Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, February 23, 2009

Orthodox Lent

We ask for fast and discipline in Lent, but the Eastern Orthodox Churches keep a much stricter observance!

Here is an article from today's Free Press
http://www.freep.com/article/20090223/NEWS05/902230343/1007/NEWS/An+Orthodox+Lent++No+meat++dairy++dancing

An Orthodox Lent: No meat, dairy, dancing
BY NIRAJ WARIKOOFREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
For the next two months, Brenda Kotsis of Clinton Township will lean more on her family's traditional Greek vegetarian recipes and get in the habit of putting soy milk on her cereal.
"It's a cleansing process, spiritually and physically," said Kotsis 53, who abstains from meat and dairy foods during Lent.
Abstaining from meat is a common practice for many Christians, but Orthodox faithful such as Kostic observe the season with a rigor that maintains early Christian traditions.
For the Orthodox, Sunday was the last day they could eat meat for almost two months. And starting next Sunday they can't eat any dairy products until Orthodox Easter on April 19..
"If you discipline your body, you can discipline your soul," said the Rev. Lev Kopistiansky, priest of Holy Trinity Church in Detroit.
For the Orthodox, the Sundays preceding Lent -- which begins March 2 for the Orthodox church as opposed to Wednesday for other denominations -- are special days in preparation for the season. Sunday was called Meatfare Sunday, or Judgment Sunday, and next Sunday is known as Cheesefare Sunday, or Forgiveness Sunday.
But don't think abstaining is a hardship, say the observant. Rather, it's an uplifting experience that helps them get away from the bustle of everyday life.
"The whole point is not just about avoiding certain foods," said Kotsis. "You try to repent, forgive, and treat everyone kindly."
At dozens of Orthodox churches, special feasts were planned for the last days of eating meat.
Inside Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores, many people attended a Saturday dinner of spaghetti and meat sauce. The event also included a dance because dancing and parties generally are avoided by observant Orthodox during Lent.
"We're trying to really simplify our lives and focus on the spiritual aspects," said the Rev. Michael Varlamos of Assumption Greek. "It's not that meat and dairy products are bad, but such foods tend to preoccupy us."