The Sunday of Forgiveness, the last of the preparatory Sundays before Great Lent, has two themes: it commemorates Adam’s expulsion from Paradise, and our need for forgiveness…Lent is a time when we weep with Adam and Eve before the closed gate of Eden, repenting with them for the sins that have deprived us of our free communion with God. But Lent is also a time when we prepare for Christ’s death and rising and the reopening of Paradise to us once more (Luke 23:43). Sorrow for our exile in sin is renewed by hope of our re-entry into Paradise.
The second theme, that of forgiveness, is emphasized in the Gospel reading for this Sunday (Matthew 6:14-21) and in the special ceremony of mutual forgiveness at the end of the Vespers on Sunday evening. Before we enter the Lenten fast, we are reminded that there can be no true fast, no genuine repentance, no reconciliation with God, unless we are at the same time reconciled with one another. A fast without mutual love is the fast of demons. We do not travel the road of Lent as isolated individuals but as members of a family. Our asceticism and fasting should not separate us from others, but should link us to them with ever-stronger bonds.
The Sunday of Forgiveness is also known as Cheesefare Sunday. This is the last day that dairy products can be eaten before the Lenten fast. The full fast begins the following day on Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent.
Read the entire essay on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.
Forgiveness Vespers on Sunday Evening March 13 at 5:00pm
Forgiveness Vespers is the first service of Great Lent. Do plan to attend. It transforms our souls.
From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website:
On the evening of the Sunday of Forgiveness the Church conducts the first service of Great Lent, the Vespers of Forgiveness, a service that directs us further on the path of repentance and helps us to acknowledge our need for forgiveness from God and to seek forgiveness from our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the first time that the Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim accompanied by prostrations is read. At the end of the service all the faithful approach the priest and one another asking for mutual forgiveness.
Orthodox Christians are encouraged to enter Great Lent in repentance and confession by attending these services, coming for the Sacrament of Confession, and dedicating themselves to worship, prayer, and fasting throughout the Lenten period. The first day of Lent, Clean Monday, signifies the beginning of a period of cleansing and purification of sins through repentance.
Saturday of the Souls Liturgy on Saturday, March 12, 2016
The Saturday of the Souls liturgy for Lent will be held Saturday, March 12 at 9:30. Bring your names and kolyva. The table will be prepared. Put the names of your loved ones who have passed from this life in the basket and place three candles in the kolyva which will be lit before the Memorial Prayers begin.
If you don’t have kolyva bring your names and place them in the basket anyway. These prayers are important.
Lenten Service Schedule
Saturday, March 12 Saturday of the Souls
Divine Liturgy 9:30
Sunday, March 13 – Cheesefare Sunday
Divine Liturgy 9:30am
Forgiveness Vespers 5:00pm
Lent Begins on Monday, March 14
Monday, March 14
Great Compline 6:30pm
Tuesday, March 15
Great Compline 6:30pm
Wednesday, March 16
Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm
Thursday, March 17
Great Compline 6:30pm
Friday, March 18
First Stanza Salutations 6:30pm
The St. Peter Lenten Service Schedule is available on the website.
Lenten Service Books
Salutation and Akathist (Friday evening services)
The Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos in a new translation by Father Seraphim Dedes, presented in Greek and English on opposite pages. Text is metered.
Order your copy through the Holy Cross Bookstore either online or call (800) 245-0599. We will have a few extra copies at Church for visitors.
Holy Week (Palm Sunday Evening through Agape Service)
This year we will be using the Holy Week Service Book of the Antiochian Archdiocese during Holy Week. If you would like one for private use please order it from Ancient Faith Publishing. The price is $35.00.
Includes the three Bridegroom services, the three Liturgies of the Presanctified Gifts; the service of Holy Unction; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy and 12 Passion Gospels of Holy Thursday; the Royal Hours, Vespers, and Lamentations of Holy Friday; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning; Great and Holy Pascha; and the Agape Vespers of Sunday afternoon.
Presanctified Liturgy (Wednesday Evenings)
There are many copies of Presanctified Liturgies all essentially the same except for the English translations and a few moveable hymns. Almost any book will do. For services we will be using the version supplied weekly on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.
Two suggestions are:
- Ninth Hour and Typica / The Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts of St. Gregory the Dialogist for Wednesdays of Great Lent. This version is more difficult to follow but a good edition. Order from Antiochian Village Bookstore. Price: $12
- The Lenten Liturgies. The translation is a bit wooden but services are very easy to follow. Order from Holy Cross book store. Price: $22.
Printing Services from Your Computer
Some of the services we use can be found on the internet. This page lists all the services that you can print out and use. Most of the services we use not found in books will be taken from here.
Youth and Adult Bible Studies Postponed Until After Lent
Last Adult Bible Study on Tuesday, March 8 at 7:00pm.
Come to church instead.
Choir Practice Resumes on Wednesdays at 5:30pm
Special emphasis will be given to the hymns of Lent.
He removed grace from you so that you may become wise. But it will come again. It does not abandon you. This is a law of God. But it will leave again. Yet once more it will come. As long as you don’t stop seeking it, it will keep coming and going until it renders you perfect.
– Elder Joseph the Hesychast
Are you rich? Display much bountifulness! Have you become poor? Show much endurance and patience! For neither is wealth an evil, nor poverty in itself; but these things, either of them, become so according to the free choice of those who make use of them.
– St. John Chrysostom
Memory is the cabinet of the imagination, the treasury of reason, the registry of conscience, and the council chamber of thought.
– St. Basil the Great
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Remember in Your Prayers
Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.
How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.
For Sunday of Forgiveness
Sing praises to our God, sing praises. Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
O clap your hands, all ye nations.
The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. (13:11-14:4)
Brethren, salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.
For Sunday of Forgiveness
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (6:14-21)
The Lord said to His Disciples: If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.