Wednesday, March 05, 2008

March 9: Forgiveness Sunday
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise

Christian Education classes for children and adults will meet at 9:15 AM. Third Hour Prayers begin at 9:45 AM, followed by Typika at 10:00 AM with the Ceremony of Forgiveness.

On the Eve of the Great Fast, the Church reminds us of Adam and Eve's expulsion from Paradise. God commanded Adam to fast (Gen. 2:16), but he did not obey. Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden and lost the life of blessedness, knowledge of God, and communion with Him, for which they were created. Both they and their descendants became heirs of death and corruption.

Let us consider the benefits of fasting, the consequences of disobedience, and recall our fallen state. We are invited to cleanse ourselves of evil through fasting and obedience to God. Our fasting should not be a negative thing, a mere abstention from certain foods. It is an opportunity to free ourselves from the sinful desires and urges of our fallen nature, and to nourish our souls with prayer, repentance, to participate in church services, and partake of the life-giving Mysteries of Christ.

At Forgiveness Vespers we sing: "Let us begin the time of fasting in light, preparing ourselves for spiritual efforts. Let us purify our soul, let us purify our body. As we abstain from food, let us abstain from all passion and enjoy the virtues of the spirit…." - from the Menologion at

Kontakion - Tone 6

Master, Teacher of wisdom,
Bestower of virtue,
you teach the thoughtless and protect the poor:
Strengthen and enlighten my heart.
Word of the Father,
let me not restrain my mouth from crying to you:
Have mercy on me, a transgressor,
O merciful Lord!