Maslenitsa, Forgiveness Sunday, Blini and Great Lent 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Great Lent is fast approaching and as a growing parish, our Council under Fr. Oleg hopes that we can all come closer together by following the traditional practices of our Orthodox Faith. Please keep the following dates in mind as you plan your activities so you can attend our parish Church: 

  • March 11-17: Maslenitsa / Ма́сленица or Cheesefare Week 
  • March 17: Forgiveness Sunday and Parish Blini Luncheon Fundraiser 
  • March 18: First Week of Great Lent and Fasting.

Great Lent

Great Lent is a 40-day period of spiritual preparation that takes place before the most important Christian feast of the year, Holy Pascha. The main focus of this season is repentance, which involves our personal return to God, our loving Father.

During this annual season of repentance, we embark on a spiritual journey with our Savior to meet the risen Lord Jesus, who reunites us with God the Father. The Father is always waiting to greet us with open arms, and we must ask ourselves if we are willing to turn to Him.

To help us receive Him, the Church teaches us to use two great means of repentance: prayer and fasting. By doing this, we learn how to draw closer to God and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Holy Pascha.


The act of fasting serves as a reminder of the Scriptural teaching that “Man does not live by bread alone.” While the needs of the body are important, they are nothing compared to the needs of the soul. Ultimately, what we need most is God, as He provides for both our physical and spiritual needs. Fasting helps us to rely on God more entirely.

Cheesefare Week, also known as Maslenitsa (Ма́сленица), is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. It is a time when Orthodox Christians give up meat and begin to simplify their diet, avoiding meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and fish as much as possible during Lent. Additionally, Lent encourages us to avoid distractions and focus more on our spiritual life. Cheesefare Week is therefore the last chance to enjoy dairy products and participate in social activities that may not be appropriate during the more prayerful, sober, and introspective Lenten season.

Forgiveness Sunday – March 17, 11:45

The Forgiveness Vespers, a short but critical event, is scheduled to take place on the eve of Great Lent at St. Xenia. It will be held right after the Liturgy. It is highly recommended to attend this service to hear the Lord’s teachings about fasting and forgiveness. This will help us enter the season of fasting with a forgiving heart so that God will forgive us. As stated in the Bible, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14)

Parish Blini Fundraising Luncheon – March 17, 12:30 

The St. Xenia parish has a long tradition of holding a Blini luncheon. This year, the Council and Sisterhood have decided to organize it primarily for our parish. A lot of effort is being put into making it a memorable and traditional afternoon, and a portion of each of the 100 tickets will go towards the finances of the parish. It is highly recommended that you attend this event, and invite your friends to join you at a table. Please make sure to get your tickets well in advance of 17 March, as all tickets are sold in advance only. You can purchase your tickets from any Council member, or reach out to our Warden Michael Popovich or Head Sister Sarah Kambites for more information.

Fr Oleg Mironov, Parish Council and Sisterhood