Beginning of the Lent

On March 17, 2024, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated Vespers with the rite of forgiveness at the Resurrection Cathedral in Khanty-Mansiysk. His Eminence was co-served by the clergy of the Khanty-Mansiysk deanery. The first part of the service is performed in light vestments. After the singing of the great prokimenon the closing of the Royal Gates and the clergy changed into Lenten black robes.

After the dismissal of Vespers, Metropolitan Pavel read a prayer for the beginning of the fast of the Holy Lent and addressed the faithful with the word: “Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! today you and I have gathered on this Sunday evening for this short evening service in order to ask each other for forgiveness, as one big Orthodox family. We have all been communicating with you for a year, and of course somewhere we express our discontent against each other, someone may have been insulted, someone has done something bad. Sometimes, in the course of our lives, we don’t even notice when we can offend each other. Today’s gospel narrative says so bluntly that if we do not forgive, then the Lord will not forgive our sins. The Lord teaches you and me to forgive offenders, because it is hard and difficult when a person does something bad to you, but you have to love and forgive him. I remember a long time ago, a teacher told me that love can be strangled, but for many years I did not understand how this could be done. And it turns out that when they make you feel bad, you respond with love. And a person will not stand it and stop doing bad things himself, and repent. Today we have gathered to ask the Lord for forgiveness first of all, so that He would forgive us every sin, voluntary and involuntary, and of course, forgive each other’s offenses. Let us forgive, and it will be easier for us to go through the field of Lent. It’s like a load is lifted from your soul when you get joy from the fact that you have forgiven and you have been forgiven. There is no man who has lived on earth and has not sinned. Today, His Holiness the Patriarch said in his sermon that even sinners became saints only because they knew how to get rid of sins. And a person cannot sin in any way, but if he brings the fruits of repentance, he can become a saint. May God grant us to bring the good fruits of repentance in this Lenten Week, so that each of us can change our lives at least a little for the better, leave some kind of vice, some kind of sin that he lives with all his life and cannot get rid of it. But the most important thing is awareness, vision of sins and repentance. Help us, Lord! I, like any human being, having a human nature, also sin, sometimes maybe without noticing, so I ask you for Christ’s forgiveness, forgive me, a sinner!”