Today is Clean Monday, the first day of Lent, and I am launching my (voluntary) 40 days of blogging exercise.  This is similar to what I do during the Advent season but without the official sanction of Fr. Peck and the Preachers Institute – so no friendly reminders if I miss a day.  I will do my best to post daily – my downfall has always been blogging at night and there are times when I return home from church stuff or whatever after midnight.

At the church this weekend we certainly prepared festively for the beginning of Lent.  We had our second Saturday of the Souls service Saturday morning and then had a truly epic Apokreatiko Glendi at night – check out the pictures on our website.  Sunday we had our usual service in the morning as well as Forgiveness Vespers in the evening.  Fr. Nicholas and Fr. Chris joined us and we celebrated the beginning of Lent, which begins liturgically the evening before Clean Monday, appropriately.  At the end of the service  we all embraced each other and asked for forgiveness – a practice that I remember from the seminary.  It was all very moving.  Fr. Nick sang paschal hymns as we went through the line and then told us about the tradition that monks had back in the day of singing these hymns at this service and then wishing each other Christos Anesti/Christ is risen, believe it or not.  Apparently the monks would disappear after the service into the desert for the 40 days of Lent and they didn’t know if they would see each other again, so they celebrated Easter in a small way in anticipation just in case.