The Great Fast or Lent is the period of preparation leading up to Holy Week and Pascha. The Lenten Triodion governs the divine services of Great Lent as well as those of the Weeks of Preparation preceding Great Lent. Lent is a Middle English word meaning "spring." The Great Fast has come to be called Lent by association; it is called "great" to distinguish it from the other fasts.
Structure of Great Lent
- Monday following Forgiveness Sunday (also called Cheesefare Sunday)
- 1. Sunday of Orthodoxy (John 1:43-51),
- 2. Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas,
- 3. Sunday of the Holy Cross,
- 4. Sunday of St. John Climacus, and
- 5. Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt.