"Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress; answer quickly, come close to my soul and redeem me!"
At the singing of these words in the middle of Forgiveness Vespers, the Great Fast begins. All of the bright church vestments and the coverings of the Holy Table are removed and replaced with dark vestments. The solemn lenten melodies are taken up for the first time. It is the season of fasting and penitential prayers. It is a season for forgiveness and turning again to God. It is a season of preparation for the great and holy feast of Pascha.
The season of the Great Fast, while solemn, is nevertheless one of beauty and joy. The feel and atmosphere of the Great Fast in the Byzantine tradition was expressed beautifully in this succinct passage written by Fr. Thomas Hopko:
Church welcomes the lenten spring with a spirit of exultation. She
greets the time of repentance with the expectancy and enthusiasm of a
child entering into a new and exciting experience. The tone of the
church services is one of brightness and light. The words are a clarion
call to a spiritual contest, the invitation to a spiritual adventure,
the summons to a spiritual feat. There is nothing gloomy here, nothing
dark or remorseful, masochistic or morbid, anxious or hysterical,
pietistic or sentimental. The lenten spirit in the Church is one of
splendor and delight. It breathes with the exhilaration of those girding
up to "fight the good fight" for the One who loves them and has given
Himself to them for the sake of their salvation.'
(from Fr. Thomas Hopko's "The Lenten Spring")
the pastor of St. Basil's Byzantine Church, I would like to welcome you
to our website. Take some time to peruse these pages and check out our
calendar for the schedule of services. We would love to have you join us
for worship and spend a little time with our parish family as we turn
to God in repentance, as we implore Him to "come close", and as we enter into the brightness of these Lenten services.
Christ is Among Us!