Navigating the Ocean of Lent

In this evening’s Vespers service I was drawn into the following hymn:

Your grace has shone forth, O Lord; the illumination of our souls has shone forth. Behold, this is the acceptable season; behold, this is the season of repentance. Let us put away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, so that we may navigate the immense ocean of Lent, and arrive at the third-day Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls.
AGES Digital Chant Stand
The imagery of an “ocean of Lent” was a great expression of what I had experienced in years past.  Allow me to explain.

The ocean is deep

Lent is deep.

Spiritual warfare comes in waves

Just when you think you have everything under control something comes and hits you upside the head like a bucket of water.

We need a ship to travel on the ocean

The ocean is no fun if you aren’t in a boat.  It’s actually dangerous. Lent doesn’t make sense if you don’t have the Church and the services to carry you along.

Just floating isn’t enough.  We have a journey ahead.

So it’s time to push off the pier, get in the boat and chart your course.  If you get wet, it’s ok.  If your boat tips, all the better. I mean, isn’t starting over one of the best advantages of Lent?

Let fasting be your wind, prayer your sail, repentance your rudder,  and charity you compass.  Your course has been set.  The map is tried and true.  Lent has begun.

Bon Voyage!

Cheese Fare Cornbread, Zymaropita

This cornbread is a real treat when you find yourself needing to clear out the fridge during cheese fare week.  It needs 4 zucchini, one onion and a box of JIFFY cornbread.  Then you add feta, cottage cheese and anything you have left.  I’ve made it with Parmesan, Asiago, ricotta, yogurt and even cream cheese.   Yumm!

ZYMAROPITA

Preheat oven to 375*

Grate 4 zucchini (I use a big food processor) and a pinch of salt. Let sit in a strainer to draw out the moisture.

Chop 1 Vidalia onion. Sautee onion in 2 T butter until transparent.

COMBINE:

  • 1 box Jiffy Corn Bread/Muffin Mix
  • ½ c cream of wheat,
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 16 oz. small curd cottage cheese
  • 8 oz. well crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ c milk
  • (I will also add any grated hard cheese I have including asiago, Parmesan, or Romano.)

Drain and squeeze zucchini and add to transparent onions and sauté for a few more minutes to remove more moisture.


Add zucchini/onion mixture to other ingredients in bowl. Stir and put in greased 9×13 cake pan.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden on top.


If you can wait, cool for 15 minutes.  You can also serve at room temperature or cold.  Any way you plate it, it’s delicious!

For the Lenten Season

The Prayer of St. Ephraim for the Lenten Season on a single card and in a pack of 10.

Preparing Koliva

Have you prepared koliva for memorials yet?  Here’s a video and recipe.

For a small memorial service, like Saturday of the Souls or a family memorial, you will need the following ingredients: 2 c whole wheat (uncooked), 1 c chopped walnuts, 1 c blanched / slivered almonds, 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c golden raisins, 1/4 c Italian (flat) parsley, 1 c whole sesame seeds, 1 t cinnamon, 1 t pumpkin spice, 1 t honey, 2 c powdered sugar, Jordan Almonds.

Fast Free Week, Here We Come!

Okay!   It’s probably cold where you are and Spring is the last thing on your mind.  Gee!  we just finished celebrating the Presentation of Christ which is Jesus’ Forty Day Blessing… forty days following Christmas.  And just recently the Groundhog predicted another 6 weeks of Winter. But the Moveable Feasts of the Orthodox Christian Calendar tell us we are about the begin the Triodon, the three weeks before Great Lent, which means Easter is coming early this year.

What is the Triodion?

The Triodion is what Southerners refer to as “fixin’ to get ready.”  It’s the three week period where we slowly get into the right mindset for Great Lent.  You see the difference in the Sunday Gospel Readings and the fasting schedule.

Triodion Gospel Themes

You know the stories, they repeat every year but here’s a quick reference.

First Sunday: Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican  The Gospel according to Luke 18:2-8

Second Sunday: Sunday of the Prodigal Son The Gospel according to Luke 15:11-32

Third Sunday: Sunday of the Last Judgement The Gospel according to Matthew 25:31-46

Triodion Fasting Rules

And in the finest expression of Orthodoxy, the church has a special fasting practice for the Triodion.

Week One- FAST FREE WEEK!  Yup!  No fasting this week!  This is a good time to get it all out of your system.

Week Two- Regular (Wednesday and Friday) fasting.  This is a good week to clean out the refrigerator.

Week Three- Start by removing meat from your diet.  It’s a week to help you get in the mood.  I imagine going cold-turkey from meat and dairy would be rather traumatic.  This third week is the final step.

I hope you have a blessed journey this Lenten Season.

Come back for Lenten recipes in the coming weeks.