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Holy and Glorious Pascha Preparation - Great Lent and Great Week - Praying

Triodion Propho-
Praying Fasting


Great Lent and Great Week
Dormition of The Theotokos





Cycle Preparing and Celebrating Preparing (Fasting, Praying, and Performing Charity) Fasting Praying Performing Charity Feasting (Celebrating)

Great Lent and Great and Holy Week are the time of preparation for celebrating Feast of Feasts Holy and Glorious Pascha.

Traditionally, Great Lent and Great and Holy Week are a time of increased praying.

We prepare by praying.

Praying is an ancient form of spiritual discipline to intensify an awareness of Holy God. The idea of praying is to bring us closer to Holy God, and to teach us self-control and dedication to Holy God.

Praying is a means of spiritual growth. While praying, we praise and thank Holy God for His great love and mercy, and we ask His forgiveness and seek His help in changing our sinful ways.

Praying helps grow spiritually by putting us, as it were, in conversation with Holy God and with other Christians. Our personal prayer allows us to communicate with Holy God, sharing our love, our needs, our need for forgiveness, our lack of charity, and our dependence on Holy God. Personal prayer can be simple, such as the Jesus Prayer to Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."). Personal prayer can be recited prayers, such as the Our Father. Personal prayer can be spontaneous prayer of praise and supplication. In our public prayer, such as the Divine Liturgy and The Akathist Hymn ( Al Madaayeh / Akathist Hymn / Hymn of the Akathistos) to The Theotokos, we gather as Holy God's children in a community.

Prayer and Fasting

The article below was written by Rev. Fr. James Graham, Saint Elias the Prophet Melkite Greek Catholic Mission, San Jose, CA. The article appeared in News from St Elias Church, August 1, 2002.

"On the Sunday of THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE FIRST SIX ECUMENICAL COUNCILS, we read the passage from the Gospel of St Matthew about the healing of the demon-possessed boy (Matthew 17:14-23). Jesus tells His disciples that "this kind [of demon] can be cast out only by prayer and fasting." All of us have our own "demons" of one kind or another--anger, greed, gossip, neglect of our families, abuse of our bodies through drugs or alcohol or overeating or overwork, laziness, spiritual indifference, pride, vanity, disobedience, and so on. These things can be cast out by prayer and fasting, which bring us closer to God and strengthen our faith so that we can overcome our sinful habits. Of course, we cannot expect to be perfect immedi-ately, so we must not try a regime of prayer and fasting that is too strenuous. That will lead to failure, which will just reinforce the power of our "demons."

We should all set aside a time every day--for some it will be first thing in the morning, for some it might be just before going to bed--when we lift up our hearts to the Lord. We should acknowledge God's glory and power, God's great love and mercy. We should thank God for our blessings of life, health, fam-ily, friends, prosperity, etc. And we should ask God to take care of us in our needs and to take care of others who are sick or suffering or in need. But beyond that, we should pray at any time and at all times during the day--while walking the dog, or driving on the freeway, or shopping at the grocery store, while taking a coffee break or between classes or waiting in line, when mowing the lawn or cooking the supper or doing the laundry. Some people like to pray the Rosary. In our Byzantine tradition, the Jesus Prayer is more common, recited over and over again until in the back of our consciousness it begins "to pray itself". The Jesus Prayer is simple: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Fasting, too, should be simple. It is best not to make a big deal out of it. Sometimes, the more we try to focus on it, the harder it becomes. The traditional fast originated in the monasteries, where everyone ate the same thing (or fasted from the same thing!). In the modern world, it is almost impossible to keep that kind of fast in a simple way. It is better to choose some kind of fast that we can really maintain--such as not eating between meals and giving up meat at least on Wednesdays and Fridays. Although giving up meat entirely for two weeks is not terribly difficult. The idea of fasting is first of all to purify our bodies so that we can eliminate unnecessary things from our lives, and second of all to realize that all we have comes from God. We don't fast in order to suffer; we fast in order to understand God's place in our lives.

This period of preparation for the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God is a good time to work on prayer and fasting so that by stronger faith in God we can eliminate the "demons" from our lives."

Prostrations During Great Lent Prayers

The proper posture of prayer for Christians is standing. Standing signifies our dignity as children of God, and is a posture of attention. During Great Lent we kneel at certain prayers and touch our forehead to the ground as a sign of sorrow for sins, penance, humility, in imitation of the publican who "dared not life his eyes to heaven" and sent home justified.

Public Prayer

The Church intensifies public prayer by celebrating the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Species, Al Madaayeh / Acathist Hymn / Akathist Hymn / Hymn of the Akathistos and Orthros.

Personal Prayer

Everyone is encouraged to intensify personal prayer, especially by using The Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian.

Lenten Prayer: Spiritual Reading for Great Lent

Great Lent should be a time of increased reading the Bible. The Church especially recommends reading the Book of Genesis (the story of Creation and Holy God's choosing His people), the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (prophecies of the Messiah), and the Book of Proverbs (practical advice for godly living). The Psalms are always good spiritual reading. Try reading one Psalm during each day.

Our Holy Father John Climacus wrote wrote "The Ladder of Virtue" / "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" / "The Ladder of Paradise" / "The Stairway to Heaven". This book is available on the Internet is read in monasteries during Great Lent. Our Holy Father John Climacus wrote "The Ladder of Virtue" to instruct monks on how to live a life of asceticism and penance. In this book, Our Holy Father John Climacus teaches souls how to ascend to the summit of union with God in a step a step manner through the practice of virtues. Each chapter has an exposition of a virtue. Our Holy Father John Climacus starts with the practical virtues and progresses to the theoretical or mystical virtues. "The Ladder of Virtue" describes Christian life like climbing a ladder from earth to heaven.

List of Prayers

List of Prayers

Great Lent is Forty Days.

Great Lent is Forty Days.    The 40-day count begins begins at the beginning of the Vespers of Clean Monday on the evening of the Sunday of Cheesefare/Forgiveness and ends just before the Vespers of Lazarus Saturday on the evening of the last Friday in Great Lent. Sundays do count.


Traditions of Great Lent and Holy Week Melkite Greek Catholic Church Eparchy of Newton

More Information

Saint Ignatios of Antioch Melkite Greek Catholic Church Then click on Resources. The first category is Lenten Information.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Lent But Were Afraid to Ask St. George Melkite-Greek Catholic Church, Sacramento, CA

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Martha Liles
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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is dedicated to my cousins: Bucky (Richard C. Liles) and Shirley (Shirley Jean Liles Buck). Bucky fell asleep in the Lord on Dec. 12, 2000 and Shirley fell asleep in the Lord on Nov. 8, 2001.
O God of all spirits and of all flesh, who have destroyed death, overcome the devil, and given life to the world: grant, O Lord, to the souls of your servants Bucky and Shirley, who has departed from this life, that it may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him/her every sin he/she has committed by thought, or word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin : You alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting, and your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and the repose of your departed servants Bucky and Shirley. O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, together with your eternal Father and your all-holy, good and life-givng Spirit, now and always and for ages upon ages. Amen.

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