Today Bulgarians Mark the Beginning of Holy Week

Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria and around the world mark on April 22 Holy Monday - the first day of the most important week in the church calendar, the Holy Week leading to Easter.

For Christians, Holy Week is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday. Easter Sunday is the first day of the new season of The Great Fifty Days.

Holy Week - also known as Passion Week - commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical Gospels.

During Holy Week, services for each day are held on the preceding evening. Thus, the service of Great Monday is sung on Palm Sunday evening, and so on.

In the Orthodox Church, Great Lent ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday, but the faithful continue fasting until Easter. Fasting during Great and Holy Week is, actually, very strict. Dairy products and meat products are forbidden. On most days, no alcoholic beverages are permitted and no oil is used in the cooking.

Friday and Saturday are observed as strict fast days, meaning that nothing should be eaten on those days. However, fasting is always adjusted to the needs of the individual, and those who are very young, ill or elderly are not expected to fast as strictly.

On Holy Monday, the Gospels tell the story of Jesus and his disciples traveling to Jerusalem for Passover, where he expels the money changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple to a den of thieves through their commercial activities

In the Orthodox Church, Holy and...

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