Lent was in origin the time of final preparation for candidates for baptism at the Easter Vigil, and this is reflected in the readings at the Liturgy, today and on all the Sundays of Lent. But that basic theme came to be subordinated to later themes, which dominated the hymnography of each Sunday. The dominant theme of this Sunday since 843 has been that of the victory of the icons. In that year the iconoclastic controversy, which had raged on and off since 726, was finally laid to rest, and icons and their veneration were restored on the first Sunday in Lent. Ever since, that Sunday been commemorated as the "triumph of Orthodoxy."
Lent began today for members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith, who will now embark on seven weeks of fasting and purification in preparation for Easter. At the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in San Gabriel on Sunday, about 50 parishioners congregated to pray, take Holy Communion.
Italy on Sunday returned ownership to Russia of an Orthodox church named after St. Nicholas in a goodwill gesture toward Moscow and the Orthodox faithful. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev traveled to the southern Italian city of Bari for the hand-over, which was aimed at boosting ties between the two countries and improving often-tense Roman Catholic-Russian Orthodox relations.
Pope Benedict met his Beatitude Christophoros, Metropolitan of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper told us more about this young and vibrant church.
The Rev. Daniel Hackney, a self-professed "ecumenical mutt," has found a home in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church.Father Daniel, 45, grew up in a Baptist family, was active in the evangelical Jesus movement, attended Assembly of God and Roman Catholic universities, and served as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for 10 years.