Great Lent starts today

February 12 2024, 09:50


This year, the period of Great Lent starts on February 12.

It lasts 48 days, beginning on the Eve of the Great and lasting until the Eve of the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Easter).

During the fasting period, people eat food of vegetable origin. People not only refuse certain kinds of food but also ill habits such as talkativeness, lying, swearing, and other sins.
Refusing food without avoiding sins is useless. “Satan always fasts, it does not eat anything and however, it does not and is not tired of sinning,” says St Gregory of Tatev. During the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says the following about fasting: “Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; that you appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18).

Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us the way of fasting. As disease has an influence on the body in the same way sin has an influence on the soul. It is not fasting that atones for sin. It is God that gives absolution to sins.
However, fasting is important for giving absolution to sins. Repentance, prayer, and confession are the main conditions for receiving absolution for sins.

Forty days of fasting period symbolize Christ’s 40-day lasting period of abstinence and repentance in the desert. After His baptism, Jesus “was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil and in those days he did eat nothing” (Luke 4:1-3). Jesus subjected Himself to abstinence for the salvation of mankind. He repented instead of mankind so that the penitence of all those who fast should gain sense and be realized by means of His abstinence. Another period of fasting lasting for a week follows the 40-day fasting period. It is Holy Week. That is why the forty-day fasting period lasts 48 days.

The 24th day or the fourth Wednesday of the period of Great Lent is called Mijink, symbolizing that the first half of the period of Great Lent has already passed. That day, fasting is not stopped. According to folk tradition, the housewives bake unleavened cake and put a coin in it while baking.