Many services and little food characterize the start of Lent
The start of Lent brings change to the lives of Orthodox Christians the the challenge of repentance, opportunities for worship at extra Lenten services and a change in diet though fasting. At St. Tikhon's Monsatery there is no 'easing into the water'....it is a literal 'leap of faith'.
"We fast for most of the days of the week except for a small amount of food on Wednesday and Friday," says Archimandrite Sergius. After the first week mostly 'dry' food are eaten but there is only one meal a day: "Tthe fast is kept to very strictly."
The first week of Lent also brings changes in the routine of the monastery: "We have services most of the day, no normal work (except the work of prayer and repentance) and we take time to look at our life." Thee are more prostrations, services focus more on repentance and the opporunity to partake of the Body and Blood of the Lord is limited (verses daily Liturgy during the rest of the year).
The laity are encouraged so pray more, give more and be more 'spiritually oriented' during Lent. But since this is the 'normal' day to day life in the monastery the Brothers have to intensify their focus even more.
After the first week, daily work resumes at the monastery until preparations for Holy Week and Pascha begin six weeks later.
Spiritual reading is a key element of Lent and Archimandrite Sergius recommends these books as a starting point:
The Holy Scriptures (read more)
The Ladder of St. John Climacus
The Art of Prayer (Igumen Chariton)
Great Lent (Fr. Alexander Schmemann)
Remember Thy First Love (Elder Sophrony)
The Great Canon by St. Andrew
If you are in the area please join us for services which are held a various times during the day. Please remember the bookstore is closed all day Monday (March 14) as well as during the Pre-Sanctified Liturgies on Wednesday and Friday of the first week.
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