The Great Lent

March 5, 2021

The Great Lent (Fast) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for 40 days after His baptism is one of the seven proclamations that our church commands us to fast. Christians follow the example of our Lord and fast it every year. It has eight weeks (52 days), eight Saturdays and eight Sundays; and each of the Sundays are named after the Psalm of Saint Jared; The First Sunday Zewerede: He who comes down, The Second Sunday is Kedest; Holy/Sanctify, The Third Sunday Mekurab: Temple, The Fourth Sunday is Metsagu: Infirmity, the Paralytic, The Fifth Sunday Debre Zeit: Mount of Olives,  The Sixth Sunday is Gebre Here; Faithful Servant, The Seventh Sunday is Nicodemus: A ruler of the Jews and The Eight Sunday Hosanna/Savior: Palm Sunday.

We shall see the first Sunday and the beginning of the first of The Great Lent; Zewerede, for this week.

The First Sunday Zewerede: He who comes down

The first Sunday of the Great Lent is called Zewerede: meaning He who comes down. This shows that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came down from heaven, as a human being and the work he did to save Adam and his children from death. Saint Jared said, “The Jews crucified the God who came down from heaven to save Adam. They do not know that he is the Lord of all.”

This week’s praise, especially on Sundays and Mondays, is taken from the books of the Torah and the Prophets.

The first week is also called “Fast of Hercules;” named after Byzantine king. The week is named after King Hercules because during his reign Persians invaded Jerusalem and took away the cross of our Lord. He went to Persia, took the cross from them, and returned to Jerusalem. Before Hercules fought the Persians, the apostles in their synod proclaimed, “Let the murderer fast for the rest of his life.” The maximum age of a person is seventy, eighty years. They fasted it saying, “We will divide the fast into five days and we ill fast for you.”

On this basis, those unaware fasted only once; but the ones aware of the apostles already fasting the Great Lent. Based on this ritual, our Church proclaims the fast of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ stating it also as “Fast of Hercules.”

The Great lent is not only a fast by will but of a command. Prophet Joel says, “Blow the [trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.” (Joel 12:15-16)

The Apostle Paul have also said, “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fasting; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love. (2 Corinthians 6: 4-6)

If fasting was not required, our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, wouldn’t have said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” The Lord even said that even the unclean spirit (Satan) would be destroyed by fasting. (Matthew 5:6, 17:21, Mark 9:2)

The Holy Apostles fasted after our Lord’s death, resurrection and Ascension; they also made the law of the fast. As our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, fast for forty days and forty nights for we shall do as same. Therefore, we must all fast, recognizing that fasting is a command!