1-20  1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.


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

New material throughout the year is posted on our BLOG:

Lenten meditations, full lectionary, full services, rubrics, catechesis, and more:

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!


  1. “Great Lent is especially a time for careful washing”.

    Indeed, it’s a time for us to prepare (each in his own spiritual measure) for appearing in front of God every moment, as we don’t know when we are going to be called. It is so evident, but we tend to forget about it in our daily life. to be more exact – prefer not to think about it, as it’s very binding, and presupposed great responsibility for all our actions & thoughts – which is very hard…

    The Lent is the time when there is “no way out”, no avoiding the evident. and this is again God’s gift to us, and for us!

    The Great Lent is the time when we place ourselves in front of God – all our words, actions, thoughts, intentions, all movements of our soul should be as if He is very close to us. And He really is, He looks at you and either approves, or disapproves. This is a deed – to stand, to walk in front of God, in our special consideration of Him, in our attitude to Him. Strange as it might seem – is it a heroic deed? It is happiness, the highest privilege, the execution of the most incredible dream – to be in front of Him & so close to Him! But is is fully felt by the righteous…For me it’s still difficult & too responsible…As I am not yet His son, but still a “hireling”.

    The Great Lent is the time when we are given a chance to become closer to God, and to try to become closer to the state of His sons.

    Asking for your blessing & prayers for me….

  2. I don’t think it is so much that we are not yet sons and daughters, but hirelings, as it is more like we are sons and daughters that still think and behave like hirelings. Great Lent is the time to struggle out of our sleepy delusions, to really wake up to the fact, the Reality, that we ARE, through Christ, the adopted sons and daughters of God!

    As St. Paul described it, children in the household are basically treated as underlings until they grow-up and come of age:

    “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
    And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:1-7

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *