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The longest fasting period in the Orthodox Christian calendar begins

Today is the first day of the longest fasting period in Orthodox Christian tradition. This year the Orthodox Easter falls on May 2 and the Great Lent begins 40 days earlier- on March 15. It is the longest period of fasting in Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Great Lent is associated with Jesus Christ’s forty days of fasting in the desert. Along with the abstinence of animal food, Christians abstain from bad and sinful thoughts, words and deeds. Thus, believers cleanse their souls and bodies and prepare to welcome Pascha.

Every week during the Great Lent is dedicated to certain events or personalities, whose deeds are a symbol of humility and repentance. The first week of the Great Lent is a time of special prayers and stricter abstinence. This is the time when boiled wheat is consecrated at the temple in memory of the Great Martyr Theodore Tyron (March 20). The day is also known in Bulgaria as Todorovden.

The last week of the Great Lent is called the Holy Week. During the Holy Week, Christians recall the events from the last days of Christ’s life on Earth, especially his sufferings, death and burial. That is why the Holy Week is also known as Passion Week.

You can learn more details about this period of humility and abstinence in Radio Bulgaria’s articles: “Fasting- a different perspective in our workaday lives and during festive season” and “Brave Todor shoeing his horse..”

Written by: Gergana Mancheva

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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