By His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria
The period of Holy and Great Lent, which is preminantly a period of prayer and fasting, gives an opportunity to our pious Christians to enjoy the liturgical and devotional wealth of our Church, to approach God, to change their way of life, but also to communicate through prayer with the person of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Service of the Salutations is a popular Service, which brings together with reverence and sacred enthusiasm our Christians. According to the ancient rubrics it is chanted only on the Saturday of the Fifth Week of the Fast, in the known Service of the Akathist Hymn. But now it has become established to be chanted every Friday evening of Great Lent, along with the Service of Small Compline, the Canon of Saint Joseph the Hymnographer with a portion of the Service of the Salutations.
This Service gives us the opportunity to:
- approach the person of the Most Holy Theotokos,
- receive joy from the vessel of joy,
- draw strength and patience for the struggles of life,
- ask for her maternal intercessions before the Throne of the Divine Majesty. This is why we chant of her: "A fervent intercessor and impenetrable wall, a source of mercy and refuge for the world."1