In the Roman Catholic tradition, Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter, not counting Sundays. In the Byzantine tradition we call it the Great Fast, because it is the most significant fasting period of the year. It also starts 40 days before Lazarus Saturday, which is the day before Palm and Flowery Sunday. Each day from Lazarus Saturday through Easter Sunday holds special significance in the life of the church.
During the Great Fast, Byzantine Catholics abstain from meat products on Wednesdays and Fridays. On the first day of the Great Fast (Clean Monday), and Good Friday, Byzantine Catholics abstain from meat and dairy products. Those who are pregnant or suffering from illnesses are exempt.
Also during this time, special prayer services are held. At St. Nicholas, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings a special non-eucharistic service is held. On Wednesday and Friday evenings the Divine Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts is held, where the eucharist is shared, but it has been consecrated at the Sunday liturgy.
The services during this time recount the Old Testament books of Genesis, Psalms, and Proverbs, which instruct us as we prepare for the Paschal Feast (Easter), around which the Byzantine Catholic life.
ALL ARE WELCOME to join us during this season of spiritual renewal!