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!
Great Lent, 2005