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Lent in Orthodox Christianity

Wooden ChurchLent is the most important and longest fast in Christianity. The main purpose of fasting is the preparation for Easter. Lent is a reminder of the forty-day fasting of the Savior (Jesus Christ) in the desert, and it introduces the faithful in Holy Week, and then to the main Christian holiday - Bright Resurrection of Christ.

Lent consists of 48 days and is divided into four parts: Lent (the first forty days), Lazarus Saturday (have the 6-th Saturday of Lent), entry of Christ into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) (6-th Sunday of Lent) and Good Week (week).

Lent (the first forty days) recalls about the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert, preparing for the sermon. So during Lent the faithful prepare for the Easter and Christian life in general, praying and struggling with their sins. Holy Week is the last week of Lent. This week (actually 6 days) is devoted to memories of suffering, death on the cross and burial of Jesus Christ. All the days of Holy Week are called the Great: Great Monday, Tuesday and so on.

Great Lent - a preparation for Easter

During Lent the preparation for the Easter is corporeal and spiritual. Spiritual preparation means that during the Lent more time is dedicated to prayer, spiritual reading and disposal of all sinful. The corporeal preparation supposes the exclusion the food forbidden to eat during a fast, preference is given only to Lenten food. Also during the Lent everyone prepares for the Communion, confesses and makes the communion at least once.

What is not forbidden to eat during the Lent

Lenten fare

While fasting, you are not to eat meat, fish, eggs, milk, to eat more than once a day, smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. Permission is granted only to plant foods (fruits, vegetables, dried fruit), salted (pickled cabbage, salted and pickled cucumbers), dried crusts, bread rings, tea, mushrooms, nuts, bread black and gray, kissels, oatmeal, cooked in the water. It is also necessary for the entire period of Forgiveness Happy Easter Sunday to eliminate bodily pleasures and ribaldry.

On Saturdays and Sundays are allowed to eat vegetable oil, wine and eat twice a day. If the holidays coincide with Lent, fasting is less strict. For example, on Lazarus Saturday you can eat caviar, and on the Annunciation (April 7) and on Palm Sunday - the fish.

The most severe days of Lent are its first four days, and the entire Holy Week. In general, there can’t be eaten anything on Monday (first day of fasting), and Great Friday (last Friday before Easter, dedicated to the memory of death on the cross of Jesus Christ, the withdrawal His body from the cross and burial). In the very first Friday of Lent can be eaten only boiled wheat, sweetened with honey or sugar.

In the rest of the fast of food goes on a scheduled: Monday, Wednesday and Friday – dry food eating (water, bread, fruits, vegetables, stewed fruit), Tuesday, Thursday - hot food without butter, Saturday and Sunday - the food with vegetable oil. 

The weakening of the fast with the Jesus Christblessing of the priest is allowed for the sick, elderly, traveling, pregnant. Although there is a dogma about the restrictions, and on some days and the refusal of food, the main thing during the Lent is the spiritual purification of man. "The true fasting is the removing of the evil, curbing language, the deposition of anger, the taming of passions, the cessation of slander, lies, perjury."

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