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First Day of Great Lent
Great Lent (Medz Bahk in Armenian) is the 40-day period of spiritual preparation that leads to Easter. It is "great" because it is the longest and most important of all the priods fo fasting and prayers that precede other church feasts. It recalls the 40 days jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness, away from family, friends, food, and all distractions.
Lent begins the Monday following the Sunday of "Poon Paregentan" and lasts forty days to the evening of the Friday before Palm Sunday. The lenten period, including Holy Week, is intended to be one of self-discipline. It is a time for self-examination and self-appraisal toward renewal of lifestyle and improvement of moral and spiritual values. The practice of absitenence may include control over food intake, giving up meat, fish and all other animal foods, such as dairy products and eggs. Lenten sacrifice may also include abstaining from certain pleasure, amusements and festivities, allowing more time for prayers, introspection and church services.
Each Sunday of Lent has a specific name characterizing a basic Christian truth to meditate about. The Sunday preceding Lent, for example, is called Poon Paregentan, which means "good" or "happy living." It is a carnival-like time of indulgence in feasting and merrymaking. Also, it is a reminder of the Christian teaching that man was originally created in happiness, but marred by sin.
Click here for more information about services at St. James during Great Lent.
Text source: 'Welcome to the Armenian Church', printed by the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern)