Saint Basil the Great Byzantine Catholic Church
1118 East Union Bower Road | Irving, Texas 76051
Dom Christopher Andrews O.S.B., Parish Administrator
The Prayer of Saint Ephrem
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.
On March 4, 2019 we enter the arena of the Great Fast! We hope that you will join us on this journey to Pascha beginning with Forgiveness Vespers and continuing until the Resurrection celebrated with Matins, Divine Liturgy and the festal season which lasts for 50 days!
The Great Fast or Lent is the period of preparation leading up to Holy Week and Pascha. The Lenten Triodion governs the divine services of Great Lent as well as those of the Weeks of Preparation preceding Great Lent. Lent is a Middle English word meaning "spring." The Great Fast has come to be called Lent by association; it is called "great" to distinguish it from the other fasts.
Observance of Great Lent is characterized by abstention from many foods, intensified private and public prayer, personal improvement, and almsgiving. The foods traditionally abstained from are meat and dairy products, fish, wine and oil. (According to some traditions, only olive oil is abstained from; in others, all vegetable oils.) Since strict fasting is canonically forbidden on the Sabbath and the Lord's Day, wine and oil are permitted on Saturdays and Sundays. If the Feast of the Annunciation falls during Great Lent, then fish, wine and oil are permitted on that day.
Besides the additional liturgical celebrations, Eastern Christians are expected to pay closer attention to their private prayers and to say more of them more often. The Fathers have referred to fasting without prayer as "the fast of the demons" since the demons do not eat according to their incorporeal nature, but neither do they pray.
During the weekdays of the Great Fast, there is a liturgical fast when the eucharistic Divine Liturgy is not celebrated. However, since it is considered especially important to receive the Holy Mysteries during this season the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, also called the Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist, may be celebrated on Wednesdays and Fridays. At this vesperal service some of the Body and Blood of Christ reserved the previous Sunday is distributed. On Saturday and Sunday the Divine Liturgy may be celebrated as usual, although on Sundays the more solemn Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is used in place of that of St. John Chrysostom.
Like the observation of Lent in the West, the Great Fast itself lasts for forty days, but unlike the West, Sundays are included in the count. It officially begins on Monday seven weeks before Pascha and concludes on the eve of Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday. However, fasting continues for the following week, known as Passion Week, Great Week or Holy Week, up until Pascha.
Come and see!