JODRANVILLE: March 14, 2005

Great Lenten Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Dear in the Lord brothers and sisters, while traveling through the salvific days of the holy Great Lent, let us rejoice together with the Holy Church on the arrival of the "God-granted time of repentance," and may we not be saddened by the arrival of Great Lent, but saddened by our own sins, for the time has come to heal them. As the Holy Church sings: "The fast is here, the mother of chastity, the accuser of sins, the advocate of repentance, life of angels and salvation of men." Lent is established by God—this is a divine gift, a period of prayer and abstinence, a time to protect oneself from all that is sinful and secondary, seeking only the One we need.

Lent is not only the abstinence from non-lenten food, but mainly a time to reveal our fundamental sinful sores and removing them. The Church teaches us: "Let us not keep the fast by merely abstaining from foods, but [let us put away from us] every material passionÉ" One can only see ones material passions with a clean mind, and fasting and prayer are the best means to cleanse the mind. Lent is also removing oneself from entertainment. Life in this "electronic age" is full of all sorts of amusements which debilitate our consciousness; this has firmly established itself in many Orthodox homes, they are forms of entertainment that litter our souls with images of passion, which deprive the faithful of "the divine time of repentance."

During these cleansing Lenten days, dear brothers and sisters, let us leave behind our screens and monitors which blind our spiritual sight, let us close the doors of our senses to all that is useless, let us abandon enmity, quarrels, divisions, all that is extraneous, corrupt and harmful to the soul, and then Lent for us will truly become Great, and will bring us great benefit.

In this way, passing through the salvific Forty-day Lent, we will be able with a clean conscience and with the clear sight of faith to greet the Crucified and Resurrected Christ, and will able to worthily kiss His Divine wounds and prostrate ourselves before His glorious Resurrection from the dead!

+Metropolitan Laurus

Great Lent, 2005