Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Uniting in Prayer Across Borders: H.H. Bishop Rutherford I Marks the Start of Great Lent

H.H. Bishop Rutherford I gives the
solemn blessing at the end of
the Divine Liturgy
By M. Derosiers

ROME-RUTHENIA 14 February 2024 (NRom)

Today His Holiness Bishop Rutherford I of Rome-Ruthenia joined together with the United Roman-Ruthenian Church around the world and led the Divine Liturgy for Ash Wednesday. This day not only marked the start of Great Lent but also this year, according to the liturgical calendar, coincided with the Feast of St. Valentine, Priest & Martyr and the Feast of Saints Kirill and Methodius, Teachers of the Slavs. The divine liturgy resonated across borders as the United Roman-Ruthenian Church in different corners of the world observed this holy occasion. This ancient tradition serves as a reminder that life is fleeting, and it urges believers to turn away from sin and embrace a path of righteousness.

Ash Wednesday holds great significance for Christians worldwide, as it inaugurates a period of reflection, repentance, and spiritual growth leading up to Pascha (Easter). It serves as a reminder to embrace humility and seek forgiveness for past transgressions. The fact that feast of St. Valentine coincides with Ash Wednesday this year also reminds the faithful that love is at the core of their faith. It encourages them to extend kindness and affection towards others during this lenten season.

Furthermore, the remembrance of Saints Kirill and Methodius underscores the rich cultural heritage and shared history within the community United Roman-Ruthenian Church. These saints played a pivotal role in spreading Christianity among the Slavic people through their translation work and missionary efforts and are venerated throughout Christendom. 

This liturgy marking the beginning of Great Lent was an opportunity for fellow believers around the world to unite spiritually in prayer and reflection, inspiring them to acts of charity. May this season be an opportunity for personal growth and spiritual renewal as we seek reconciliation with God and one another.