Written for the devout Christian, the Triodion is full of warnings against pride and hypocrisy - the ultimate spiritual sins to which religious folk are so susceptible. Its hymns teach us the true nature and purpose of fasting and of Lent itself.
The weeks of preparation, and especially the Sunday gospel readings, serve to exercise the mind, whereas the fasting of Great Lent focuses on the body, and Holy Week's services exercise the spirit.
Weeks of preparation
The three weeks that commence on the fourth Sunday prior to Great Lent constitute the weeks of preparation. Each has its own distinct theme which is expressed in the Gospels readings appointed for the Divine Liturgies on these days:
- 1. Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14),
- 2. Sunday of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), and
- 3. Sunday of the Last Judgment (also called Meatfare Sunday; Matt 25:31-46).
- 4. Sunday of Forgiveness (also called Cheesefare Sunday; the expulsion of Adam from Eden is also a theme of this day); Matt 6:14-21.
|Sunday of the Prodigal Son|
Forgiveness Sunday brings the period of preparation to an end. The next day, Clean Monday, begins Great Lent. The Vespers service served on the evening of Forgiveness Sunday includes the Rite of Mutual Forgiveness and is the first service of Great Lent.
|Jesus Christ the Bridegroom (Holy Week)|
Great Lent begins on the Monday following Forgiveness Sunday (also called Cheesefare Sunday) with each Sunday highlighted as follows:
- 1. Sunday of Orthodoxy (John 1:43-51),
- 2. Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas,
- 3. Sunday of the Holy Cross,
- 4. Sunday of St. John Climacus, and
- 5. Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt.
Great Lent is followed by Holy Week, the week beginning with Palm Sunday and preceding Pascha.
Triodion resource page