Beginning of the Holy Lent in Ohrid
“Your grace shone up, Lord, the enlightenment of our souls shone up. This is the right time, this is the time for repentance; let us throw away deeds of darkness and put on the arms of Light; and after we have swum across the great sea of fast, may we reach the three-day Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who saves our souls.”
The beginning of the Holy Lent in the diocese of Debar and Kičevo was marked with Vespers in the church of the Assumption of the Most Holy Theotokos (Kamensko), in Ohrid. On this occasion a service was held at which were present all the town priests, together with their families, and also a great number of faithful laity from Ohrid. The diocesan Metropolitan Timothy was also present at the Vespers. At the end of the service, His Eminence Timothy addressed the clergy and the faithful laity with a sermon.
“This is a day when all Orthodox Christians prepare themselves with forgiveness of wrongdoings, done willingly or not to their fellowmen and to all people, to set the beginning of the Holy Fast. That is to say, before starting with the physical fasting and abstinence from food, the Christian must firstly ask for forgiveness from people for all he has done wrong and in this manner with repentance in the heart and aided by fasting to start the forty-day journey of personal struggle and participation in the Lent divine services.”
Exactly this is happening today in all the Orthodox shrines throughout Orthodoxy as well. The faithful and the clergy on this day, the Sunday of Forgiveness, ask for forgiveness for all the offences and all the willing and unwilling sins to our brothers and sisters. Just as the Gospel read today teaches us: “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew ).
May this holy and salvific Great Lent, the cleaner of our souls and bodies, be blessed to us …for many years to come! Amen.