SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

Forgiveness Sunday at St. John's......

Mar 16, 2016
Forgiveness Sunday at St. John's......

St. Paul tells in the Epistle to the Ephesians:  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”  (Eph 4:32)  St. Paul again reminds us in the Epistle to the Colossians:  “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  (Col 3:13) 

 

Sunday just before the Great Lent is Forgiveness Sunday.  It is at Vespers on this important day that we sing:  “When I think of my deeds, O Lord, I am filled with despair and know that I am worthy of every torment.  I have despised Thy commandments, O Savior.  I have spent my life as a prodigal.”  But with hope we cry out:  “I pray to Thee, O only merciful One:  Cleanse me by repentance, Enlighten me through prayers and fasting, and despise me not, O most gracious benefactor of all!”   Forgiveness Sunday we acquire the power to make our reconciliation with God a true reconciliation. 

 

We start out the Great Fast with forgiveness at these Vespers.  At the conclusion of the service, we approach each other and ask forgiveness from each other and begin our pilgrimage towards Easter.   Always and everywhere Christ stands in the midst of us and brings us together by His love for all of us.  To all of you, please forgive me. 

 

Following Divine Liturgy, all our parishioners and friends gathered in the hall for a Maslenitsa hosted by Fr. Igor and Mat. Anna.  Father and Matushka catered a delicious meal consisting of various blini, salads and drinks.  Following the Maslenitsa, everyone returned to the church to begin the Great Lent at Forgiveness Vespers.    Those who attended were moved by the pious prayers and beautiful singing as we heard:  “Turn not away Thy face from Thy child for I am afflicted.  Hear me speedily.  Draw near unto my soul and deliver it!”  If you missed this beautiful service, please check the calendar and join us for the many Lenten services and prepare yourself for a Blessed and Joyous Pascha. 

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