History, traditions
Author`s name Ольга Савка

The Orthodox begin the Great Lent

Alexi II urges for forgiving pain and offenses

The last Sunday before beginning of the Great Lent, the Day of Pardon, the Patriarch of Russia and All-Russia Alexi II served the mass of the Lord's Supper in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The Patriarch called upon the faithful to forgive pain and offenses people had caused each other.

Alexi II told his parish: “I once again call upon you to forgive each other. In case I personally offended one of you voluntarily or not, if I was careless of your troubles or problems, I beg your pardon.”

According to the Patriarch, on Sunday of Pardon each of us must think about those whom we have offended, censured and did not help in troubles “in order to feel relief, salve the conscience and the soul.”

”Every spite we harbor in the soul makes it darker and deprives us of the favor and joy that people feel when become reconciled,” Alexi II said. “On the Sunday of Pardon, Egyptian hermits gathered together in cloisters, said prayers, begged each other's pardon and left for the hermitage. Some of them never got back to the cloister, as they were torn to pieces by wild beasts or died in the hermitage,” he added. Today, he said, people do not have to leave for any hermitage. He reminded that the Lent is not only temperance in eating but also in what we say, think and do. The Lent is the necessity to reveal Christian love and care of each other.
 
The Patriarch also called upon the faithful to confess during the Lent. “During the Lent we should look back at our past years, consider how we observe the commandments, repent of voluntary and involuntary sins and receive the Lord's Supper,” Alexy II said.

The Lent will last for seven weeks and end on May 1 when Christians celebrate Easter. The clergy insist that the effect of the Lent consists not in temperance in meals only, but rather in prayers.