THE FIRST SUNDAY OF THE GREAT FAST (LENT)
Originally, the first Sunday of the Great Fast was dedicated to the memory of the Holy Prophets of the Old Covenant. Therefore, in today’s Gospel, Philip tells Nathaniel, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the Law, and also the prophets (John 1:45).” Today, however, we call this day the “Sunday of Orthodoxy”. On March 11, 843 AD, the Empress Theodora made a solemn procession to celebrate the victory of orthodoxy (true faith) in the controversy over the writing, use and nature of holy icons. This became an annual feast shortly thereafter, and displaced the memory of the prophets. Historically, this feast has evolved to include not only orthodoxy in respect to icons, but to the triumph of God’s revealed Truth over all heresies, false teachings, half-truths, etc.