Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Observing the First Week of Lent in Our Times

The way the first week of Lent was observed in pre-revolutionary Russia was that most business was shut down for the week, schools were in recess, and everyone went to Church. When the full cycle of services during the first week are observed, you spend about 10 hours a day in Church.

Unfortunately, we do not live in such a culture, and so in our parish we currently only do services in the evenings of the First Week of Lent.* However given that some people drive great distances to come to Church, Houston traffic and secular obligations can make it practically impossible for some to attend even these services.

On the first four days of Great Lent, we do Great Compline with the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, which on these days is divided into four parts which are done on each of these four days respectively.

If you cannot attend these services at our parish, what you can do is do these services at home. Ideally, you could do Great Compline as a reader service. However, you could do Small Compline instead, which would make for a much shorter service -- and it is always better to do something, rather than nothing, and so if you have never done this before, I would suggest you opt for Small Compline. Both of these services are available on our website, laid out for use as a reader service (i.e., a service done without a priest):

Great Compline:


Small Compline:



The text of the Great Canon is available in the Bookstore in a recently published text from Holy Trinity Publications, but you can get another translation for free on our website:


On Friday we will do the Presanctified Liturgy. However, if you cannot attend the Friday services, you could do Small Compline with the Akathist. The Greek practices is to do the Akathist in four parts on the first four Fridays of Great Lent, and you will find that text laid out here:


*Since this article was originally published, we have been able to do the Presanctified Liturgy on the morning of Wednesday during the first week.