Orthodox Lent

Wesley J. Smith at First Things converted to Orthodoxy in 2007 and describes the Orthodox practice of Great Lent.

There’s no Ash Wednesday. Lent begins with vespers on Forgiveness Sunday, a service at which every participant individually asks forgiveness from every other participant. The penitent says, “Forgive me, a sinner.” And the respondent reply, “God forgives.” And then they exchange the kiss of peace.

The fast of Lent of Lent, which begins on Clean Monday, is vigorous. No meat, dairy or fish on any day of lent. No wine or olive oil on the weekend.

I especially like this quote from Vassilios Papavassiliou.

The purpose of our fasting is spiritual. Spirituality must not be viewed as something that does not concern the body, but as something that is made possible through and within the body.