The Triodion Comes (and I Can’t Wait)


Preparing bulletin and sermon for tomorrow, the realization that we begin the Lenten Triodion tomorrow brings with it the “crashing down around you” realization that Great Lent will be upon us shortly. For the non Orthodox, the Lenten Triodion is the book that contains all of the specific material needed for the Lenten season. We are now entering the “pre-Lenten” season. If your memory goes back to 1928 Prayer Book (or earlier) Anglicanism, you’ll remember pre-Lent and such wonderful words as Septuagesima, etc. Pre-lent, like so much, has been tossed into somebody’s liturgical waste basket. The reason is quite simple – if you don’t plan to do much with Lent anyway – then why the need for weeks of warm up. Orthodoxy seems to have no liturgical waste basket.

Next week is a “fast-free” week. Eat it now, for before long you’ll be eating differently and a lot less. Lent is coming.

I love the Lenten season. It may be my favorite. It’s exhausting in its fullness, even on the parish level. But the exhaustion brings Pascha in its final throes.

Rumors of snow dash about town today – but this is East Tennessee – and it’s just not likely to happen. My wife and I will fly to Detroit on Monday for the Colloquium on Faith of our Fathers (Orthodox talking with Anglicans). I’m eager to see old friends whose paths do not often cross with mine. The Mathewes-Greens, Fr. John Parker, Fr. Pat Reardon, etc. As well as any number of Anglicans I can only imagine.

On a yet more personal level, it’s a trip to Detroit by plane that I could not take in the early 90’s. Then, my panic and anxiety would not let me fly and I had to find a way to say I cannot come (I was to speak at an Anglican event). Since becoming Orthodox, I’ve flown a lot. It became clear as we made this conversion in 1998 that there was to be no way around getting on a plane. Good friends prayed me on my first flight (they actually sat in the waiting area and held my hand – imagine non-flyers being able to go to the departure gate). Many flights later, and I don’t want to drive. Fly me.

I was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood in the season of Lent. I was chrismated on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (a year before the ordination). Lent is that season that you cannot do. It is too large, to overwhelming. All you can do is be sure to show up, do what is given you to do, and wait for the plane to taxi down the strip.

We’re all flying to Pascha.

All God’s children are flying to Pascha.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





10 responses to “The Triodion Comes (and I Can’t Wait)”

  1. Steve Avatar

    Hello God! Goodbye, fear!

  2. Alan Avatar

    Well maybe. But as a retired airline pilot, I know why the first thing the Pope does when he gets off a plane is to kiss the ground!

  3. bastrix Avatar

    Have a good preparation for a Holy Fast, Father Stephen, and thank you for all your articles! In every one you are profound, very careful with our orthodox truth and most direct, with vocation of experiential theology. Again thank you very much for your work!

    Father Dorin,
    27 January 2007.

  4. Fatherstephen Avatar

    How very kind, Father Dorin,

    May God bless you as we near this holy time of the year and grant you the richness of Life in Him. Pray for us. America is yet such a child in the Land of Orthodoxy. We need the centuries that are written in the hearts of your Churches and monasteries, a wealth of experience.

    By God’s grace, I will get to meet Fr. Roman Braga this week, who resides in America. He suffered for the faith in Romania and now is a treasure in this land.

  5. sethearl Avatar

    when your flying to Pascha, even Coach is a great place to be.

  6. david+ Avatar

    Father, I am so disappointed to not be able to be at the colloquium–there’s just too much happening right now. I would dearly love meeting those of you whom I regard as teacher and mentor. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

  7. handmaidleah Avatar

    the time for repentance is at hand! The church is so wise in how we are prepared every year for this glorious season, I seem to be able to “do” (participate) more fully every year.
    Safe travels Father,
    Glory to God for all things!
    Christ is in our midst!
    the handmaid,

  8. tony c Avatar
    tony c

    Is Outrage!

    Should be driving to Motor City in Big American Car, listening to Soul Music on 8-track, w/ chotki hanging off rear-view mirror.

  9. Alice C. Linsley Avatar
    Alice C. Linsley

    May your journey yo Detroit be blessed, Father. I too wish I could be there. I am certain I would recognize clergy friends from my former life. May God bless them all and bring them assurance and grace to follow HIM wherever HE leads.

  10. Michelle Avatar

    Father, bless, but don’t worry about responding to all my comments on your old entries (or even reading them for that matter).

    I remember the way I felt about boarding a plane for the first time at the age of 7. (Very, very excited, and a little nervous.) It was one of those BIG jets. The rumbling of the engines and the sense of something way more powerful than anything else I had experienced somehow hurling me into the air: yep, that was a religious experience all right.

    It was a long flight (like Lent). I made friends with other passengers and during the night, we looked out at the strange new stars, and the Southern Cross. I’ll never forget the mysteriousness of being far above land, the cross and a host of other stars shining their light over the dark clouds, shushing our talk as we watched.

    I think next Lent I will like to think of my little parish as being those passengers on the jet, different, but all going to the same place, and in the meantime, watching the mysteries together in silent communion.

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