First Sunday of Great Lent in Russia

While it's Palm Sunday in western Roman Catholic and Protestant Christendom, in Russia the Great Lenten fast has just begun. While the percentage of the Russian population which keeps to the strict Lenten fast remains quite low, the number of those choosing to abstain from not only meat but also fish and dairy products and attend services over the 40 days has increased in recent years, culminating in the feast of feasts, Great and Holy Pascha.

This year the Russian Orthodox celebration of the Resurrection falls on Sunday May 1st, about a week before the second most beloved Russian public holiday, Victory Day (May 9).

The first Sunday of Great Lent is also known as the Sunday of Orthodoxy, commemorating the restoration of reverence for icons in Orthodox worship in 9th century Constantinople after decades of iconoclastic attacks on the Church.

Below is a Russian TV report on the foods monks and lay people eat during the Fast:

It is chanted during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts that is done during the Great Lent. Peformed by the parish choir of Saint Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church in USA. With subtitles.
Open To Me the Doors of Repentance: A beautiful prayer sung during Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Church (Ledkovsky) Music from the CD: Rejoice! Hymns to The Virgin Mary sung by St Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary Male Chorale, Crestwood, NY
The Jesus Prayer is a short, formulaic prayer esteemed and advocated within the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. It is, for the Orthodox, one of the most profound and mystical prayers and is often repeated endlessly as part of a personal ascetic practice.

For those RogueMoney readers living around the world curious about Orthodox Christianity but who do not have a canonical Orthodox Church near them, we highly recommend and as good places to start their exploration.