Lenten Triodion

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The Lenten Triodion is the period of three weeks preceding Great Lent. There are three Sundays involved, with appropriate readings from the Gospels:

1. Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14),
2. Sunday of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), and
3. Sunday of the Last Judgment (also called Meatfare Sunday; Matt 25:31-46).

During the first week of the Triodion, there is no fasting. During the second week, fasting is as usual (Wednesday and Friday). In the week following Meatfare Sunday, no meat is eaten. The Sunday following Meatfare Sunday is Cheesefare Sunday (also known as Forgiveness Sunday; during the week following, dairy is removed from the diet, initiating the strict fasting of Great Lent.

The Triodion, and especially the Sunday gospel readings, serves to exercise the mind, whereas the fasting of Great Lent focuses on the body, and Holy Week's services exercise the spirit.

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