Triodian and Great Lent

The cycle of movable feasts is based on the date of Pascha (Easter) which varies from year to year. This cycle begins with Triodian.  A table of dates for the start of Triodian, Great Lent and Pascha in coming years can be found here                                         

Triodian consists of the four Sundays immediately preceding Lent. Each Sunday has a special theme and readings, designed to prepare us for Lent.

The four Sundays of Triodian are The four Sundays of Triodian are

  • Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14)
  • Sunday of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
  • Sunday of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46)
  • Sunday of Forgiveness (Matthew 6:16-18)

The Monday following Forgiveness Sunday marks the start of Great Lent which lasts for forty days, concluding on the eve of Lazarus Saturday (recall that the Church day begins at sunset)

Great Lent

Great Lent is the period where we prepare ourselves for Holy Week and Pascha

We do this by fasting, that is abstaining from meat, dairy products and fish. Wine and oil should also be avoided  except on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Divine liturgy is not celebrated on weekdays during this period although the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts may be on Wednesdays and Fridays.

During Lent the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is replaced with the Liturgy of St Basil the Great

As with Triodian each of the five  Sundays of Great Lent  has a special theme.

  • Sunday of Orthodoxy (John 1:43-51)(
  • Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas (Mark 2:1-12)
  • Sunday of the Holy Cross (Mark 8:34-9.1)
  • Sunday of St. John Climacus (Mark 9:17-31)
  • Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt (Mark 10:32-45)

The final day of Lent is called Lazarus Saturday and at Sunset on this day Holy Week begins, the final week before the Feast of Feasts, Pascha.

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