March 10, 2015 (Source: http://www.hotca.org)
7 February 2015 (Old Style)
St. Parthenios of Lampsakos
To the Clergy and Faithful of the
Diocese of Etna and Portland
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Eὐλογεῖτε and Eὐλογία Κυρίου. Asking for your blessings and prayers, I offer my humble blessing to all of you at this important time, when we anticipate the formal beginning of the Great Fast and begin the road towards the Feast of Feasts, the Passover of our Lord, Pascha.
I would like to make some brief remarks about the Great Fast (or Great Lent), asking that you accept them, until my enthronement as your Bishop on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women, as the personal remarks of your future servant. As you all know, on Clean Monday (Καθαρὰ Δευτέρα), the first day of fasting for Great Lent, we abstain from all food; i.e., this day is one of total abstinence. I would urge all who can do so to observe this custom, since, while difficult, it serves to teach us about the sway that our desires have over us. Some Christians maintain a fast through Wednesday, as do most monastic communities (and some even longer!). Κeep these individuals in mind, since they will serve to temper the natural reaction that the body and our fallen passions have against deprivation for the sake of developing our spiritual sensitivities. For those who are ill and cannot fast an entire day, restrict your eating as much as possible, concentrating on prayer and inner reflection