Texas priest reveals why Orthodox Lent begins on ‘Clean Monday’ with forgiveness and fasting

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For churches that use the “lunar calendar” to calculate the date of Easter, the first full day of Lent is Monday, March 18th.

In Eastern Christian tradition, this day is known as “Clean Monday” and falls on the sixth Monday before Palm Sunday.

The name Clean Monday comes from the beginning of a season of fasting and a renewed sense of forgiveness, Archdeacon John Whiteford of St. Jonah Orthodox Church in Spring, Texas, told FOX News Digital.

“Great Lent”: Why some Christians start observing Lent from Monday

“In a sense, Orthodox Lent begins on Sunday, because after the liturgy we have what is called the Vespers of Forgiveness in most parishes,” Whiteford said in a telephone interview. ” he said.

Whiteford said this is the first Lenten service. The color of the church changes from gold to black, and Lenten melodies are sung.

Father John Whiteford, an Orthodox priest in Spring, Texas, speaks to Fox News Digital about his fasting habits and practice of “Clean Monday” to begin Lent, stressing the importance of asking for forgiveness. did. (iStock/Courtesy of Father John Whiteford)

“In most parishes, at the end of the service there will be a ceremony known as the ‘Rite of Forgiveness,'” he said. This includes everyone present asking everyone else for forgiveness.

Texas pastor reminds us that the cross is evidence of God’s love for humanity

“By the end of the service, everyone is asking forgiveness from everyone else,” Whiteford said.

On Clean Monday, most parishes hold a service in the evening called the “Great Liturgy and Great Liturgy of St. Andrew of Crete,” which “is a liturgy of penance,” he said.

Inside the orthodox church

Lent in Orthodox Christianity usually begins later than in Western countries because churches in Western countries use different calendars to calculate dates. (St. Petersburg)

This scripture is prayed in four parts during the first week of Lent.

“The Great Consecration, which takes place as part of Lent, is a fairly long service,” he said. “It has many penitential elements. But the canon is the highlight of the service.”

Priest Mayne invites us to take time during Lent to acknowledge God’s constant presence within us

Whiteford told Fox News Digital that Orthodox and other Eastern Christians fast during Lent, but the fasting is more intense during the first week.

“Some people don’t eat at all, at least for the first three days.”

Orthodox Christians fast from meat and dairy products, including fish, during Lent.

Whiteford said the only days when fish are allowed to be consumed are Palm Sunday and Annunciation Day. (However, consumption of shellfish and insects is permitted during this period.)

Bread, walnuts, water, Bible and cross on the table.

Whiteford said that during the first week of Lent, Orthodox Christians observe a stricter fast than usual. (St. Petersburg)

During the first week of Lent, many people take their fasting a step further and avoid foods such as foods cooked in oil, he said.

“They’re trying to eat very simply,” Whiteford said.

It is said that some people eat soup and bread during this time.


“And some people don’t eat at all, at least for the first three days.”

He said the average believer does not fast as intensely as after the first week of Lent, but fasting picks up again during Holy Week, the week before Easter.

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This year’s Orthodox Easter will be celebrated on May 5, 2024, more than a month after the “Western” Easter on March 31.

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