March 7, 2021

Meatfare Sunday (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)


By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

The third week of the Triodion begins with "Meatfare Sunday". It is called this, because after this Sunday we do not partake of meat. Meatfare Sunday is the last day we can eat meat. From this day forward until Easter the consuming of meat is forbidden, unless of course someone is ill.

On this day the Church brings before our memory the fearsome Second Coming of the Lord.

The Horologion of our Church writes:

"The previously received two parables, especially that of the Prodigal Son, presented to us God's extreme philanthropy and goodness. But so that we may not be encouraged by these alone, and be determined to be careless in the time of our own salvation by remaining in sin, and suddenly be taken away by death, for this reason the most-divine Fathers have established for today the feast and commemoration of the impartial Second Coming of Christ, reminding us by this that God is not only philanthropic, but also a most-just Judge who renders to all according to their works.

The purpose of the Holy Fathers in bringing to remembrance this fearsome day, is to rouse us from the sleep of carelessness towards acts of virtue and urge us towards brotherly love and sympathy. Because on the coming Cheesefare Sunday we commemorate the exile of Adam from the nourishment of Paradise, which is the beginning of this life, today's feast is considered the end of it all, for truly on this day all things come to an end."

On this day our Church chants:

"When You come to the earth, O God, in Your glory, all creation will tremble, and a river of fire will flow before Your throne of judgment. The books will be opened and the secrets of all will be revealed. On that day, O just Judge, deliver me from eternal flames and make me worthy to stand at Your right."

Source: From the book Περίοδος Τριωδίου. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.