Great Lent: The Crown of the Year
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life,
take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency,
lust for power, and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant,
a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults,
and not to judge my brothers and sisters.
For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.
More on the Prayer of St. Ephrem
Saint Ephrem's Hymns on Fasting
On the Passion of the Saviour
by Our Venerable Father Ephrem the Syrian:
"One of the most interesting passages in the poem
is that which describes the Holy Spirit as having come forth
in the form of a dove and rent the veil of the Temple
at the moment of the Lord's death":
Likewise the Holy Spirit,
who is in the Father,
when he saw
the beloved Son
on the tree of the Cross,
rending the veil,
the temple’s adornment,
suddenly came forth
in the form of a dove.
More texts by St. Ephrem
Hagiography of St. Mary of Egypt
From the Coptic Church:
by prayer and fasting the disciples set forth the Great Commission,
by prayer and fasting the martyrs offer their lives,
by prayer and fasting in her lenten journey
the Church receives the Crown of the Year
From the Coptic monk Matthew the Poor:
Monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi el-Natroun, Egypt:
"The point to understand is that fasting is a divine act of life, which we receive from Christ complementary to baptism and fullness. Since its beginning the Church has been occupied with infusing into its own body the acts of Christ’s life so they would become life-giving acts to all its members." On Fasting by Matthew the Poor
by St. John Chrysostom
Fasting is the change of every part of our life. . . Besides, we have a Lord who is meek and loving (philanthropic) and who does not ask for anything beyond our power. Because he neither requires the abstinence from foods, neither that the fast take place for the simple sake of fasting, neither is its aim that we remain with empty stomachs, but that we fast to offer our entire selves to the dedication of spiritual things, having distanced ourselves from secular things. If we regulated our life with a sober mind and directed all of our interest toward spiritual things, and if we ate as much as we needed to satisfy our necessary needs and offered our entire lives to good works, we would not have any need of the help rendered by the fast.
More on The Crown of the Year
by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev
Christ the Conqueror of Hell
The Descent of Christ into Hades in Eastern and Western Theological Traditions
On Fasting and Liturgy
Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism
For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy
Church, World, Mission: Reflections on Orthodoxy in the West
Other Lenten Reflections
Armenian scholar Vigen Guroian:
On Paradise, Pascha, and Springtime ~
Links to Guroian essays and podcasts
by the Czech president and poet Vaclav Havel, 1995
Forgetting We Are Not God:
What is lacking in the only meaningful way of dealing with future conflicts between cultures? Wherein lies that forgotten dimension of democracy that could give it universal resonance? I am convinced that it lies in what I have already tried to suggest-in that spiritual dimension that connects all cultures and in fact all humanity.
by David B. Hart, 2003
Christ and Nothing :
Christ's sacrifice as 'Qurban': "The cross of Christ is not simply a sacrifice, but the place where two opposed understandings of sacrifice clashed. . ."