st. john the wonderworker

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Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee

by Fr Thomas Hopko

The pre-Lenten season in the Orthodox Church begins with the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. On this particular Sunday the liturgical book called the Lenten Triodion begins, and this liturgical book would be used in the Orthodox Church all the way through to the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection—the holy Pascha—and then from the holy Pascha—from Easter, the resurrection of Christ—to Pentecost another liturgical book is used.

Now the Lenten Triodion begins with the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee; on this Sunday the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee is read at the Divine Liturgy and on this Sunday also, at the services of vespers and matins, hymns are sung during the services that relate to this Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. And this hymnology and these Scripture readings are intended to focus the believers’ minds on the approaching Lenten season that will prepare them for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, so that the whole journey begins after the reading about the Canaanite woman and Zacchaeus that precedes this Sunday; it begins with the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. Also on this particular Sunday a penitential hymn is introduced at the Sunday matins service after the reading of the resurrection Gospel—because at every Sunday matins service in the Orthodox Church an account of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead is read, because Sunday is always a celebration of the Lord’s resurrection.

Read the rest or listen to the audio at Ancient Faith Radio: The Publican and the Pharisee