The characteristics of Orthodox spirituality appear in the Book of Triodi {Al-Nour Publications, in partnership with the Institute of Saint John of Damascus in Balamand, reprinted this basic book in the year 1983 (publisher)} more than they appear in other liturgical books used by the Eastern Church. There is nothing strange about this as long as it contains the prayers of the Great Lent preceding Easter.

Believers know this book more than others, but like divine revelation, it knows us more than we know it. Observing the cloud of fasting is essentially a contemplation of the one path that can lead the Orthodox to the narrow door of life, that is, to upright opinion and good worship, that is, to Orthodoxy.

the book:

The origin of this book goes back to the great pruning that occurred in prayers in the monasteries of Palestine and Constantinople, a pruning that occurred after St. John of Damascus devised the laws in the eighth century. However, its roots in the Eastern Church tradition go deeper than the eighth century, as shown by the selection of topics and the occurrence of the text (Praise in which He Does not Sit). The book of the Triodi also has an extension after the fourteenth century with the service of Saint Gregory Palamas and the three hymns for the magic of the Great Saturday.

Today, after centuries of liturgical life for which Orthodox countries have become famous, it is like a temple with three sections: a portico in it, composed of a preparation stage covering four Sundays, followed by the fortieth fast dedicated to austerity and repentance. However, this forty-day period is strengthened by historical examples that we encounter every Sunday. These examples that precede one of the Adorations of the Cross, in the middle of fasting, and follow it, are nothing but pillars that lead to the Holy of Holies, which is preceded by the Great Law and Praise in which one does not sit. {The services of the Great Law and Praise were originally held in the fifth week of fasting (Al-Nashir)} and they possess all The iconostasis sang. In the end, Holy Week resembles the Holy of Holies, whose gate is Palm Sunday and whose altar is the Passion Service. This structure, spread over time, was not established in the book of the Triodi except to realize it in us, providing us throughout fasting with the deep meaning of prayer and calling for this approaching of the Kingdom that is taking place in the Christian life on this earth. Let the Triodi be for us the testament of martyrdom in this worldly life if we contemplate its major lines.

Initialization period:

The preparation period lasts a month and is characterized by four ideas, two of which affect the soul: human sin and God’s love, and the remaining two are historical: the Second Coming and the fall of Adam. They are the poles of fasting, but rather the poles of the history of salvation.

* The Holy Church was dedicated The first Sunday of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collectorBecause humility, repentance, and condescension of thought must be our first step in bringing us closer to the Kingdom of God. Prayer is not a glorification of man, but a glorification of God through man, who can only ask God for mercy and forgiveness. (We do not pray, brothers, as a Pharisee, because whoever exalts himself will be humbled. Let us humble ourselves before God and, through fasting, shout a public shout, saying: Oh God, forgive us sinners.)

* This is the rule of prayer: The Kingdom of God will be achieved in us if we humble ourselves and repent. And education itself responds Next Sunday in the parable of the prodigal son But the emphasis here is on God's infinite love, that love that accepts us if we come to it from the depths of our remoteness because God is our Father and loves us. (Our way, brothers, is to know the power of this secret. When the prodigal son quickly fled from sin and rose up in the fatherly presence, how the father, perfect in his goodness, received him with a handshake and even gave him signs of his glory.)

* Since its inception, the Triodi has given us the keys to the history of salvation through two parables to later pose the two important questions of humanity, the first of which is: Where do we go? The following Saturday and Sunday are dedicated to remembering the souls of the two hundred from the beginning of the world, and the Second Coming. Death returns a person to the dust of the earth, but, by the grace of Christ, he is the threshold of the Kingdom. (Everything withers like a flower and passes away like a dream. Also, when the trumpet sounds, all those who have fallen asleep will also rise like an earthquake to receive you, O Christ God.) As for the second coming of Christ, history aims at it, and in it the judgment will be completed at the hour of the end Judgment Which he puts before usFor one third The preparation stage is like the terrible door through which we will all pass. (I imagine that day and hour when we will stand naked before the fallen ruler as defendants. Then the trumpet will sound and all the foundations of the earth will shake... and the secrets of all will be made manifest before you.)

* The services of the following week before the start of fasting answer the second question: Where do we come from and how do we go? We cannot enter the Kingdom of God except through repentance, fasting, and a new life following the example of the hermits who were God’s blessing on earth and an invitation for us to follow in their footsteps. (Come with us, all believers, to praise the ranks of the fathers and the righteous, the important and venerable Anthony and the illustrious Euthymius, and each of them, and all of them together, mentally permissible, their actions as another paradise of bliss.) Because we come from Paradise and were expelled from it The fall of Adam In me, in every human being, and therefore life on earth is characterized by delusion, alienation, curse, and distance from the heart of God.

(Indeed, the Lord, my Maker, took dust from the earth, and with His life-giving breath gave me breath, gave me life, honored me, and established me on the earth as ruler over all that is visible, living like the angels. The deceitful Satan used the serpent as an instrument, so he deceived me by eating, separated me from the glory of God, and delivered me to the earth with the lower manon.)

But man returns to Paradise through fasting and the power of the Gospel. (So let us all be keen to approach fasting in obedience to the evangelical traditions, so that through it we may please Christ and also gain the residence in Paradise.) The fortieth fast promises light from its beginning.

Forty days of fasting:

The forty days, which extend until Palm Sunday, are reminiscent of the days that Christ spent in the wilderness, and their main purpose is fasting, which we must observe as a stage, or say as a period. It is a passage that we remember at the beginning of each week and that leads us to a port.

(The time has come for repentance. Let us cast off the works of darkness and arm ourselves with the weapons of light, so that we may pass through the great depth of fasting and reach the resurrection of our Lord.) Fasting is an action first, it is the satisfaction of the soul that uses matter.

(Fasting offers us a secret table, calling us to consume it with caution, so that we may eat the everlasting gifts of the Spirit.)

Fasting is not a compulsion of the soul, but it is a joy, a joy, and a cheerful suit. It goes beyond being a passive abstention from food to being a struggle against every evil inclination. (If we fast, brothers, physically, let us also fast spiritually, undo all bonds of injustice, undo the contracts of coercive transactions, tear up unjust deeds, give bread to the hungry, and bring the poor into our homes who have no roof.) It carries the power of healing: (Fasting that kills passions may herald healing for those harmed by sin). Finally, fasting, like repentance, is a path to the Kingdom of God, to eternal life as long as love is practiced in it: (The time has come for repentance and the struggle of fasting will bring us eternal life if we extend our hands to charity, because nothing saves the soul like consoling the needy).

The idea of abstaining prevails over fasting as if it were a saving force. But on each of the five Sundays that precede Palm Sunday, we experience aspects that remind us of the goal and the approach of Easter. The progression is noticeable from the historical to the psychological, from doctrine to proclamation, from icon to person. The course of fasting is directed by a sublime vision. It is divided, like the period of preparation, into two stages, with the cross in the middle, which we honor on the third Sunday. The first stage (Orthodox Sunday and Saint Gregory Palamas Sunday) prepares us to see the cross in the light of God, and the second stage (Sunday of Father John of the Ladder and Mother Mary of Egypt) teaches us to carry the cross in this life until the Transfiguration.

The Saturday of the first week of fasting is dedicated to a miraculous event that symbolizes the entire fasting struggle: a pagan replaced the food of a fasting group of Christians with the food of idols. However, the holy martyr Theodore alerted the priest in a dream, and the believing group rejected what stained the image of God in it. This anniversary paves the way for the idea of the First Sunday.

* First Sunday: It is based on an idea Triumph of Orthodoxy The day Empress Theodora re-venerated icons at the end of the first millennium of Christian history. The image of God on earth in Jesus Christ, the saints, and every human being, and the fasting quest goes through, first of all, this emphasis on the icon. (The grace of truth has shone, which was previously depicted in shadows, has now been completed with the utmost clarity, because behold, the Church has clothed herself with the incarnate image of Christ as an adornment of exceeding beauty, according to the excellency of the image of the martyrdom, possessing faith and upright opinion.)

* Second SundayOn the following Sunday, the second of Lent, after proving the truth of the theological icon, that proof that concluded the struggle for the integrity of opinion in the first millennium of Christian history, a second truth appears that is the heart of the Orthodox witness in modern times. This truth is nothing but the possibility of the actual existence of uncreated light within us.

This Sunday has been designated By Saint Gregory Palamas The Archbishop of Thessalonica, who contributed to the preservation of Orthodoxy by defending the “Quietists” against those who wanted to introduce a new way of thinking and faith that we were not familiar with among the Fathers of the Church. Through his teachings, he established the integrity of his opinion, as did the decision to honor icons. (With the scythe of your pure words and your noble works, you have cut off the thorns of heresies and the tares, and you have made the seeds of upright opinion and good worship grow, O High Priest Gregory).

* Third Sunday:And here we are on the third Sunday, One of the prostrations of the honorable cross. Raising the cross in the midst of fasting is a sign of joy, not sadness, victory, not disappointment, life, not death.

(The Church has now appeared as another paradise like the first, since your cross bears a life-bearing stick, which by touching it we contribute to incorruption.) The people are called to honor the cross, prostrate to it, kiss it, and glorify the Resurrection:

(We prostrate to your cross, O Lord, and we glorify your holy resurrection.) The spirituality and purpose of fasting are hidden like seeds in this honor, because the people to whom signs of rectitude and orthodoxy have been given must be aware of their unity before the cross and their subordination to the Lord: (Save, O Lord, your people and bless your inheritance).

* Fourth SundayOn the fourth Sunday of fasting, we celebrate a father who led the monks in Sinai to the Tree of Life, the Tree of the Cross, and reached heavenly perfection after ascending the ladder {See (The Ladder to God), (Church Fathers) Series, No. 3, Al-Nour Publications (Al-Nashri)} who Description of the Sufi life. We mention this father after honoring the Cross that dominated the entire fourth week, praising the virtue of asceticism, because it is not enough to honor the Cross in the light of the Resurrection, but rather we must transfer it to this life of ours to attain salvation. It has been Saint John the Ladder (An angel on earth) and (In heaven, a man of God), and therefore the Church presents him to us as a model for us to imitate as we walk the path of salvation. His offering to us is the one who (took up his cross and followed the observer of all, and with the power of the divine spirit worshiped the body that was difficult to submit to the mind with ascetic exercises), because God’s compassion is a response to ascetic effort.

Man appears in the valleys of this fourth Sunday and the following fifth week, wounded, naked, and exhausted, like the traveler in the parable of the compassionate Samaritan. Passions and temptations follow him and throw him on the side of the road and no one rescues him, so he waits for Christ’s intervention.

* The fifth weekIn the fifth great and rich week, we begin to bid farewell to fasting, (as we have passed half of the fast), (for the time of all splendor has arrived). As fasting approaches its end, prayers intensify and services reach their climax on Thursday and Saturday, within two ritual frameworks:

The Canon of St. Andrew of Cressite and the Praise in which He does not sit {It is customary in the Antiochian See and some other Orthodox churches for the Canon of St. Andrew to be recited in the Great Sleeping Prayer for the first week of Lent, while the Prayer of Praise is performed on Friday evenings in the first five weeks of Lent (Al-Nasher)} . The first text reminds of repentance and austerity and the second of salvation and joy, and thus we see the main ideas of fasting.

As for the nine valleys of the Great Law, they remind us of the men of sacred history and its events, and the correspondence that exists between them and the life of the soul. Thus, all the images of the Old Testament become life for us, a warning, and an element that leads to humility and building the soul. This is what we benefit from when we remember the fall of Adam, the crime of Cain, the fires of Sodom, the flood, the life of the fathers, the exodus, entry into the Promised Land, the lives of judges, kings and prophets, the birth of Christ, his teachings and his miracles. The whole heart of the Triodi beats in this advice that calls on a person to leave his old self and the world and carry the cross and renew.

As a glorious result of fasting and repentance, “unsated praise” magnifies the creation manifested in the Virgin. (So he salutes), in succession, the one who gave the world Christ, the angel of good news, then Elizabeth, then the shepherds, then the Magi, then those who got rid of idolatry, then all the believers. They praise the one who “carried the Ruler of All,” who is “the bride of all generations,” (a pillar A fiery guide to those in darkness), (the key to the kingdom of Christ), (the door to salvation), (the ray of the rational sun) and (an unshakable tower of the church). The entire universe and history are revealed in this song, and so we say that all the power of the Gospel lies in it. The prostration of the Cross mediated the fast that met the crucifixion and resurrection. In “Praise That Doesn’t Sit” the light of this declaration is revealed to the world.

* Fifth SundayThe fifth Sunday brings us a face that combines all the teachings of fasting, because, even though we must follow the path of austerity and asceticism for salvation (as Saint John of the Ladder taught us), salvation is also free, and relates to the grace of God that can appear while we are deeply immersed in our sins. Salvation is an open door to everyone, and whoever receives grace is united with Christ the Lord and deified.

It is considered a biography Saint Mary of Egypt The best summary of sacred history from the Orthodox perspective. Man has strayed outside Paradise and was stopped by the Cross of Christ. If he repents, while he is on this earth, he will receive the transfiguration and the first fruits of the Kingdom.

(...You inhabited the wilderness, erasing from yourself the image of your desires and drawing in it the divine image of the virtues, and in such a way that it shone so brightly that you crossed the waters lightly, O blessed one, and with your prayers towards God you were lifted up from the earth.) This image of the Egyptian Mary is like a narrow door that leads to remembering the historical suffering of Jesus Christ.

* We remember throughout The sixth week: The Lord’s entry into Jerusalem: (Come, O believers, let us begin actively in the sixth week of honorable fasting, and let us sing the praises of the Palm Sunday offering to the Lord, who is coming in glory to Jerusalem to slay death with the power of His divinity).

It prevails this week The parable of the rich fool and Lazarus As a main idea. It is an answer to The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector Thus ends the education transmitted by the Triodi. Just as a person cannot obtain grace unless he is humble, likewise he cannot be saved unless he becomes poor and patient before God and people. (Let us flee to escape from confrontation with the rich man condemned to the unquenchable fire, and prepare for Lazarus to suffer hardships.)

Then we celebrate the Gospel event by remembering Christ came to Bethany after Lazarus died there: (Today, Lazarus has been dead for two days, and Mary and Martha, his sisters, are shedding tears of grief over him, looking at the stone of the grave. However, the Creator will come with his disciples to take away death and grant life.)

At the end of the fortieth days of fasting We celebrate the resurrection of LazarusIt is an image of the great Easter, and a glorification of the power of God in the world: (O Christ, you have raised up your friend for four days and stopped the lamentation of Mary and Martha, making clear to everyone that you are the one who fills all things with divine power and a self-authoritative will).

* Sixth Sunday:And here we are Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate the humble entry of Christ into the city of Jerusalem. (The Son, the Word of the Father, equal to Him in eternity and without beginning, has arrived today in the city of Jerusalem, sitting on a colt.) This entry will complete the story of salvation and announce to the public the mystery of the divine incarnation: “…and hastening to go to suffering, that the law and the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Great week:

As for Seventh week (The Great and Holy), completing the six weeks of fasting. It is like the seventh day on which the remaining six days of creation fall.

This week concludes the deepening of the Sufi meaning of redemption through a series of topics: (Circumcision), Joseph, the ten virgins, the adulteress. As we enter the end of fasting, we remember the events of the Gospel through which Christ became the Easter of humanity.

*Remember us The first three days of the Great Week With the aim of fasting, which is waiting for the soul’s wedding with the Lord: (Here comes circumcision at midnight... so take heed, my soul, lest you sink into sleep). But this waiting can only be characterized by a spirit of humility and dependence on God: (I see your room decorated, O my Savior, and I do not have the clothes to enter it, so I rejoice in my robe, O Giver of light and save me). In our aspiration for resurrection, after abstinence and repentance, we lack two human virtues: honesty and vigilance. Holy Monday prayers take us back to the story of Joseph in Egypt, who “left the garment and fled from sin.”

The Great Tuesday service calls us to imitate the wise virgins: “Let us desire circumcision, brothers, and love it, and prepare our lamps shining with virtues and upright faith, so that like the wise virgins of the Lord we may enter, prepared, with Him to the wedding....” Christ's journey to His Passion continues in those services according to the Gospel texts. He asks us to follow him as happened to the apostles, to be contemporaries of the crucifixion: (Come then, brothers, let us accompany him...).

The songs echo the words of Christ that he addressed to his disciples as he led them to Jerusalem. They also recall the rebuke of the two sons of Zebedee, the rebuke of the fruitless fig tree, and Judas’ dialogue with the Jewish priests. They specifically show the loving behavior of the adulteress in return for the betrayal of the Jews:

(When the sinner was offering the perfume, the disciple was pardoning those who broke the law. As for the other woman, she rejoiced in pouring out the very expensive perfume. As for the other person, he hastened to sell the priceless one. This one knew the Lord, and the other was separated from the Lord...).

* Finally we come to remembering The secret supper: (The Master explained to the disciples the form of humility. He who covered the sky with clouds wrapped himself in a handkerchief and bent his knee to stroke the feet of the slaves...) and announced the secret of thanksgiving:

(And since you were the Passover, you offered yourself to those for whom you were about to die, calling out: Eat my body...), and he declared the betrayal: (There is among you an ignorant and self-confessed man who does not realize what he is doing, and he is stupid and does not understand...).

And explain to us the services Great Thursday The mystery of the sin that led Christ to the cross through Judas and the Jewish priests.

* As the twelve Gospels that narrate are recited Pain incidentsThe painful idea of nailing Christ always returns, as if he, glory be to Him, was heading from the heart of history to his people: (O my people, what have I done to you and what have you rewarded me? Instead of manna, bitterness, instead of water, vinegar, instead of loving me on the cross, you nailed me...). Christ is the Creator of the universe, and we cannot help but prostrate ourselves before all of His voluntary manifestations of humility. (Today, the one who hung the earth on the waters was hung on a tree. A crown of thorns was placed on the head of the King of Angels. A false porphyry was clothed with the one who covered the sky with clouds. He accepted the blow of the one who freed Adam in the Jordan. The circumcision of the pledge of allegiance was nailed and the son of the virgin was pierced with a spear: We worship your passion, O Christ... ).

* The royal hours put us in a day Good Friday Before The cross of Christ It invites us to contemplate the event and glorify God's infinite love. Christ was arrested, but he was patient (to complete what he had announced through his prophets of the mysterious and hidden things). He was sentenced to death, and Peter denounced him and cursed him (because you wore the wreath of slander, you who adorned the earth with flowers, and you wore the robe of mockery, you who covered the skin with clouds...), and he stretched out his hands on the cross and (was hung on a tree).

* And loyal On Good Friday evening, we remember the taking down from the cross and burial in the grave. (He buried the lives of all) and victory is necessary for burial, since the death of Christ “took care of hell” because by the nature of His divinity, He remained unlimited and unlimited, even if He was physically closed in the grave. Signs of this appeared on the earth: (...when the sun saw him on the cross, hanging the objects in darkness, and the earth shook in fear, and the veil of the temple was torn...).

*Lead us The magic of Great Saturday to the grave. The three hymns remind us of the circumstances of Christ’s death and grave and sing of the mystery.

(A carved stone covers the angled stone, and a dead man hides in the grave the god as if he were dead, so be afraid, O earth.) But the women carrying perfume (they have come to your grave pouring out perfume magically), (they have come to meet him), because the light of resurrection is near. After talking about the incomprehensible death of Christ, the theological explanation appears in this declaration: (O Word, you were killed, but you were not separated from the body to which you contributed, for even though your temple was dissolved during the time of suffering, yet the hypostasis of your divinity and your humanity is only one, and in both you are still the Son. The Word of God, God and Man). He abolished the kingdom of hell (for, O Almighty, when you were placed in a tomb, you crushed the locks of death and with your palm preached the element of life to those who had been sitting there for ages).

And so we see that Christ's burial, His rest in the tomb, is like a new Sabbath for creation:

(The great Moses had previously designated this day as a mystery by saying, God blessed the seventh day because this is the blessed Sabbath, this is the day of stillness and rest in which the only Son of God rested from all his works, when the body slumbered through the mystery of the plan that came about through death, and he also returned through Resurrection to what was and granting us eternal life...).

Hell sighs, crying out on the evening of the Great Saturday in the stillness of the Lord's rest: (My power has been swallowed up, because I received one dead as one of the dead, but I could not control him completely, but I lost with him those who were under my authority...).

then A series of prophecies containing references in the Old Testament to the resurrection of Christ is readUntil we reach the three boys in the fiery furnace: through them the entire creation praises the Lord.

And finally The book of the Triodi ends with the next gospel procimenon: (Arise, O God, and judge the earth, for you shall inherit all nations.) And here we are on the threshold of resurrection after this final call.

Benefit from Triode:

It is self-evident that a person cannot benefit from the richness of the Book of the Triode unless he ritually participates as much as possible with the entire Church in this preparation for Easter. The book contains all the seeds of the Gospel, and in it a thousand flowers blossom and are presented to our lives until they are transformed in us into fruits of grace and salvation. What is contained in this article is nothing but instructions that enable us to follow the general line that was emphasized during the entire period of fasting. The poems that make up the Triodi have biblical richness and intensity and reflect to us the history of the world embedded in church rituals. It is a marvel that the mind cannot comprehend.

Jack Turay (*)


(*) Jacques Touray, French-born, converted to the Orthodox faith in adulthood and spent many years in the monasteries of the island of Patmos in Greece, then returned to France, where he now lives. He transferred to French all the liturgical books, in addition to many basic spiritual texts, including the Ascetics of Isaac the Syrian and some parts of the French translation of the Philokalia issued by the Orthodox Brotherhood in Western Europe. The article we publish here was first published in French in the Parisian magazine Contact.

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