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March 7, 2011

Orthodox Lent starts today; spring cleaning, too

Eastern Orthodox worshipFROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Today is the first day of the Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox  tradition. It’s also known as “Clean Monday,” a reference to the obligation among the faithful to cleanse themselves spiritually through fasting and prayer, repentance and asking forgiveness of their neighbors.

The concept even extends to one’s surroundings, so for the Orthodox, today also marks the start of spring cleaning.

For Christians in the Western tradition, Lent begins on the 9th – “Ash Wednesday.”

(SUN PHOTO: Lloyd Fox, March 2010)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:01 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition


Thanks for the nice picture and notice. The Greek term for clean also means pure, so it likely has more to do with food, as most Orthodox Christians leave spring cleaning for Holy Week, when the intense cycle of fasting and liturgical services makes house cleaning one of the few tasks that one physically can fit into the day. Since the fourth century, the West has counted Lent as forty days minus Sundays; the Greek-speaking East as forty days minus Holy Week; and the Syrians and Copts along slightly other lines. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, yesterday was Shrove Sunday (that is, Confession/Forgiveness Sunday).

Today begins seven weeks of so-called dry eating: uncooked bread, fruit and nuts during the day with one cooked meal in the evening, consisting of grains and vegetables. If your co-worker suddenly develops a monotonous desire for Chinese, Indian, and Mexican food; he or she may be Orthodox;) A side note is that dark chocolate made with cocoa butter instead of milk is fast compliant, so he or she also may eat more "fasting chocolate" than normal. Please don't say anything, if you smell us this time of year, as Beano only goes so far;) Remember, we're trying to be cheerful, really.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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