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Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday – February 26, 2023

On the last Sunday, before Great Lent begins, Forgiveness Sunday is celebrated and this year it will be marked on February 26. A liturgical book including services from the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (tenth before Pascha) through Great and Holy Saturday, the Triodion contains hymns from the Triodion from the pre-lenten period. An occurrence that tells us how far we have fallen in sin and distanced ourselves from God is the emphasis of the Sunday of Forgiveness. This Sunday, at the start of Great Lent, reminds us of our need for God’s pardon and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual endeavors towards repentance.

History of Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday

The custom began on Mount Athos and has extended to other countries throughout time. Its origins can be traced back to an ancient Egyptian tradition in which monks separated in the desert before the start of Lent, just before Easter, to devote themselves entirely to prayer. Due to the several hazards in the desert, the monks requested forgiveness from one another as if it were their final meeting before death.

Forgiveness Sunday is the last day of Maslyana (an Eastern Slavic religious and folk feast observed during the week preceding Great Lent) and thus the last Sunday before Lent. This day does not have a fixed date because the start of Lent falls on several days in February and March, depending on Easter’s date. It is a period of spiritual cleansing and aids believers in preparing for Lent, which begins the following day. The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden highlights the Sunday of Forgiveness, an event that demonstrates how far we have fallen into sin and isolated ourselves from God. This Sunday, which marks the beginning of Great Lent and a month of extreme fasting, reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and directs our hearts, minds, and spiritual energies toward repentance.

According to tradition, Orthodox Christians seek one another’s forgiveness on this day for all the hardships and transgressions they have created over the years. It is considered that if Lent is reduced to simply abstaining from food without reciprocal forgiveness of crimes, it loses its great value. If someone apologizes to you today, respond by saying, “God forgives, and I forgive you.”

Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday timeline

3760 B.C.
The Expulsion From Eden

Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden which serves as an inspiration for Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday.

520 A.D.
The Forgiveness Vespers

The first record of Forgiveness Vespers is seen.

30 A.D.
The Preaching About Forgiveness

Jesus’ preaching on forgiveness serves as one of the reasons for Forgiveness Sunday.

33 A.D.
The Death and Resurrection

Jesus’ death and resurrection serve as a source of hope for Paradise, inspiring Forgiveness Sunday.

Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday FAQs

Is Forgiveness Sunday the last day before fasting begins?

Yes, it is. Forgiveness Sunday is the last day on which milk, cheese, eggs, and other dairy items can be consumed until it is Pascha.

Why is fasting important?

Abstaining from eating is a powerful tool for purifying the soul and increasing one’s moral character and morality.

Which event is remembered on Forgiveness Sunday?

The departure of Adam and Eve from Eden is commemorated on the last Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent.

How to Observe Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday

  1. Practice the spirit of forgiveness

    Allow any insults to be forgotten, and make peace with those you previously fought with to relieve the strain on your soul. Seek forgiveness from anyone you may have ever offended. If they ask for forgiveness, you must respond, "God forgives, and I forgive you."

  2. Attend vespers of forgiveness

    On the evening of Forgiveness Sunday, attend the Vespers of Forgiveness. It is a service that leads us further down the path of repentance, assisting us in acknowledging our need for God's forgiveness as well as seeking forgiveness from our Christian brothers and sisters.

  3. Make time for your loved ones

    Spend time with your loved ones. Make sure you don't do strenuous physical labor, get upset, or get into fights.

5 Important Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday Words

  1. Forgiveness Vespers

    It is a service of evening prayers held on the eve of Great Lent.

  2. Cheesefare Sunday

    It is another term for Forgiveness Sunday, which is the last day before Easter when dairy products are allowed to be consumed.

  3. The Poklon

    It's a bow that people make to ask for forgiveness from one another.

  4. The great lent

    It is the most significant fast in the Christian calendar year.

  5. The clean Monday

    It is the first day of Lent, which marks the start of a period of penance and cleansing from sins.

Why Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday is Important

  1. Letting go of grudges

    It provides a chance to heal by letting go of personal grudges. Our hearts are opened to receive forgiveness from God when we forgive others and restore our relationships with them.

  2. A renewed relationship with God

    It helps us understand how severely tainted our entire relationship with other people is. It enables us to meet as God's children, allowing us to experience the mutual "recognition" that is sorely absent in our cold and dehumanized world.

  3. We are reconciled with God

    It demonstrates how far we have sunk into sin and become estranged from God, and how we can be fully reconciled with him. This helps us prepare for the Great Fast by putting us in the correct state of mind.

Orthodox Forgiveness Sunday dates

YearDateDay
2022March 6Sunday
2023February 26Sunday
2024March 17Sunday
2025March 2Sunday
2026February 22Sunday

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