Pastoral Letter for Great Lent 2000


March 5, 2000 - Cheesefare Sunday.

“Is not this the fast I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn.” (Isaiah 58: 6-8)

The scripture passage from Isaiah clearly defines the principles of a period of fasting and penance, in the spirit of the Jubilee. The theme of reconciliation to God and others, which we have taken as our tool on the road to this Jubilee Year becomes the shining star as we embark on the journey of this sacred season.

This particular Great Lent, during the Jubilee Year 2000 holds an extra meaning about repentance as a returning to God and the great forgiveness of sins that God is calling us to in a special way during this year. The whole significance of our celebration of the Jubilee is the fact that God calls each one of us to have a “change of heart” and in doing so, draw closer to him and other people.

Every Lent is seen as a time of cleansing and a time to change aspects of our lives which are sinful and unhealthy. The Jubilee, by its emphasis on the abundant mercy of God and the gratuitousness of his love for us, reminds us that it is really possible to change and to move forward, with the grace and help of Almighty God.

The church offers the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to help us succeed on our journey. We urge you to take every advantage of these tools during the next weeks. Participate in the Lenten spiritual life of your parishes. Make every effort to attend the services and other spiritual exercises, join the Lenten study groups and find time to help with charitable projects which involve helping the poor and less fortunate. Promote in your families and with those around you, opportunities for spiritual and cultural enlightenment such as pilgrimages, exhibits and inter-Christian events.

All these things will help us to make this particular Great Lent a time of Jubilee, a time of renewal with God and others and a time of forgiveness of sin and a mending of offenses.

As a designated place of pilgrimage for the Holy Year, and in keeping with the spirit of the Jubilee, we invite all of you to make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral Church during the season of Great Lent, and particularly during Passion Week and Pascha. Clergy are asked to encourage your parishioners to make the pilgrimage for Great and Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. Special Jubilee Year observances and blessings will take place during this sacred time, and the pilgrims will be able to celebrate this most special Pascha together with their chief shepherds and the cathedral community.

We ask you to especially keep the work of our Metropolia, its bishops, clergy and all of our people in your prayers and offerings this Lent. The sacrifice of prayer is the cornerstone upon which all of our efforts for the Lord rest. We, your archpastors and servants assure our continued blessings and remembrances to you and your loved ones.

With Fraternal Love,


Archbishop of Cleveland

Titular Bishop of Maramaros
Auxiliary Bishop

Go to Lenten Regulations.

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