The Lent and The Annunciation-day
The Lent period is the third cycle in the Liturgical year. This cycle is known as “the cycle of forgiveness” and it consists of eight Sundays the same as all other cycles. During six consecutive Sundays the church discusses Jesus’ miracles, beginning with the wedding feast in Cana and ending with the healing of the blind man. The seventh Sunday is Palm Sunday and the eighth is Easter. Melodies of this cycle are as usual eight: the wedding feast in Cana is Qadmoyo (the first) and it continues on until the Palm Sunday which is Shbi’oyo (the seventh). Easter’s melody is Qadmoyo (the first) and not Tminoyo (the eighth) because of its nature. It was decided that the melodies of bigger holidays have to be Qadmoyo (the first), which are joyful type of tunes.
During this cycle we will discuss the content and the theme of each Sunday which are arranged as follow:
The wedding feast in Cana
The healing of the Lepard
Healing the paralyzed man
Healing the Canaanite's daughter
The parable of the Good Samaritan
Healing the blind man
The first Saturday of Lent is designated for the memory of St. Ephraim. The twenty-fourth day of Lent, which is always Wednesday, (the middle of Lent) is designated for the memory of King Abgar IX (Abgar Oukomo) who converted to Christianity at Edessa in the second century A.D.
In this Period, it is noteworthy to list three special events:
1- During the masses of this period and especially before giving the sign of peace, the choir sings a special hymn called “Ho Edono Lasloutho” (it is time to pray). This hymn calls the believers to forgive each other before exchanging the sign of peace in the mass. It is sung during the masses of the six Sundays of this cycle, before saying the last sentence of “Abo Ahid” (creed) which is “Stawmen Qalous Qouryé Layson” (Let us stay in obedience and ask for merci). You may mention that priest doesn’t go up to the higher step of the altar until the verse of the hymn which says “It is the moment where priest go up to the higher stair to present offers for our forgiveness”. This hymn has been assigned specially to this period to emphasize the element of forgiveness.
2- A special ceremony takes place on Sunday is a collection of wonderful texts of forgiveness written by St. Jacob and St. Ephraim. This ceremony is repeated during these six Sundays.
3- The daily afternoon prayers are substituted by the forgiveness prayers of St. Ephraim.
This will be a good period to recount ones sins and try to forgive during this period of forgiveness.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.