Sunday of Forgiveness in Orthodox Christianity

The Lord Confronts the Disobedience of Adam & Eve; "The Expulsion from Paradise", Nave Mosaics from Palatine Chapel, Palermo, Sicily. Mid 12th Century.

The last day of Maslenitsa Week (Maslenitsa) is called “Forgiveness Sunday“. It is the last day before the Lent. This year it falls on February 26. It received its name from the Orthodox Christian custom at Vespers (evening prayer services in Eastern Orthodox Church) on Sunday evening right before the Great Lent, when all the people make prostration (poklon) asking each other for forgiveness. People hope that God will forgive their sins, and it’s only possible if people forgive themselves and each other first. Forgiveness Sunday also commemorates Adam’s expulsion from Paradise through disobedience, and it accentuates Christians’ need for forgiveness.

Growing up, I remember how my family was always asking each other for forgiveness on this day. We would just sincerely talk about all the things we’d done wrong, and how we were sorry for unintentionally hurting each other. After I got married, I brought this tradition to the US, into my American-Ukrainian marriage. Now, every year on Forgiveness Sunday my husband and I ask each other for forgiveness, and say how much we care, and love each other.

I think we should all ask each other for forgiveness on this day. No matter what religious beliefs you have, it’s simply a healthy thing to do. Life is too short for bearing a grudge, and keeping the negative energy inside of you. Let go. And forgive!

Categories: Ukrainian Traditional Holidays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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